Reed Beds are a natural way of treating contaminated water. The pollutants are decomposed by the actions of bacteria and other microbes living within the soil. The reeds provide the soil structure and the habitat for microbes to thrive amongst the plant roots.

We specialise in soil based reed beds which offer much better treatment capabilities than gravel based systems, and they have the added advantage that they don’t need periodic digging out and replacement like many gravel based constructed wetlands do.

Soil based reed beds are very versatile and can be used to treat a wide range of different pollutants and waste waters. They can be designed to work in different climates and to solve waste water problems of different scales. Our large scale systems for oil fields treat more than 50 million litres of contaminated water every day!

Not only are reed beds an environmentally friendly solution, they can be very cost effective too. Often, they can be designed to be entirely passive systems, operating by gravity with no mechanical or electrical parts. This means operational costs are minimal, and they only require basic horticultural care to ensure they continue to achieve the relevant water quality requirements.

Case Studies

Combining Heavy Metal and Sewage Filtration

In this project, we demonstrate how soil based reed beds are very versatile and can be used to treat very different types of water in a combined system.

We developed this reed bed in 2003 and 15 years on, it is still successfully treating water.


4 Reed Beds to Treat Former Pesticide Facility

An old industrial site, used for pesticide research was converted with 4 reed beds.

Contaminated groundwater was cleaned over a 20 year period, securing the safety of rivers and sensitive areas nearby.


Award Winning Mixed Effluent Treatment

Billingham reed beds were designed and built to treat mixed waste waters from ICI, formerly the largest chemical facility of its type in Europe.

The site has since changed hands and continues to be used to treat tankered liquid waste, and has also won 2 prestigious awards.


Full Scale Oil-Field Water Treatment

Oceans-ESU Ltd have designed and operated full scale reed bed systems for the treatment of produced water at 12 oil fields in Africa.

These systems have the combined capacity to treat 340,000 tonnes of water every day!


  • Reed beds provide a green feature and benefit wildlife in a world where natural wetlands are becoming scarce

  • Soil based reed beds are cheap to operate and maintain

  • ERT Technology® cleans polluted waters by harnessing the natural power of nature

  • ERT Technology® offers enhanced treatment capabilities compared to standard constructed wetlands

  • Bacteria found in soil based reed beds are capable of breaking down many persistent organic pollutants

      • 6
      • 2012
        football pitches worth of reedbeds built
      • 13
        million reeds planted
      • 35yrs
      • 358
        million litres of water treated daily (that’s 143 Olympic swimming pools!)

Accreditations / Certificates