Articles & Case Studies

First floating reed bed for Anglian Water

Posted: Monday 23rd February 2009

Anglian Water is trialling a floating reed bed raft to treat municipal wastewater as part of its ongoing innovation programme.After a number of years exploring reed bed technology, Anglian Water is now almost twelve months into a two-year trial of floating reed beds. The trial utilises the expertise of ARM Ltd – the natural wastewater treatment solutions market leader.

Jo Callan, innovation wastewater programme manager at Anglian Water, says: “We have been using conventional reed bed systems as tertiary treatment for a number of years.

“However, the floating reed bed at Narborough is the first to be used for municipal wastewater treatment by Anglian Water. A range of plant species is being tested on the reed bed raft, which is in a sludge lagoon treating tertiary sewage effluent.

“We are aiming for enhanced polishing for removal of BOD (biochemical oxygen demand), suspended solids and ammonia; and also to establish its capability to remove heavy metals and phosphorous.”

Paul Rossetti, who previously managed the project for Anglian Water, commented: “After negotiation, ARM was chosen as they were committed to help in monitoring the plant growth aspect of the project.

“We have an agreement to share experimental data and ARM has attended the site since the reed bed was installed in March 2008, to inspect the plant growth and take samples of root and stem growth.”

Tori Widdas, of ARM, explains: “We’ve been using floating reed beds at a number of sites, for a variety of treatment challenges, across the country. This is part of our ongoing R&D into reed beds to see how they perform in different situations.

“We’ve found that the floating reed beds have wide applications, from the removal of solids in lagoons and settlement ponds through to providing spawning sites and predation protection alongside water treatment in fisheries.

“The main benefit of the floating reed bed, like the majority of reed bed treatment systems, is that it can provide a low-cost and low-maintenance treatment solution without the need for chemical or energy-intensive processes.”

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