This paper reviews the operation of storm reed beds to determine whether the current system of operational maintenance is contributing to premature process failures and if not, to identify other factors of importance. Twelve storm reed beds of the horizontal subsurface flow type, at seven locations in the South Warwickshire area of the United Kingdom, were surveyed. Each survey consisted of a site visit, an interview with the operators in charge and an assessment of the treatment performance based on routine monitoring data. Although some sites suffered from varying degrees of sludge accumulation, surface blinding and/or weed growth, all effluent concentrations remained far below the consent levels. Thorough operational maintenance on a reed bed is proven to be important for the asset life. However, there are other factors or features of a reed bed that play a more pivotal role in premature process failure such as the lack of pre-treatment and a premature operation of the storm overflow.

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