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1. U.S Army Core of Engineers. Recognizing Wetlands.http://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Portals/45/docs/regulatory/Wetlands/rw_bro.pdf
1. U.S Army Core of Engineers. Recognizing Wetlands.[[http://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Portals/45/docs/regulatory/Wetlands/rw_bro.pdf]]
2.Stebb, Chriss.  2013. Building Floating Wetlands to Restore Urban Waterfronts and Community Partnership. National Wetlands Newsletter. March 2013
2.Stebb, Chriss.  2013. Building Floating Wetlands to Restore Urban Waterfronts and Community Partnership. National Wetlands Newsletter. March 2013

Revision as of 04:36, 9 May 2014

Engr305 Appropriate Technology page in progress
This page is a project in progress by students in Engr305 Appropriate Technology. Please do not make edits unless you are a member of the team working on this page, but feel free to make comments on the discussion page. Check back for the finished version on May 15, 2014.

The bog


The project is an initiative by New York artist and sculptor Mary Mattingly, who designs sustainable installations and alternative living models. The WetLand bog can provide sustenance, promote increased water quality, provide habitat and will serve as a working educational platform. WetLand bog is designed to inspire environmentally friendly means to meet the challenges of coming generations. WetLand bogs seek to serve as a model for potential sustainable resource expansion and development.


WetLand is a floating island that illustrates a partially-submerged house surrounded by a human-made bog. The interior of the house is functional and contains a live, work, and enclosed performance space with: a dry compost toilet, kitchen with sink and shower that utilize purified rainwater. A 40x20x3’ flat deck barge and two access gangways composes the primary infrastructure. A greenhouse in a structure adjacent to the submerged house contains vegetables grown hydroponically, a natural grey water filtration system, and soil-based produce. WetLand’s railings around the perimeter are also made into planters, and floating planters around the perimeter include bulrush, cattail, and vining plants that all naturally clean the water.

What: As environmental instability continues to transform our cities, what happens when the land we use is only temporary? WetLand is a mobile, sculptural habitat and public space atop a barge made to explore solutions for sea-level rise, housing, resource interdependence, and a decrease in useable land.

Events will be programmed with FringeArts. Residents will live on board and host events, from workshops to skill shares. High school and college students in Philadelphia will help steward the space, collect data about energy use and production, and test and maintain onboard water systems.

Where: WetLand will be constructed at Pier 9, across from FringeArts in Old Town, Philadelphia. It will be tugged to Penn’s Landing adjacent to the Seaport Museum and open to the public on August 15, 2014.

When: WetLand will launch August 15th on the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing through September 31, 2014.

Why: WetLand is a narrative approach to inhabiting a future Philadelphia with accelerated environmental challenges that are interconnected and everywhere, including lack of clean water, usable land. This is at once a visually engaging structure but also a working living system narrated by its users, who look to a time when people are again dependent on the nearness to the water. WetLand is an experiment that uses water in various ways: To float, to desalinate river water for growing plants, to tie up to or launch from, and to bridge urban space with nature. The waterfront is often under-appreciated and underused that has potential to bring together a site and communities. When activated, the site brings people to the nature that lies on the edge of the city and effectively brings interdependence between both of those spaces to the forefront.

WetLand addresses the importance of decentralizing our basic resources by using appropriate technology to create a regenerative water-based living system that provides food grown from cleaned river water, power from sun and tides, shelter for living and events, collected and purified rainwater for all other needs. We need to work together to build cities that connect, heal, and empower. We need people living in cities that join the city with nature who can care for it and work out an idea of nature that includes human culture and livelihood.

How: Building supplies for WetLand are reclaimed from the local waste stream to further narrate a future when reuse is common and parts are made with found materials. This project will be completed through FringeArts, the James L. Knight Foundation, and the partnerships we make together.

