MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of architects plan to clean up an unhealthy lake in Minneapolis by using floating islands made of recycled materials — a first for Minnesota.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA-MN) is launching the project at Spring Lake in Minneapolis’ Lowry Hill neighborhood.

The hope is that seven “floating treatment wetlands,” designed by St. Paul-based Midwest Floating Islands, will bring back the water’s natural habitat and restore the lake to a livable fishing habitat.

In 1893, the lake was acquired by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board as a wildlife refuge. Since then, the lake has become a severely unhealthy body of water, and its shoreline and park is ridden with invasive species.

“In this particular case, we are interested in solving this water quality problem and these floating islands are really the answer,” said Wilson.

According to the ASLA, the islands mimic natural floating islands to create a concentrated wetland effect. On the top of the island there is a habitat for birds and animals, while microbes — attracted by the island — break down pollutants underneath the surface.

“It’s made of recycled drinking bottles, which provide space for microbes to colonize, and those microbes are very efficient at consuming the nutrient pollution that is coming into this body of water, ” said Ted Gattino of BlueWing Environmental Solutions & Technologies.

In other words, the microbes eat all the harmful stuff out of the lake, so the animal and plant life that belong here can grow. Also, the microbes on the island clean the water three times faster than algae.

There will be a celebratory island launch at Spring Lake at noon on Wednesday. Local and national experts will be on hand to talk about the floating island technology.

Comments (6)
  1. very cool says:

    What an awesome idea

  2. Norge says:

    “those microbes are very efficient at consuming the nutrient pollution that is coming into this body of water, ” said Ted Gattino of BlueWing
    I would think the first thing would bwe to cut off the source of the nutrient-polluion.. and what is it? I’m betting phospate run-off from peoples lawns and gardens…which are already illegal to use in the metro area..but next to unenforcable, as Menards, and other like minded stores have no prohibitations agaisnt stocking and selling in the metro. Good…heck a great idea..but will come to naught without cutting off the nutrient-source pollution that is causes the overgrowth of plant live.

  3. Rhonda says:

    OK, Their going to use plastic bottles to make an island……haven’t we heard that plastic bottles have a CHEMICAL in them that if a person continues to re-use the plastic bottle it is harmful to humans? So we are going to leave a plastic bottle in water, kinda like re-using it……..Something tells me this is not going to work out in the long run.

    1. kate says:

      Actually, the plastic bottles don’t leach out chemicals if you reuse them. As long as you aren’t boiling water in them.

      1. jc says:

        Or microwave them.

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