The roots of the reeds are able to dispose of organic chemicals and absorb heavy metals in medical waste water (Photo: dantocmiennui.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – The first waste water treatment system using reeds in Vietnam has been successfully developed at Nhan Ai hospital in Bu Gia Map district of southern Binh Phuoc province.

Next to the hospital’s Internal Medicine Department, eight reed beds, each 8 metres wide and 23 metres long, are planted on waterproof plastic panels with sand and soil below.

The roots of the reeds are able to dispose of organic chemicals and absorb heavy metals in medical waste water.

Nguyen Ba Viet, the system operator, said that hospital waste water was pumped into the reed roots through pipes. Each reed bed is connected to one pipe. After treatment, the water is pumped out to the environment. As much as 150 cubic metres of water is treated daily.

Viet said the bigger the reed roots beds were, the more water can be treated.

Nhan Ai hospital officials took a sample of the treated water and concluded that it met hygiene standards.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health invested in the model in 2012 with a total investment of 4 billion VND (178,000 USD). During the trial, the waterproof plastic panels and reeds were imported from Germany.

To cut costs, the hospital tested planting Vietnamese reeds. Although the roots did not develop as well as those from Germany, the results were the same.

The system is cheap to operate and maintain. It is as effective as Japanese filtration systems which cost 6 billion VND (267,000 USD), compared to only 4 billion VND or the reed system, according to Vo Van Dung, head of the hospital’s administration and management department.

The waterproof plastic panels can be used for up to 20 years and new reeds grow when the old ones die. The only expense of maintaining the system is operating the water pumps.

Nhan Ai hospital is home to more than 300 patients. Treating medical waste plays a key role in protecting the hospital’s environment and limiting negative impacts on the patients. It is expected to pave the way for the development of waste water treatment models at hospitals nationwide.-VNA