Environmentally Friendly Sewage Treatment

West Country Drainage to the rescue! We have been working hard to come up with an alternative solution to treat effluent using natural resources and have implemented environmentally friendly sewage treatment on the Somerset Levels. Our client for this project had no power to the site, it is located in a SSSI (Site of Specific Scientific Interest) area and the site has no main sewers in the vicinity.

WCDS designed a solution to allow for the Somerset Levels natural environment to be the main feature. With a septic tank installation discharging to a beautifully prepared reedbed means a purified discharge can be obtained. There are only approximately 900 reed beds sited in the UK so this addition will add a diverse change in the area allowing local wildlife to flourish.

What is a reedbed?

A reedbed, in the context of drainage, is an engineered or natural system used for treating wastewater or managing stormwater runoff. It consists of a bed of reeds or other wetland vegetation planted in a shallow basin or trench.

In the system, wastewater or stormwater is directed to the reedbed, where the roots of the plants and the microorganisms living in the substrate help to remove pollutants and nutrients from the water. The reeds’ dense root systems provide a habitat for these microorganisms, which break down organic matter and filter out contaminants, improving water quality.

Reedbeds are often used as part of decentralised or sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to manage runoff from urban areas or to treat wastewater from small communities or individual households.

As mentioned above, reedbeds are dominated by local reeds that allow filtration and trap sediments allowing purified water to pass through and are valued for their effectiveness in reducing pollutants, their low maintenance requirements and their aesthetic appeal. They are, however, a dying trend unfortunately. Not many companies will install them due to lack of knowledge and resources. But not us!  They are the best solution for a lot of off-main systems and if we can create more awareness to install them back into our environment, it and our wildlife with flourish!

Useful AND Aesthetically Pleasing

As well as solving a problem and helping the environment and ecosystems, reedbeds can also be very beautiful to look at. In this particular project we included Irises, adding some colour to the bed which is a great talking point for anyone with them on their property. With their easy maintenance and low costs they benefit more than just wildlife.

With the rising ground water levels and the flooding that the Somerset Levels are associated with, these systems are able to assist with flood defence and they are able to withstand a flood and survive unlike a traditional drainage field which may become overwhelmed. With climate change on the rise, reedbeds provide the very best solution in our environment to help
with the rising issues we are facing today. We are experiencing higher levels of rain fall which in turn creates a higher water table than we are used to or our older systems are designed for.  In the past, reedbeds were extremely common due to their durability and ground water factors. As we turn full circle we need to be thinking of the alternative solution’s for our homes.

Safe proofing and investing in our homes and environment is the only way forward for us. Bringing this awareness more into the spotlight is the only way we can move on from the traditional methods and create a greener world for our next generation of children and wildlife.