Who: WetLand is sponsored by The James L. Knight Foundation with FringeArts. For more details including additional partners contact studio@marymattingly.com and sarah@fringearts.com. Coming soon: www.wet-land.org

Problem statement

The objective of this project is to design a floating bog to provide inspirational awareness to alternative sustainable environmental design. The floating bog is to be placed in the Delaware River alongside the WetLand barge which will be moored in a prominent part of downtown Philadelphia. The floating bog will be used throughout the duration of the WetLand project and serve as an educational platform of alternative water treatment techniques. The crew aboard the WetLand barge may choose to plant the bog with edible plants for added sustenance. The ability to manually monitor the quality of the bog water will play an essential role in the educational component and promote community engagement.

Literature Review

This is a review of the available literature pertinent to the prototype WetLand bog to be constructed for the WetLand barge in Philadelphia PA.


Wetlands are described as areas that are saturated with water for extended periods of time and support vegetation specifically adapted thrive in saturated soil. Wetlands are generally transitional areas between open water and dry land. Historically wetlands were regarded as economically useless land. Wetlands support a variety of plants species including bulrushes, mangroves, sedges and cordgrass. Many of the plants that inhabit wetland areas have proven to be sufficient at filtering and romoving pollutants from water. Wetlands provide a variety of ecological services including water filtration, habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife and serve as a buffer zones against erosion and rising water. [1]

Floating Wetlands

With the transformation of waterfronts in coastal areas to industrial centers the water quality and loss of valuable habitat have come into question. Many coastal cities have begun to explore the validity of small scale floating wetland projects to restore ecological services to their shorelines and waterways. Constructed ecosystems in urban areas may prove to improve conditions. Floating wetlands may prove to provide invaluable ecosystem services to these once natural areas through functions such as pollutant uptake, habitat creation and increased aesthetic appeal. One promising case is in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Beginning in 2010 two separate floating wetland installations tripled the coverage of wetlands and by 2012 the coverage area increase to 2,000 square feet. The productivity and ultimate success of floating wetlands is yet to be determined, but the practice has been going on for over two decades in some regions. Many cultural obstacles stand in the way of floating wetland installations such as regional policy and funding. But the future of floating wetland systems appear promising. [2]

Invasive Plants

Invasive plants are characterized as any plant species that is non-native to an area that after introduction have the ability to compete the native flora. [3]

1. U.S Army Core of Engineers. Recognizing Wetlands.[[2]]

2.Stebb, Chriss. 2013. Building Floating Wetlands to Restore Urban Waterfronts and Community Partnership. National Wetlands Newsletter. March 2013

City of Philadelphia. Invasive Plant List [[3]]


4. Delaware River Basin Commission. 2012 Delaware River and Bay Water Quality Assessment.

5. Philadelphia Water Department. 2006. "Tidal Wetland", Andropogon Associates LTD. http://www.phillywatersheds.org/doc/ERU_4_Tidal_Wetland.pdf


7. Clemson University. Floating Treatment Systems, Report. 2008

8.Tyler Kimberly, Ruan Michelle. 2012. “Edible and Medicinal Plants”, SUNY Plattsburgh, NY. http://edibleandmedicinalplants.weebly.com/index.html. (February 6, 2014)

9. Among the Stately Trees, wordpress. (2013). “The top 75 Wetland Plants”, Lehigh University. http://amongthestatelytrees.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/the-top-75-wetland-plants/. (February 9, 2014)

10. Moore, Peter D.. (2001). Wetlands. New York: Facts on File.

11. Kulser, Jon A; Kentula, Mary E. 1990. Wetland Creation and Restoration. The Status of the Science.

12. Keddy, Paul A. 2010. Wetland Ecology. Principles and Conservation. 2nd edition.

13. Mitsch, Willam J; Gosselink, James G. 2007. Wetlands 4th Edition.

Project Evaluation Criteria

The following Criteria will be used to assess the success of this project. These criteria were chosen based on input from the artist and the team of students responsible for the design and construction of the prototype. The scale (1-10) represents the importance level of meeting the constraint of each listed criteria. 10 has the largest magnitude and decrease numerically in descending order.

