7.30am - 5.30pm
What experience do the Biobed Team have?
Our team have been a part of the farming community for over 30 years; we are a family run business with each member of our team having a specific skill to help make the organisation the ‘go to’ place for all of your bio bed questions. We have specific information and plans which simplify the process of research, purchasing and installing a bio bed, which you won’t find anywhere else.
What are biobeds?
The Bio Bed is basically an organic filter system. A system which is designed to ‘lock up’ pesticide run off and provide conditions for their microbial breakdown, preventing them from entering the water courses.
Why are they needed?
To help protect the water locally and in the wider natural environment; providing a safe habitat for aquatic creatures, protect humans from ingesting harmful pesticides and protect other crops and vegetative growth from being affected by large amounts of chemicals.
Who can apply?
Land managers. The system is likely to be most useful on farms where substantial quantities of pesticides are handled on farms or on farms where pesticides are regularly used.
What costs can be funded by the grant?
A contribution towards the capital cost of constructing the bio bed. These costs can vary greatly depending on the specific site characteristics and the availability of on-farm labour and skills. There is a cap of £10,000 per site if you meet all of the desired criteria.
How can I find out more information?
Phone us on 01553 819590, email [email protected] or visit us at Maple House, Hamlin way etc.
Do I need to get permission?
If you want to build a Bio Filter or Bio Bed you will need to obtain relevant waste exemptions from the Environmental agency. Disposal of washings from a sump by spraying out to land requires an environmental permit.
What do I need to do first?
There are a number of basic steps that need to be considered before building a Bio Bed or Bio Filter. Refer to the Pesticide Handling Area and Bio Bed manual (2.2)
1. Checking the risks to Groundwater
2. Drawing up a site Plan and local risk assessment.
3. Deciding on the configuration of Bio Bed or Bio Filter you will install.
4. Calculating the size of Bio Bed
5. Registering the relevant waste exemptions with the Environmental Agency.
What is the difference between a Bio Filter and a BioBed?
A Bio Filter is generally smaller in area than a Bio Bed and is normally built above ground. It comprises of a number of robust containers (often referred to as IBC’s) containing the biomix. These form the ‘liner’ as with a Bio Bed. These containers are stacked one above the other and include a system to allow drainage by gravity from container to container. For more information, click here.
What is the Bio Bed mix?
Straw (wheat or barley), peat-free compost and topsoil. The three parts should be mixed by volume as one part compost, one part top soil and two parts straw.
Do I need a Biobed or Biofilter?
The answer is Yes, unless you have an entirely based system with all filling and handling and wash down taking place in the field, but this is not always practical or convenient. Other options include collecting washings and run-off from the handling area in a sump and paying for professional waste disposal or spraying the washings out on an area with a groundwater permit.
Should the Bio Bed be covered to exclude rainfall?
The Bio Bed itself should not be covered as this will impact on the ability of the Bio Bed to degrade the Pesticides. However, there are benefits from limiting the volume of clean rainwater entering the Bio Bed. Purpose built roof structures are unlikely to be cost effective. However an existing building would allow the bunded handling area to be covered this would allow the overall size of the Bio Bed to be reduced significantly. If the Bunded handling area is covered, then in some instances a Bio filter can be used, depending on the volume of pesticide to be treated.
Should my filling area be inside or outside?
Purpose built roof structures are unlikely to be cost effective. However an existing building would allow the bunded handling area to be covered this would allow the overall size of the Bio Bed to be reduced significantly. If the Bunded handling area is covered, then in some instances a Bio filter can be used, depending on the volume of pesticide to be treated.
Can I dispose of concentrated pesticides through the bed/ filter system?
Concentrated pesticides are not allowed to be disposed of using the system in neat form. They have to be diluted at a ratio of _:_ in order for the levels of pesticide to be safe and not damage the balanced filter system.
How big does my Handling area need to be?
The size of the bunded handling area is a compromise between containment, minimising the volume of clean rainwater requiring treatment and maintaining the ability to work safely. The areas suggested below will not allow for full boom unfolding. However, it is possible to modify the handling area for an indirect Bio Bed to enable the boom to be fully extended.
How large does my disposal area need to be?
This depends on the amount of water that is going to be passed through the system each year. A Bio Bed is sized to provide sufficient Biomix to degrade the expected chemical loadings. The basic specification is based on 1 square metre of surface area of Bio bed per 1000 litres of liquid to be treated. Please visit the How Big should my Biobed be? Feature which will calculate the size of the bed that you’ll need.
What do I do with the soil/ straw/ compost when I need to change the filter?
The spent Biomix must be stored so that there is no risk of it being a source of water pollution.
- 10 metres from any surface water or clean water drain.
- 250 metres from any spring, well or borehole
- Store for a minimum of 12 months and no longer than 36 months
- No more than 50 cubic metres may be stored at any one time.
- Consider sheeting or storing the Biomix under cover to reduce rainwater run-off.
- If the spent Biomix is stored on concrete (or any other impermeable surface) any run-off should be collected and irrigated to vegetated land, that is neither frozen or water logged, subject to the distances given above.
- If the spent Biomix is stored in the field ensure the storage is sited away from any drains and that there are no risks to surface and ground water.
- Keep a plan and record of your storage arrangements.
Do I really need to lay turf on top of my Bio Bed?
After the Biomix has been added to the system a layer of turf must be laid on top of the Biomix. If the Bio Bed is not to be used immediately, adding the turf layer should be delayed to allow for the addition of fresh Biomix following the initial settlement period. The turf layer MUST be in place before pesticides are added to the Bio Bed. Domestic grade turf is not recommended as this has little soil reserve and limits the development of grass growth over the Biomix.
Sprayer Type Over Length (metres) Overall Width (metres)
Self propelled Sprayer