Reed Beds

Our site at Norton Bottoms includes a Reed Bed effluent treatment system that has received national recognition in the form of two prestigious awards, namely the LARAC “Best New Idea” and CIWM’s “Innovation in Waste Management and Resource Recovery”; it was also a finalist in the National Recycling Awards.

The Reed Bed effluent treatment system gained approval from the Environment Agency and is recognised as BAT (Best Alternative Technology), this allowed the environmental permitting of the treatment activity. Reed Bed treatment technology is a proven treatment technology which enhances natural biological methods of contamination degradation. Treatment is achieved through the action of naturally occurring microbes that break down contaminants in the soils and waters. The reed species have a particularly well defined tertiary root structure which provides optimum conditions for the bacterial colonies that achieve the contamination degradation. Both aerobic and anaerobic mechanisms occur as the reeds transport air down through their root structures and into the soil medium; developing pockets of oxygenated and non-oxygenated activity. As the reeds mature the complex root systems improve the soil structure while the bacterium breaks down the contaminants.

Unlike many other treatment technologies, reed beds are particularly robust. The soil medium acts as a natural buffer whilst eliminating spikes in discharged effluent. The system is therefore very tolerant of variable flows and loading rates. Reed Beds are low maintenance compared to other treatment technologies. These living systems are naturally regenerative and are simple to operate; therefore they treat naturally and without any interference into environment.

The video below shows a sweeper wash plant removing solid material from sweeper waste, allowing the liquid effluent to be treated in our award winning reed beds.

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