Criteria Constraints Weight
Budget Must be between $600-$1,000.
Aesthetics Compliment the installation and increase appeal.
Vegetation Plants must be adequate for the Delaware River regional climate, water quality, and be able to endure as it moves to New York.
Education Educational aspect compliments the overall theme of the project.
Reproducibility Can be easily recreated with readily available materials.
Functionality Utilize the appropriate and most efficient water purifying and oxygen adding plants.
Materials Recyclable materials preferred obtained from the Philadelphia area.
Maintenance Be easily maintained with little to no expertise.


The project will require a variety of new and re-purposed materials. Many of the new materials were purchased from local business and used materials were gathered from a variety of locations throughout Arcata, CA. Donated items include PVC, lifeguard bouy, nylon rope and 2"x4" wood. Donators are listed as 'source' in table.

Quantity Material Source Cost ($) Project Cost ($) Total ($)
1 50 gallon drum Water Planet Garden Supply 32.38 32.48 32.48
2 check valve Ace Hardware 9.99 19.98 19.98
2 3/4" PVC nipple Ace Hardware 0.99 1.98 1.98
2 1.5" sch 40 Slip Cap Ace Hardware 1.50 3.89 3.89
1 small screws (20) Ace Hardware 1.99 1.99 1.99
20 washers Do it Best 0.17 3.40 3.40
4 90* 1x1/2 PVC Do it Best 0.61 2.45 2.45
2 small screws Do it Best 1.19 2.38 2.38
1 12' nylon rope Donated 5.00 0.00 0.00
1 Lifeguard Bouy Donated 15.00 0.00 0.00
1 2"x4"x28" wood Donated 3.68 0.00 0.00
2 1" Bulkhead fitting Bayside Garden Supply 9.95 19.90 19.90
1 1" Barbed insert to 1" Bayside Garden Supply 0.55 1.10 1.10
1 Barbed Insert Elbow Bayside Garden Supply 0.55 1.10 1.10
1 1" Black Tubing - 1" Bayside Garden Supply 1.45 1.45 1.45
2 3/4" to 1" male adapter Do it Best 1.99 3.98 3.98
3 90* 3/4" elbow Do it Best 0.59 1.77 1.77
Total Cost $97.81


Tentative timeline of tasks to date.

Date Task
March 2, 2014 create timeline and finish budget
March 06-11, 2014 gather materials: plastic bottles, coconut fiber, boat, and some plants. Contact potential donors
March 12, 2014 assemble materials: prototype 1 final sketch up, gather rest of materials as necessary
March 15, 2014 begin initial testing and monitor of prototype 1 begins
March 20-30, 2014 monitor of first prototype in either Fern Lake, or Arcata march
April 4, 2014 monitor continues, move on to second prototype planning if failure of first prototype
April 9, 2014 build second prototype; finalize schematics with client
April 12, 2014 begin writing instruction manual
April 19, 2014 continue monitoring, and have East coast resources for the “WetLand project” where they could gather materials
April 23, 2014 make video
April 28, 2014 final monitoring
April 31, 2014 clean up and dis-assemble prototypes
May 1, 2014 Final project reports
May 11, 2014 final timeline
May 12, 2014 project presentation
2007 20.8
2008 21.8
2009 25.0
2010 30
2011 37
2012 38


During design process the WetLand Bogs team strived to incorporate the ideas of our client, Mary Mattingly, into the parameters of Lonny Graphman's Engineering 305 course at Humboldt State. Over the course of four months our team designed and tested a number of different approaches for this unique task. Our team faced many challenges including limited funding, test site availability and time. One of the unique challenges for this project was that the preliminarly design, constrction, and testing took place in Arcata, CA, nearly 3,000 miles from the projects final destination.

