Conway Centres Arts and Outdoor Education


Conway Centres

Arts and Outdoor Education

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Conway Centres: Anglesey Vertical Sewage Treatment System

Reed Bed @ Conway Centre

Reed Bed Ecology

Reeds are attractive plants, they are a lush green in the late spring and early summer, they develop magenta flowers in the late summer and feathery seedheads turn silver gold in the late autumn.

They have great conservation value and wild reed beds and wetlands provide a good breeding and roosting site for a variety birds and from the early spring to the late autumn, the thick tall growth will provide refuge for a host of insects and amphibians.

Reedbeds used to be very important for the local economy as they were traditionally harvested in the winter months for roof thatching, basket making and other handycrafts.

Reedbeds also have an important ecological role as they can be used to filter pollution, the common reed(Phragmites Australis)which naturally colonises wet areas such as ponds, ditches, dykes, fens, and even some estuaries, if left unmanaged will soon build up into vast expansive beds, for centuries men had noticed that where waste or polluted water was pasFsing through these natural wetlands, much cleaner water flowed out from them, in the 17th and 18th century some towns and cities were actually diverting their waste water into these wetlands and reed beds, to take advantage of this natural filtration.

Scientific investigations of reeds and wetland environments, commenced in Germany in the 1960`s, and since then we have learned that a number of processes are occurring in these environments, including, physical, chemical and biological mechanisms, these processes, when working in combination, can provide a breakdown of a wide range of contaminants.

Conway Centres: Anglesey is now using this environmentally friendly system, to process its waste, which is incorperated into a lanscaping scheme which supports various wetland fauna, provides habitat for birds, insects and amphibians, and also provides interest to visitors to the centre.

A.R.M. Ltd, Waste Water Treatment Specialists  Our Reed Bed was installed by A.R.M. Ltd, Waste Water Treatment Specialists.

Feature - WaterWorld Magazine

Our reed bed system was featured in the WaterWorld Magazine, please click here to view the article..

The Reed Bed Process

Stage 1 - Effluent Collection

The raw effluent is collected from the many toilets, sinks and showers throughout the centre, it is then carried by gravity through the wastewater pipework to the settlement tank.

Sinks          Showers          Toilets   

Stage 2 - Underground Settlement Tank

Before any treatment takes place, this effluent is left to stand in the 50,000ltr settlement tank, the solids are left to fall to the bottom of the tank and the liquids to rise, after 3 months the solids are removed and processed conventionally, the remaining liquid is allowed to flow into the pumping station.

Underground Treatment Tank

Stage 3 - Pumping Station

The Pumping station then slowly pumps the separated liquid effluent to the reed bed for processing by naturally occurring micro- organisms (Good Bacteria).

Pump Station          Distributiion Pipes          Pump Station Control Panel

Stage 4 - Reed Bed

When the effluent reaches the vertical reed bed, the principle of the treatment is relatively simple, the common reed (Phragmites Australis) transfers oxygen from its leaves down through its stem down to its rhizomes and root system. This oxygen transfer, aids in the production of the micro- organisms, which then breakdown and digest the organic matter, they also help reduce nitrates and phosphates and very importantly they remove germs (pathogens) and other pollutants such as heavy metals from the water.

Distribution Pipes

Stage 5 - Water Discharge

The quality of the treated effluent that is discharged has been significantly improved since the installation of the reed bed and now meets the all the Environment Agency  Guidelines for discharge consent. The system is being actively monitored by the consultants to control the pH, BOD, and suspended solid levels and a report on the reed bed and all its readings can be made available on request at the centre.

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