Guide to Biobeds
Biobeds have become an increasingly popular method for the removal of pesticide from the water used in sprayers in recent years. Biobeds can be supplied as indirect or direct biobeds or in the form of a biofilter. Here’s our guide to what they are and how we can help you with them.
What is a Biobed?
A biobed is a mixture of peat free compost, soil and straw (biomix) covered with turf that is then placed in a lined pit. They are used as a way to degrade pesticides and stop them getting into watercourses.
There are two options when installing a biobed; Indirect Biobed, also known as Offset, or Direct Biobed, also known as drive over.
Types of Biobeds:
Indirect Biobeds: These are adjacent to the sprayer filling area and needs pumps to move the drained pesticide runoff through the biomix, allowing for complete control over the liquid distribution of the liquid allowing the full surface area of the biobed to be utilised by using a drip irrigation system. If your sprayer filling area is already bunded concrete this could be adapted for use with indirect biobeds.
Direct Biobeds: These have the sprayer parked, washed and filled over a mesh grid, positioned on top of the biobed pit. This is a very effective system due to it intercepting all spills, dops and washings – most current facilities can’t be modified to be a direct system, so new construction is probably needed.
Benefits of a Biobed:
- Current fill areas can be adapted
- Suitable if biobed needs to be in a different location to fill area
- Control distribution of collected liquid
- Uses gravity to filtrate the biomix; no pump needed
- Catches all spills and splashes from washing
- Allows new construction of filling area if old one is unsuitable
A Biofilter, also known as a Bio Bunkbed, is a system well suited for smaller operations, where there’s less than 15,000 litres being passed through the system yearly. The concept is the same as a biobed system, but the Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC’s) are used as the impermeable lining.
A small pump is required to direct the liquid to the first Biofilter container at the top.
Benefits of a Biofilter:
- Suitable for smaller systems
- Easy to refresh biomix once exhausted
- Contained in a smaller area
- Cheaper to install than a Biobed
- Suitable for indoor sprayer fill areas
Is funding available for Biobeds?
There is funding available through multiple channels for the installation of biobeds. Here’s just a few we know about:
- Country stewardship grants (https://www.gov.uk/countryside-stewardship-grants)
- Farm capital grant (https://wearetap.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/4725_Farm_CapitalGrantScheme_Handbook_A5_v5.pdf)
- Severn Trent’s STEPS scheme (https://www.stwater.co.uk/about-us/environment/catchment-management/severn-trent-environmental-protection-scheme/)
How can we help?
At Cotterill Civils, we provide a range of membranes to suit your biobed needs. We also offer a biobed installation service.