Water Pump


  • 1 1x1/2"x30" PVC
  • 1 1x1/2" PVC cap
  • 1 1"x36" PVC
  • 1 1" t-joint
  • 1 can PVC glue
  • 2 1"x4" PVC
  • 2 1" PVC cap
  • 2 1x1/2 rubber o-rings
  • 2 3/4" check valves
  • 1 1x1/2"male coupling
  • 2 3/4" PVC nipple
  • 1 3/4" t-joint
  • 2 3/4" male threaded couplings


PVC Frame


  • 14’x1(1/2)” PVC pipe
  • 4 (1(1/2)”)x 90 degree fittings
  • PVC glue
  • 2 small Buoys
  • 12' rope


Drum Frame

Cleaning up the materials

The Drum Fame is a relatively quick build. The 55 gallon drum and boards could be substituted for a larger or smaller sizes depending upon available resources.


  • 1 55 gallon drum
  • 20 wood screws
  • 1 45" x 2" x 4" board
  • 2 36" x 1/2" x 4" board


Sectioned 55 gallon drum attached to yoke.
1.) Rinse off the inside and outside of 55 gallon drum.
2.) Mark the top and bottom at the diameter.
3.) Stretch a chalk line from the top to the bottom and snap a line. Repeat until all four sides of drum are marked.
4.) Cut the drum longitudinally.
5.) Cut (1) board 2" x 4" at 45"
6.) Place drum sections parallel on even surface. Line up drum ends.
7.) Place 45"x 2"x 4" board in between sections.
8.) Flush the drum sections to the 2"x4" and clamp in place.
9.) Using 1(1/2") wood screws fasten both sections to the 2" x 4" board.
10.) Mark the underside of the 2" x 4" on both ends to make a saddle notch.
11.) Cut out saddle notch.
12.) Insert Drum Frame into PVC frame. Making sure to align saddle notches of both the PVC and Drum frame.

Inlet/Outlet system


  • 8 (3/4”) x 90 degree fittings
  • 1 (3/4”) hose fitting
  • 1 (3/4”) nipple threaded
  • 1 (3/4") female coupling threaded
  • 2 (3/4") male threaded adapter
  • 2 (3/4") bulk head fitting
  • 2 (3/4") to 1" male threaded adapter
  • 2 1" Barbed insert to 1"
  • 1 Barbed Insert Elbow
  • 1' Black Tubing - 1"
  • 1 (3/4") PVC t-joint
  • PVC glue
  • ~70" (3/4”) PVC pipe


Hose connection
1.) Obtain all materials.
2.) Mark each section of the drum at 4" from the end.
3.) Drill out and insert bulk head fittings at the 4" mark.
4.) Attach 1" barbed insert to 1" to each bulk head.
5.) Cut the 1" black tubing in half and attach to barbed inserts.
6.) Attach barbed insert elbow to black tubing ends.
7.) Assemble the hose connection by inserting a 3/4" hose fitting to 3/4" nipple.
8.) Screw nipple into 3/4" female threaded coupling.
9.) Screw female threaded coupling into 3/4" male threaded adapter.
10.) Attach 6-8" of 3/4" PVC to 3/4" male threaded adapter.
11.) Attach (3/4") t-joint to PVC.
12.) Insert 6" of 3/4" PVC into either side of t-joint.
13.) Attach 90 degree elbow fitting to both ends of PVC.
14.) Insert 7" of PVC into each elbow.
15.) Attach 90 degree elbow to both ends of PVC.
16.) Cut 2 pieces of 3/4" PVC tubing at 40".
17.) Drill 3/16" holes every 4-6" on one side of both 40" PVC sections.
18.) Attach PVC tubing to 90 degree fittings, with holes facing down.
19.) Attach 90 degree fitting to PVC tubing.
20.) Insert 4" PVC tubing into each 90 degree fitting.
21.) Attach 90 degree fitting to each PVC section.
22.) Insert 1" PVC tubing to 90 degree fitting.
23.) Attach 3/4" male threaded adapter to bulk head fitting and attach PVC tubing.
24.) Attach 3/4" male threaded adapter to the other bulk head fitting.
25.) Disassemble parts and glue all connections.


PVC Frame at test site

Testing of the constructed bog began April 29, 2014 and lasted until May 11, 2014. A variety of parameters were tested both visually and mechanically. Our original test site was a location along the Mad River. We eventually obtained permission to test the bog at Fern Lake.


