Posted on January 31, 2022


Wetlands vary in size, shape, and type and can be found naturally or man-made.

No matter their form or how they originate, wetlands are home for many plants and wildlife, protect against floods and erosion, serve an important role in the water cycle, and are beautiful spots to explore!

They also act as a giant sponge that absorbs and filters pollutants and sediments from water.

For this reason, we constructed a system of wetlands at Metro Park East Landfill more than 20 years ago that continue to help us today.

Protecting Our Water

These constructed wetlands are one measure that can assist us in treating leachate, which is the liquid that results from precipitation like snow and rainwater running through waste in the landfill. Leachate contains contaminants such as nitrogen, iron, lead, and ammonia and must be treated properly so it does not enter any groundwater.

Leachate is controlled in many different ways, so these wetlands are just a backup measure to ensure groundwater is completely protected.

As liquid flows through the wetlands system, contaminants are filtered and absorbed by plants and organic material. In fact, there are more than 100,000 plants in our wetlands that are particularly suited for removing any contaminants!

How You Can Help

Water quality protection and improvement is a key focus of Metro Waste Authority, and we continually work to protect the water quality within our fence lines, in our communities, and beyond. We’ve also created a variety of exciting environmental opportunities so residents can get involved too!

One way you can take part is through our Adopt A Stream program. Through the program, you and a group of friends, family members, or co-workers can select a section of stream, creek, or river in Polk County to keep clean.

Visitors to our Environmental Learning Center can observe the many plants and animals that call the wetlands home and learn more about water quality during in-services and field trips. We even offer a virtual tour online so you can learn about environmental stewardship from the comfort of your home or classroom.

Want to know more? Check out our programs and learning opportunities here.