Inlet Distribution Pipework Collection Gallery Level Control Plants Process Area

Electrical Power Requirement

It is usually desirable to avoid the requirement for power to a reed bed site, provided there is sufficient gradiant on the site. Simple horizontal flow design usually requires control or monitoring systems in small works. In the case of Vertical flow reed beds, dosing can sometimes be achieved using a siphon pump, otherwise a suitable electrical pumping system is required.


Research suggests that reed beds which are designed and maintained properly will perform successfully for around 15 years. Severn Trent Water, which operates over 300 reed beds, is currently beginning a refurbishment programme for reed beds which have been in use for between 12 and 15 years.

Maintenance and Refurbishment

One of the major benefits of reed beds is the low maintenance regime required to operate them. Routine maintenance is straightforward. This makes reed beds very cheap to operate throughout the life of the system.

The most crucial period for a reed bed is the two years following installation. It is very important that:

  • There is even and consistent flow through the bed
  • Reed growth is vigorous and even
  • Weed invasion is minimised and controlled

Over the lifetime of a reed bed solids will accumulate, particularly at the inlet end of the system. Sometimes this may result in clogging and some surface flow, but this will not largely affect the treatment quality as long as it is limited to a small percentage of the total process area.


We assure quality in our services based on past experience and research undertaken by our peers. Research and design work in the UK has been undertaken by WRc, Constructed Wetlands Association (CWA), Severn Trent Water, and ARM Ltd as well as many universities. There is also data available from overseas sources such as EPA (USA) and other government agencies. There is, as a result, a good degree of confidence in the effectiveness of properly designed and installed reed bed treatment systems.

The quality of materials and construction is always paramount. NIRBC gives guarantees regarding standards of construction, as well as operating and maintenance programmes. NIRBC includes maintenance for you in the first two years following construction as part of the cost of installation.