Buoyancy testing began with single capped PVC tube. Which we found to be surprisingly buoyant. We then tested the same tube with plastic water bottle lids screwed directly into the PVC tube. This was also surprisingly buoyant. We than filled each bottle to the with water and found the PVC tube to displace enough water with the added weight to float just above the water line. Testing progressed to the PVC frame of our final design. We added a quartered lifeguard buoy for extra buoyancy. With the request of our client for a water quality monitoring system we eventually added the sectioned 55 gallon drum to the PVC frame. Testing of the PVC frame and the 55 gallon drum proved to overwhelmingly buoyant. We filled the drum with 40 gallons of water, a 170 pound team member hopped in wearing a 30 lbs weight belt and the bog still floated. Our results show that PVC when capped and sealed is buoyant. The sectioned 55 gallon drum also proved to be buoyant and when when combined the two were able to maintain positive buoyancy with over 500 pounds added.

170lbs(teammate)+30lbs(weight belt)+(40gal of fresh water*8.34lbs/gal fresh water)= 533.6lbs.


Water Quality

Water quality was monitored once a day over four days. We checked the PH, turbidity, dissolved Oxygen, and Salinity of the bog. We also tested the water at the test site for comparison. Results are as follows.

Date Fern Lake Bog
5/8/14 7.64 6.87
Date Fern Lake(NTU) Bog (NTU)
5/8/14 4.16 5.20
Dissolved Oxygen
Date Fern Lake(%) Bog (%)
5/8/14 102.1 34.5
Date Fern Lake(°%) Bog (%)
5/8/14 90.9 38.5


We chose to use non-invasive local plants for the prototype bog. Plants were obtained from the surrounding landscape at the test site. Information on appropriate plants was obtained from staff and students at Humboldt State University and http://www.appropedia.org/Emergent_plants_for_constructed_wetlands.

For testing purposes we planted a variety of local flora.

  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Horsetail
  • Lilly


Horsetail sp: Spenophyta


Scouring rush sp: Spenophyta


This is a comprehensive list of all the tools we used to construct the bog. Other tools may be substituted.

  • Hack saw
  • Circular saw
  • Reciprocating Saw
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Extension Cord(s)
  • Metal snips
  • Clamps
  • Wood Chisel
  • Screw Gun
  • Marker
  • Chalk line
  • 1/4" drill bit
  • 3/16" drill bit
  • Pipe Wrench
  • Square
  • Vice
  • Rubber mallet
  • 1"x (3/4") hole cutter
  • Shovel



Lessons Learned

  • perforated pipe for inlet/outlet system, may not need as many holes on the intake side.
  • drums connected in series
  • capped PVC is very buoyant

Next Steps

To size up our bog the the appropriate scale for the client we have come up with a design that can be manipulated and easily expanded upon. Our bog is built to 1/4 the scale of the final installation. The final design will be 16'x 3'.



The members who are responsible for the Wetland bog prototype. Spring 2014 semester. Engineering 305 at Humboldt State University. Teacher: Lonny Graphman


This is how to successfully operate the bog. Once planted the bog will require visual inspection, water quality analysis and should be flushed 2-3 times per week.


Maintenance of the bog should be preformed daily, weekly and monthly. Maintenance consists of visual monitoring for undesirable materials, leaks, plant health and water quality analysis.


  • Visual inspection for undesirable materials.
  • Visual inspection for leaks.
  • Visual inspection of overall plant health.
  • Water quality analysis.
  • 2-3 times per week the bog should be drained and injected with new water.
  • Flush entire system, including check valves and pump.
  • Re-plant as necessary.


This is how to maintain. The step by step how to template {{How to}} is most likely best for this part.

How to Do Something
Backpack frame bike trailer Step 1 : Do something.
Aleiha's parabolic solar cooker Step 2 : Do something really complicated but made simple, etc.


  1. [1]
  2. [Building Floating Wetlands to Restore Urban Waterfronts and Community Partnership]
  3. USDA legal status plants