Reed Beds

reed beds as a sewerage solution

What is a Reed Bed?

A reed bed is a channel lined with impermeable membrane that is filled with gabion stone, gravel and is planted with (macrophytes) like reeds, rushes and treats the grey /black water (waste water). Waste water is passed through the root zone of the reeds where it undergoes treatment. The inlet and outlet of the pipes are positioned below gravel surface so that the water always remains below the gravel surface, thus excluding human exposure to the waste water, mosquito breeding and unpleasant odors. Reed beds are perfect for this.

How do Reed beds work?

Treated effluent from the house is initially filtered prior to entering the reed bed through a filter. This effluent filter is fitted too the grey water collection tank or septic outlet pipe. After filtration of the large solids/floatables, the waste water undergoes many processes as it passes through the reed bed. The reed bed detains the waste water for at least 5-7 days. This detention period of the reed bed directly aids with the treatment by allowing time for the setting and filtering of  floatables. Nitrification of suspended solids takes place, fixation onto the substrate, breakdown of organic matter and nutrient removal via micro-organisms and plant uptake. (5-7 days for which the reed bed is designed for).

The quality of the treated effluent improves with increased residence time.

Why install a red bed?

We have found that in most cases where the local municipality does not allow for septic tank or french drain but only a digester which gets desludged at exorbitant prices, it is best to install a reed bed. Most recommend option.  The use of a reed bed produces a secondary treated effluent that allows owners to better utilize their waste water than had it remained primary treated. Reed bed effluent can easily percolate into the soil because it has reduced BOD and suspended solids and poses less risk to human health. The local municipality may have previously given approval to install a septic tank with an absorption french drain within 100 meter radius but as knowledge increases about the on-site domestic or commercial sewerage, if it found that these systems treat the waste water to an acceptable standard only. If the absorption trench fails, it will be better to install a reed bed which will improve the quality of the septic tank effluent prior to land disposal. Installation of reed beds will also significantly reduce fecal coli forms /pathogen indicator.

Types of soil where reed beds can be installed?

Reed beds can usually installed on sites on soil that does not allow for easy permeation – sand, clay, steep slopes, allowing the water to be treated to an acceptable standard prior to land application. Drain Ratz Plumbers & Builders are installers of Reed Beds.

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