FiveRivers wetlands team during a wetland restoration project

Constructed Wetlands

Constructed wetlands are artificially engineered systems that use the natural functions of vegetation, soil, and organisms. Constructed wetlands are designed for the treatment of wastewaters, habitat creation or both.

Constructed wetland are man-made systems that aims to provide many of the benefits of a natural wetland so it is perhaps worth considering what a wetland is in nature. Wetlands are an established nature-based solution (NBS) that provide multiple benefits; the treatment of water to improve its quality, complex biodiversity and habitat types, carbon sequestration and amenity value, providing access to nature for local communities.

Wetlands can span everything from naturalised wetlands for sediment capture and biodiversity improvements in river catchments through to constructed wetlands for treatment of excessive nutrients from wastewater or to mitigate development.

Constructed wetlands is a low-cost and low-energy solution. However, to be robust and effective, constructed wetlands must be carefully designed, constructed, operated, and maintained. By understanding and utilising natural processes within constructed wetlands to their best effect, we offer a comprehensive team who can monitor, design and construct a solution to improve water quality for your needs.

Two members of the FiveRivers team during a wetland construction project
The Problems

An increase in pressure on water resources

We are experiencing increased pressure on water resources, with catchment management and water quality high on the natural capital agenda. Some examples of issues our water resources face include: 

Nutrient Neutrality
Nutrient neutrality is becoming a reality in some river catchments where new housing developments – and the resulting increase in sewage going through treatment works will elevate phosphate and nitrate levels. Developers in some areas are required to create mitigation features onsite, or to buy credits from off-site mitigation schemes, to offset these increases.

FiveRivers team members working on a wetland restoration project

Wastewater secondary treatment
The treatment of wastewater at sewage treatment works to reduce nitrate and phosphate levels before it is allowed to leave the site is costly and often very carbonintensive. Passing treated wastewater through a constructed wetland system before discharging into a water body can decrease operating costs and contribute to net zero targets.

Combined Sewage Overflow (CSO) treatment
CSOs are emergency valves in our sewerage system, discharging untreated sewage and wastewater during periods of intense rainfall. They are a vital part of our sewerage infrastructure, but can have a negative impact on the river, sea and wetland environments. 

The Solutions

Monitoring, design and construction

FiveRivers have been delivering and working on wetland projects across the UK since 1997, and have designed and built a number of constructed wetlands to improve water quality, biodiversity and habitat type, and remove harmful contaminants and pollutants.   

 We offer the following services in-house, supplying your project with cost effective-solutions: 

  • Nutrient neutrality – a full service for developers looking for on-site and off-site mitigation, as well as landowners looking to create nutrient reduction wetlands to sell nutrient credits. We offer nutrient assessments feasibility assessments and full design, construction and maintenance packages for nutrient reduction wetlands. 
  • Waste water treatment – our specialists can support on all development and delivery stages for water treatment constructed wetland.  We believe in multiple benefits from wetlands and, by utilising a more naturalised approach, we can provide secondary benefits such as biodiversity improvement and amenity value. 
  • Monitoring and compliance – by offering monitoring of both flow and nutrient levels we can validate the effectiveness of schemes. This can be carried out through manual sampling or by setting up automated monitoring systems.  

 We are a member of the Constructed Wetland Association (CWA), and, most importantly, we are passionate and knowledgeable about wetlands, improving water quality and designing biodiversity and added value into our schemes. 

Luke Roberts - Design & Construction General Manager at FiveRivers (5R)

Contact us

Talk to an expert in Constructed Wetlands

Luke Roberts

Construction Manager

Get in touch by either phone or email to speak with Luke and discuss your needs. Alternatively click the button below to complete our contact form.