For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -- An environmental leader, Martin County is committed to finding viable ways to improve water quality within our watershed, including the use of innovative and alternative treatment technologies.
The latest example of the County's effort to improve our water quality can be found in floating wetlands, called Beemats, recently deployed in an Old Palm City stormwater treatment area. A STA captures, cleans and stores water before it flows into our local waterways.
Beemats is a patented system which uses a cell foam mat to float aquatic plants in bodies of water for the purpose of removing pollutants. Testing has demonstrated the mats reduce the harmful nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, as much as 40-50 percent.
Beemats are also touted to help oxygenate the water, create habitat for wildlife and provide beauty and interest. Beemats are manufactured in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
The County has purchased 11 Beemats totaling 3,667 square feet, or about 8,440 plants.
"We just placed eleven mats into our existing STA to determine if they can work for us to both clean up water and are reasonable to maintain," said Deb Drum, Martin County Environmental Quality Manager.
"We are pleased to be working with a sustainable, made in Florida product that can be reused and recycled."
After the plants have done their job, they are removed and can be composted or the majority of roots can be removed, the plant split up into smaller plants and returned to the mat or plants can be planted in other stormwater treatment areas that need vegetation. Once removed, the mats (and all the other hard materials that go into our system) can be replanted and reused year after year.