Reed Beds

Reed beds are a type of constructed wetland, that of vertical flow. Reed beds are mechanically simple, yet biologically complex technology that was developed at the Max Planck Institute in Denmark in the 1960’s. Reed beds have been used extensively in Europe and Africa, and increasingly in North America for sludge and septage dewatering. They are also used extensively in Europe and Australia for domestic wastewater treatment. Reed bed filters are essentially sand drying beds, long used for sludge dewatering, that have plants added. Plants dramatically improve functionality over that of sand alone. A marked increase in scientific literature publication and citations indicate a growing recognition of their importance.

Reed bed treatment mechanisms:

Reed beds utilize a variety of basic physical and biological principles, similar to that of other types of constructed wetlands to treat wastewater. They physically and chemically stabilize septage/sludge into biosolids. Processes include:

•    Drying via anisotropic (unidirectional) drainage downwards
•    Oxidation via active transport from plant leaves and stems into roots
•    Uptake of nutrients by plants
•    Phytoremediation of introduced compounds
•    Remediation of the rhizosphere by the microbial and invertebrate community
•    Evapotranspiration of plants
•    Mineralization


Reed bed under construction
Source: 5546712861_a5151e501a photo by: gtzecoson


Reed bed site in Denmark


Reed planted sludge dewatering beds in Bad Estal, Germany
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