Plant-based Water Treatment


Two of the main substances known to cause pollution and eutrophication in rivers are nitrogen and phosphorus, and SumiBall is shown to be highly efficient at filtering water for these chemicals. Nitrogen and phosphorus are also essential for growth of plants, and for this reason plant-based water treatment is recognised as an effective and environmentally sustainable method of water treatment.



A new plant-based water treatment method has been developed using floating islands, with the aim of establishing an environmentally sensitive system for cleaning rivers and inland waterways. The islands used in this project are made using SumiBall; SumiBall is 100% natural product, made with activated carbon from cedar and Japanese cypress felled during essential forestry management.

SumiBall is highly effective at removing odours and harmful fumes in the air, as well as being an active cleaning agent in water. With these properties, SumiBall products are used (amongst other applications) as a next-generation soil replacement for plants, and as a water filter for both tropical and cold water fish aquariums. The nitrogen absorbed by SumiBall promotes healthy growth in plants, and this makes SumiBall an ideal material for combining water treatment and plant cultivation in one.

Existing methods of plant-based water treatment have so far proved unsuccessful in resolving the problems of cost and time required for the maintenance of growing plants – especially due to the requirement that the plants should be regularly replaced. The solution to this problem is to use ornamental plants as the cleaning agent in the treatment process, making the plants themselves an added value by-product. In this way, customers pay the price for one product and gain two benefits (clean water and a healthy plant), hence the relative reduction in the cost of the process. The project raises awareness of water quality management in rivers, and by selling the plants grown for the treatment it is also possible to contribute to the improvement of the local environment.


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