National Botanic Garden of Wales invests in ‘poo palace’


The National Botanic Garden of Wales has enhanced its green credentials with an updated wastewater treatment system comprising of aerated reed beds.

The system, which will treat the sewage from up to 2,000 visitors and 90 members of staff per day, was designed and built by Staffordshire-based ARM Reed Beds.  

Tori Sellers, director at ARM Reed Beds, explains:

“The National Botanic Garden of Wales came to us earlier this year with a challenge: upgrade their existing wastewater treatment system – an eleven-year-old Living Machine® and aeration tanks – to handle increased visitor numbers while saving energy and costs.

“Over the summer, a sensitive refurbishment programme was initiated which included the implementation of state-of-the-art forced bed aeration (FBA™) technology within the reed beds and the removal of the Living Machine and aeration tanks.  The new system now takes up a far smaller physical footprint, has a bigger treatment capacity and will save the Garden around £7,000 in energy and maintenance costs every year.”

Clive Edwards, head of facilities at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, comments:

“Sustainability, in terms of environmental performance, is an essential aspect of our work here at the garden.  We are constantly looking for new ways to lower our impact on the planet while improving the visitor experience with more attractions – and the upgrade to our ‘poo palace’ allows us to do just that. Demonstrating and explaining our operational contribution to sustainability is an important part of the visitor experience.

“The enhanced performance means more clean water for irrigating our biomass plantation which, in turn, means less dependence on heavy carbon fuels.  The refurbishment of the system has also allowed us to do away with the aerobic tanks and Living Machine and free up the greenhouse that used to house them for additional visitor attractions.”

On a visit to the National Botanic Garden of Wales in September, Prince Charles – patron of the organisation – praised the garden’s environmental focus and commented on the need to “leave a legacy for future generations of a sustainable environment.”

The project which was undertaken by the National Botanic Garden in partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government was completed in autumn 2010 and comprises a septic tank which feeds into a 128m² vertical flow reed bed system with forced bed aeration technology.  

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Press information:

Kinetic Communications                  0121 212 6250


National Botanic Garden of Wales     01558 667 130

David Hardy                                   07736 365560

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