Environmentally benign and sustainable biomeasures have become attractive options for the in situ remediation of polluted surface waters. In this paper, we review the current state of reported experiments utilizing naturally occurring periphyton. These are microbial communities consisting of heterotrophic and photoautotrophic microorganisms that are reportedly capable of remediating surface waters which suffer from pollution due to a variety of contaminants. In our review, we focus on four aspects of bioremediation: multiple contaminant removal, the processes involved in contaminant removal, successful cell immobilization technologies and finally, the consideration of safety in aquaculture. It has been noted that recent developments in immobilization technologies offer a fresh approach facilitating the application of periphyton. The use of periphyton biofilm overcomes several disadvantages of single species microbial aggregates. The inclusion of periphyton, as a stable micro-ecosystem, is a promising in situ strategy to restore decimated surface water ecosystems.