Reed beds are one of the most efficient methods of harnessing the power of natural ecological processes and generating effective solutions to modern-day waste disposal problems.

Unfortunately, many people won’t even consider them due to the misplaced concern for the smell that reed beds might generate.

Do Reed Beds Smell?

Reed beds do not smell bad as long as they are correctly set up and properly maintained. One of the most surprising benefits of reed beds is the efficient elimination of strong odors and unpleasant smells.

If you were hesitant to even consider a reed bed solution because you were afraid they smelled bad, you have a lot more to learn about reed beds. Thankfully, I know a thing or two about this wonderful eco-friendly method of disposal.

If You Love The Environment, Reed Beds Deserve Your Attention

Reed beds, a type of effluent treatment pond, are a truly ingenious solution to waste management, but they are nothing new. The concepts that allow reed beds to do what they do so well have been developed and refined for a long time.

But, what are they?

Reed beds are a form of artificial wetland that can be used to treat effluent, sewage, stormwater, runoff, and other types of polluted water flow. These carefully engineered systems take advantage of specific qualities of certain vegetation (hence their name), bacteria, and soil, to remove biodegradable matter from wastewater.

You can think of reed beds as a big natural filter. Sort of.

Reed Beds eliminate odors

Reed beds consist of a bed of a combination of gravel, sand, and soil that is planted with reed plants, also known as cattails. Polluted water flows through the bed, to the other end, free of pollutants.

Aside from the fact that reed beds are very efficient, their most impressive characteristic is that they are very climate friendly. But, how do they work?

Reed Beds Sound Like Magic – How Do They Work?

Reed beds can decontaminate pollution from water as well as they do because of the interplay between a number of highly complex chemical, physical, and biological processes generated by the different components that are used in their design

In layman’s terms, bacterial growth along the bottom of the bed breaks down pollutants in the water, which is then further filtered by the gravel and sand. By the time the water is collected at the exit end, it has been successfully treated and rid of most harmful bacteria and viruses.

Reed beds can decontaminate the following pollutants:

  • Metals
  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrates
  • Ammonia
Cat tails in a reed bed

Reasons To Build A Reed Bed

If you need more reasons to consider a reed bed, here are five that should sway your opinion.

Reed Beds Are Very Efficient

Reed beds are so efficient that they do not need to be large. Even a small reed bed can efficiently treat enough water for a small house.

They Are Very Cost-effective

Though an initial investment is needed for the installation, reed beds are comparatively inexpensive, especially when put against traditional treatment methods based on mechanical or electric systems. The estimated cost to maintain a reed bed is a fraction of the cost of other methods.

Reed Beds Eliminate Bad Odors

Even when used to treat waste from septic tanks, the reed bed can decontaminate it and reduce the foul fecal scent that is typically associated with regular septic systems.

They Require Little Maintenance

Evented to prevent the bed from “choking” on excess vegetable matter. The top layer of the gravel/sand mixture needs to be raked periodically, especially after heavy rain. Finally, reed beads need to be kept free of weeds and other parasitic vegetation.

Reed Beds Are Long-lasting

They will clean effectively for a period of 15 to 25 years, depending on the exact structural method used to construct them.

If you are in need of a treatment system for your wastewater, and are at all interested in the future of the environment and identify with green politics, reed beds should be on your radar.