Constructed Wetlands Research Facility

Olds College, Olds, Alberta
What the facility does

Remediation of contaminated surface water towards low cost, sustainable agricultural re-utilization.

Areas of expertise

The Constructed Wetlands Research Facility is a unique collaboration between industry, government and an academic institution to address environmental problems and meet the strategic government environmental policy needs. It was established to provide research support to implement Alberta’s Water for Life strategy. The infrastructure is an 8.5-hectare outdoor laboratory consisting of 20 research ponds that are equipped with real-time hydrological and water-quality monitoring instrumentation and telemetry capabilities. The facility is utilized for on-site experimentation, verification and development of treatment processes and technologies that could be used in off-site applications. As water is increasingly becoming a limited resource in Alberta, it is imperative that low cost, water quality remediation solutions can be developed and validated to support the agricultural and non-agricultral sectors. Olds College constructed wetlands are an ideal research facility to support such efforts.

Research services
  • Demonstration of effectiveness of wetlands as a water quality remediation technology.
  • Mitigation of water quality contaminants in meeting provincial and federal water quality guidelines and standards, thereby enabling value-added utilization of non-contaminated water.
  • Testing digital water quality monitoring technologies with respect to biological, chemical and physical pollutants.
  • Identification of effective, reliant, perennial, cold-climate, native aquatic plant species conducive for phytoremediation of contaminated surface water bodies in Alberta.
  • Biodiversity monitoring and enhancement.
Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Clean technology
  • Construction (including building, civil engineering, specialty trades)
  • Education
  • Environmental technologies and related services



Research ponds

Triple-lined with water-recirculation capabilities.

Recirculation pumps


Xylem YSI ProDSS Multiparameter Digital Water Quality Meter

Handheld water quality meter.

Hach Hydrolab DS5X, DS5 and MS5 Water Quality Multiprobes

Multiparameter, remote monitoring, real-time sondes.


For aquatic plant cultivation, growth performance and phytoremediation efficacy testing.

ADCON Telemetry A850 Telemetry Gateway

Remote data monitoring system. Integrated with information technology (IT) system for remote data transfer and processing.

Arable Mark 2 Digital Weather Monitoring System

Multiparameter, remote monitoring, weather station.

  • Foothills Landscaping Ltd. (Calgary)
  • CIMA+ (Calgary)
  • WestCreek Developments (Strathmore)
  • Town of Strathmore (Alberta)
  • Prairie Merchant (Calgary)
  • Alberta Environment and Protected Areas
  • High Plains Industrial Park (Balzac)
  • Town of Olds (Alberta)
  • Ducks Unlimited Canada
  • Red Deer River Watershed Alliance
  • Tannas Conservation Services Ltd.
  • Klassen AgriVentures Ltd. (Linden)
  • Penridge Feeders Inc. (Swalwell)



Moving sustainability forward: Floating island technology in real-world environments.…

These plants soak up nutrients from manure. They may make feedlot water clean enough to drink.

Floating island technology for livestock water remediation.

Using floating islands to treat feedlot runoff water.

Remediation timeline.…

Remediation technology.…

Alberta scientists are experimenting with plants to make feedlot water drinkable.

A natural cleaning system: Could floating islands decontaminate feedlot runoff water for reuse?…

Idea floated to improve feedlot water quality.

Small islands could deliver a big payoff in feedlot holding ponds.…