January 15, 2010

Off-Grid 101

Reedbeds, not sewers

Reedbed Filtration is a natural approach to human waste water treatment. International environmental scientist, MELVYN RUTTER is a born-again reed-bed enthusiast. Here he describes his personal journey.

I began my research in the spring of 1995, shortly after graduating as a mature student from Huddersfield University. I visited many sites with reedbeds, learned their designs, and saw what they did. I formulated a design that avoided all of the faults and mistakes of the systems I studied.

All methods of waste water treatment harness the work of bacteria to break down nutrients and pollutants. In the presence of air ( oxygen ) things break down, and in the absence of air ( oxygen ) things build up. The original developers of reedbeds used a horizontal flow system. This is where the effluents flow in the top and out of the top of the bed. They normally used a single bed. Sometimes they elongated it, and twisted the flows round and round again.

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