Reedbed Filtration for Sewage Treatment Systems
Melvyn Rutter Reedbeds are built as vertical flow reedbeds, where dirty water enters at one end, sinks down through layers, to flow out at the base of the opposite end.

All waste water treatment relies on bacterial breakdown of biological, mineral and metal components, in the presence of oxygen. This is true for Sewage Works ( clinker beds ! ), treatment tank systems and Reedbeds.

In the presence of oxygen stuff breaks down. In the absence of oxygen, stuff builds up. The biological breakdown of plant humus creates approximately 1inch of soil in about 1000 years. In wet, cold, boggy conditions, where oxygen is absent, 1 metre of peat is added to the moor land.

Where do the nutrients, minerals and metals go to?
The bacterial process absorbs, respires and collects nutrients, minerals and metals, forming them into “soil bits”. Stored as carbonates and bi-carbonates, these nutrients, minerals and metals are stored in all manner of soil components, safely out of harms way. Half the mass of soil is bacteria. Melvyn Rutter Reedbeds use soils as part of the filter materials.

Soils are brilliant absorption of water, holding onto maybe 22% per volume. Soils can use capillary action to raise water up in the reedbed. Soils are a brilliant growing material, and add a thermal quality and a buffering capacity for acidic mine waters.

Sewage Works & Treatment tank methods
Most treatment tanks have air blowing constantly into the mass of waste water. This is an only method of dissolved air floatation, common in industrial waste water treatment.

Sewage works do use this method, but their main method to breakdown nutrients is by dripping filtered waters down through clinker beds. Melvyn Rutter Vertical Flow Reedbeds copy this method. Only Melvyn Rutter Reedbeds are constructed on site in the surrounding land, rather than use concrete, metals and machinery.

Working in the Winter months
Given that Melvyn Rutter Reedbeds depend on the same bacterial action that you find in sewage works, it must follow that if sewage works work well in winter, then Melvyn Rutter Reedbeds work well in winter, too.

Melvyn Rutter Reedbeds have been tested in the mountain of The Czech Republic, where at –15c to –30C, beneath 4 to 5m of snow, for maybe 8 weeks of winter. The reduction of ammonia and nitrates was down to 75%, but I don’t work at those temperatures. What affects Melvyn Rutter Reedbeds, will affect other bacterial systems in a similar way.

We built our first installation in the October, 1000 feet above sea level in the West Yorkshire Pennines. In the January, in the snow, we saw reductions of ammonia, nitrates and phosphates by 99%.

Living Soakaway
Melvyn Rutter Reedbeds can build a living soakaway for situations where a direct discharge to a water course is not allowed. By building the soakaway, so that the final outflow from the reedbed is more than10m from the water course, then technically the discharge is to land.

The area of soakaway is planted up with willow and iris. These plants help with the evapotranspiration of waters. So in the soakaway, you have leaching, percolation and evaporation.

The magic comes from the Reedbeds. However, these living soakaways have been proven to be the key component to gain planning and Environment Agency approval. Of course they are also a nice garden feature. There is an additional charge of £50 for small living soakaways ( £100 for medium sized and £150 for large sized living soakaways ).

"It costs nothing to call to have a chat about waste water problems. Between us we should be able to find solutions, and save a few bob in the process. No heavy sales pitch. I always leave you with time to consider your options.
Always happy to offer free advice"