REFLET (English)

Research and development platform on treatment wetlands for wastewater and sludge – REFLET

Contact : Pascal Molle – Research Director –pascal.molle(at) REVERSAAL Research unit – Irstea Lyon


■REFLET research and development platform, located in Lyon (France), offers engineering consulting firms, constructors and contracting authorities specific tools for developing and validating treatment wetlands systems for the treatment of wastewater, sludge and stormwater (real effluents).

■Operated by a specialized research team, this platform allows to carry out original and innovative works where the fine understanding of the processes serves operational objectives using experimental facilities at different scales (laboratories, pilots, semi-industrial prototype, or real size).


The platform, located at different geographical sites of Lyon metropolis, proposes different scales of studies:

■Physical and hydrodynamic characterization of porous media  (photo 1)

■Solid respirometry bench for measuring biological kinetics (photo 2)

■4 Laboratory columns (0.1 m²) for the fine study of mechanisms under controlled conditions (Feyssine experimental Hall)(photo 3)

■4 pilots of 2 m² for the study of processes in real conditions (Feyssine experimental Hall) (photo 4)

■9 semi-industrial prototypes (20 m²) for studying systems in real conditions (Craponne)(Photo 5)

Validation in real size and real conditions is also proposed, with dedicated monitoring. We The RESERVAAL research unit has a long experience in continuously monitoring chemical parameters (COD, TSS, NH4, NO3, oxygen, redox potential, etc.) as well as physical parameters (flow rate, water content, capillary pressure, etc.) on full-scale treatment wetlands.

The metrology developed has taken three innovative directions:

  1. the continuous measurement (specific ion probes, in-situ spectrophotometry, flow recorders, …),
  2. the introduction of sensors inside the filter beds (redox potential, water content, oxygen concentration, etc.),
  3. targeted measures for specific processes.


The platform relies on the LAMA laboratory for the analysis of classical physicochemical parameters as well as organic metals and micropollutants, and the EMA laboratory for microbial community measurements (PCR-DGGE, PCR-RISA, qPCR).



The work carried out on the REFLET platform allows:

  • to study treatment wetlands systems to develop, validate and optimize treatment systems,
  • the use of mechanistic models (hydrus / CW2D, BIO PORE, COMSOL) or the development of specific design or operation support models,
  • the storage of performance data from different treatment plants on Irstea’s « plant defi » database