5 ways we take a sustainable approach to our reed bed work

We understand the crucial role a well-maintained reed bed can play in water treatment. We also acknowledge that reed beds are valuable ecosystems that provide a habitat for various plant and animal species.

That’s why maintaining them requires a sustainable approach, too, to ensure their health and effectiveness while enhancing their environmental performance. Here are five examples of sustainable practices we use to manage and maintain reed beds, which often challenge traditional methods offered within our industry.

1. Regular monitoring

Regular monitoring of your reed bed helps determine its health. Performance and condition testing – where we analyse things like sediment accumulation levels, water quality, and bank erosion – can identify signs of degradation, invasive species, or pollution.

If we detect these threats early enough through regular monitoring, we can reduce their impacts and prevent further damage to the ecosystem.

2. Regular maintenance

Neglected reed beds used in the sewage treatment process can contain nitrates, ammonium, and phosphates, which can be damaging at increased levels, causing water pollution and disrupting aquatic ecosystems. Also, the trapped sewage in a non-maintained reed bed can emit harmful greenhouse gases, including methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide.

Our regular maintenance work helps to protect the environment and reduce the carbon footprint of your reed bed by minimising these potentially destructive pollutants.

3. Sustainable dewatering techniques

Our dewatering techniques significantly reduce the volume of water in the sludge we remove from settlement lagoons or reed beds, making it more compact and easier to handle, transport, and dispose of.

One way we do this is to decant the sludge into a nearby drying bed. Dewatering results in fewer trips to dispose of it, which is better for the environment and offers major transportation and disposal cost savings for our clients.

4. Sustainable reed transplantation

When we maintain or refurbish a reed bed, we carefully remove the healthy reeds and nurture them outside the bed while we remove detritus, weeds, and sewage from the bottom of the bed. Then, the healthy reeds are reintroduced back into the bed.

This sustainable approach saves significant time and money and is better for the environment. Replanting existing reeds rather than planting new ones can save our clients around £1 per reed. Moreover, reeds are more likely to thrive in a familiar environment, meaning the reed bed can be returned online much sooner.

5. Recycling reed bed waste

The waste we remove from our reed bed maintenance and refurbishment work is always recycled where possible. For instance, the sludge build-up in a reed bed can contain valuable resources such as organic matter, nutrients, and energy. Sustainable desludging can help recover and reuse these resources through anaerobic digestion, composting, or incineration with energy recovery.


Our sustainable approach to reed bed work involves regular monitoring, maintenance, dewatering, reed transplantation, and recycling of reed bed waste. We use these techniques to ensure the health and effectiveness of reed beds while enhancing their environmental performance. Our sustainable practices not only help to protect the environment but can also lead to cost savings for our clients.

About Oren Environmental

Oren Environmental is an industry leader in reed bed maintenance and large-scale desludging.

Our expertise comes from refurbishing and maintaining one of the UK’s largest portfolios of reed beds and settlement lagoons. For more information about Oren Environmental, please visit our website.