pcc logo PCC wetland Ecology

picture of a drain in the woods

What is a Wetland?

     Wetlands are areas of land where the soil is saturated by water. They have characteristics of both terrestrial and aquatic systems. Generally there are two categories of wetlands, coastal wetlands and inland wetlands. Coastal wetlands provide the bridge that connects fresh water and salt water, allowing for the exportation of nutrients and organic materials to the ocean. Inland wetlands are found along the edges of rivers and streams. Wetlands can be classified further into four subcategories: swamps, marshes, bogs, and fens. This classification is by the types of plants, biotic, and abiotic characteristics. Wetlands provide habitats for many plants (hydrophytes), and animals. Wetlands also have the capability of slowing flood waters and absorbing excess nutrients which would pollute rivers and oceans.

    Constructed wetlands are man-made wetlands, engineered to mimic the natural wetlands’ ability to purify water, improve water quality, and aide in the removal of pollution. Some ultimate goals of constructing a wetland include being able to treat waste water and having more control over the flow of storm water.

Why is this study important?

    Water is essential for the effective functions of life on Earth. Water is used by all living organisms, from the germination of plants to the hydration of any complex ecosystem. However, water that can be of direct benefit to the human population makes up only 1% of the global water mass. Today, many of our rivers, lakes, and oceans have become polluted. The overexploitation and the effects of water pollution on global freshwater supplies are going unheeded, which is a sure sign of looming crisis.

    Throughout the world, in both developed and developing countries, water is starting to become more of a luxury. Research is being conducted to find methods capable of reducing water pollution using natural systems. In addition, global interest must be raised to avoid further damage which may eventually become irreversible.

What did we do?

     Thus far, the Pasadena City College Wetlands Research Team has found that a constructed wetland was capable of purifying household graywater. We have also shown that micro-organisms are the first response to pollution. This site provides information regarding our research on constructed wetlands and their ability to purify household graywater.

This project was conducted by:

Ibrahim Hajjali, Steven Cardenas, Thai Voung, Jim Liu, William Liang, Marisa Robles, Alieenthea Lam, John Krayer, Rushil Shah, and Alex Del Valle.

Special thanks to:

Professor Russell DiFiori, Marilyn Johnson, and students involved in the wetland construction, (Russell DiFiori Jr., Emily Jenkins, Gregorian Pacheco).

Funding partners:

MUD logo

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

WFP logo

Water for People

FOTUN logo

Friends of the United Nations

MWD logo

United States Bureau of Reclamation

Sanitation Districts Logo

Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts

ASCE logo

American Society of Civil Engineers