Why Reedbed Technology

Innovative long-term solutions for a harsh and varied climate

Reed beds are engineered systems that provide water treatment using a passive and biologically-mediated process. The use of these passive wetlands for wastewater treatment and recycling offers incredible value in terms of the dual use of space allowed – attractive, landscaped greening and cooling zones which facilitate natural and sustainable water treatment options.

Reedbed Technology have developed our own innovative systems and technology which are tailored to the harsh climate and intense rainfall we experience in Australia. We have built on the extensive experience of our partners in Europe and the U.S. who continue to support our team with technical advice and design review of every installation.

We perform pilot trials of our systems to confirm sizing, operation and design aspects of the reed beds in relation to climate and influent quality and to test out aspects of our technology in order to continuously refine it.

The Reedbed Technology team are dedicated to ensuring that all of our reed bed systems are not only aesthetically appealing but always well integrated into the outdoor environment and allow for a double use of space.

3 key reed bed processes which facilitate sustainable water treatment:

  1. Natural aeration of the substrate to promote aerobic and anaerobic processing of contaminants.

  2. The development of microbial biofilms in the substrate and plant root zones.

  3. The swath of reeds provides an attractive green space and play a key role in maintaining free drainage through the system & preventing clogging.

Advantages of Using Reedbed Technology

Looking for a sustainable long-term solution for managing wastewater? Here are 10 reasons why Reedbed Technology is a far better alternative.

1. Zero energy, carbon neutral solutions

As our reed bed systems consume no energy, you are implementing a wastewater treatment option which results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and consequently a reduced carbon footprint.

2. Highly aesthetic, odourless living and growing systems

From the surface reed beds look like a lush garden bed with reeds swaying in the breeze, and they are completely odourless. Below the surface of the bed contaminant and detoxification processes are taking place. The plants make use of available nutrients and water from the input waste stream to thrive and reproduce.

These natural water treatment systems are highly appreciated by the public as they lead to increased visual amenity and an enhanced public realm overall. The range of different plants utilised in reed bed design and the resulting constructed wetlands allow for carbon sequestration and contribute to a rich and active biodiversity.

3. Remove a range of contaminants or target a particular contaminant

We design reed beds for the treatment of domestic wastewater, wastewater sludge, industrial wastes, contaminated wastes, and mine waters. Our reed beds remove a range of different contaminants including organic loads (BOD), petrochemicals and solvents, suspended solids and sediments, metals, and nutrients.

Reed beds are normally lined and then filled with an inorganic substrate such as sand or gravel. The substrate itself is relatively inert but provides a solid media for plant roots and a large surface area for microorganisms. The substrate media can be specifically selected to target a particular contaminant of concern.

4. Reedbed Technology can be customised to suit your needs

Reedbed Technology reed bed systems can be constructed in a range of shapes and scales and designed to fit in with the surrounding landscape. For example, in highly urban areas they can have a ‘hard edge’ form to suit the streetscape, while in outer suburbs and more rural settings they can be large enough to manage wastes from entire communities an townships and to provide significant wildlife habitat.

Reed beds can be placed at intervals throughout a community or located at the main outfall to treat the community’s entire waste load using a more centralised approach.

5. Our Reebed Systems do not clog

Poor performance of many older and badly designed horizontal flow systems such as issues with clogging, waterlogging, and odour have given reed beds a bad reputation in Australia. At Reedbed Technology, we have developed our own systems and technology which are tailored for the Australian climate and do not exhibit any of these problematic properties.

Reedbed Technology focuses specifically on vertical flow systems. Our systems:

  • do not clog
  • have a much longer life span

and are much easier to maintain and operate compared with horizontal flow systems.

6. We implement vegetation that is suited to a harsh and varied climate

Our reed beds are planted out with aquatic reeds and rushes that are selected specifically for the harsh Australian climate and are able to withstand flooding and extended periods of dryness. Phragmites australis is commonly used because it is a hardy plant, is fast growing, has an excellent root structure, and a high evapotranspiration rate. However, there are many other aquatic plants that can be used depending on the environment we are dealing with.

7. Our sludge treatment reed beds halve the footprint required & use land less than half the size of that of unplanted drying pans

We utilise plants that serve to maintain the infiltration properties of the media and prevent clogging. The resulting reed bed systems promote drainage and evaporation, leading to a significantly reduced footprint and land required (compared with drying pans).  Wastewater and sludge treatment can be treated using the same system, meaning that no additional space or energy is required for sludge.

8. Little or no moving parts and on-site treatment of wastewater

Being natural, environmentally sustainable systems, our reed beds have no moving parts and this equates to reduced noise and maintenance, as well as reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions compared to mechanical treatment systems. Reedbed Technology also incurs low capital costs and lower operational costs compared to housed mechanical systems.

As wastewater treatment and dewatering of sludges is conducted on-site transfer costs are minimised.

9. Beneficial reuse of high quality biosolids (composting) product

Sewage sludge is a by-product of wastewater treatment. When treated to minimise health risks and improve beneficial characteristics this product is referred to as biosolids. Because it is rich in organic matter and nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and trace metals, biosolids has valuable reuse properties.

Reedbed Technology’s passive sludge treatment systems produce a high quality biosolids product with reduced pathogen concentrations and a greatly reduced volatile solids load. Dilute sludge with less than 1% solids is converted to a usable product using our low maintenance and low cost system.

The end result: a rich valuable resource with great benefits for the agricultural, horticultural and municipal sectors, rather than simply a contaminated waste requiring disposal.

10. Robust water treatment systems

Our innovative reed bed systems are equipped to cope with intermittent flows and manage fluctuating water quality effectively.