Process Recycles Nutrients from Wastewater

The City of Edmonton’s Gold Bar wastewater treatment plant has met a milestone by successfully operating for over six months as the world’s first industrial-size nutrient treatment facility ...

Feb 1st, 2008

The City of Edmonton’s Gold Bar wastewater treatment plant has met a milestone by successfully operating for over six months as the world’s first industrial-size nutrient treatment facility to remove phosphorus and other nutrients from municipal biosolids and recycle them into environmentally safe commercial fertilizer.

The technology, developed by Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. of Vancouver, will help Gold Bar achieve its nutrient removal goals, increase plant capacity and reduce maintenance costs, while also creating a revenue-producing product in the form of a high value fertilizer.

The process treats the nutrient rich liquid that results when biosolids are dewatered. A reactor processes the biosolids liquids to recover phosphorus and other nutrients — and then converts them into a fertilizer that can generate revenue for the municipality.

The fertilizer by-product from the Ostara process, named Crystal Green™, has a unique and commercially desirable formulation of nitrogen, phosphorus and magnesium.

“Since the Ostara reactor was commissioned last spring, it has extracted more than 80 percent of the phosphorus on average — achieving the design objective of 75 percent — and 10 to 15 percent of the ammonia from a flow of 500,000 liters per day, approximately 20 percent of the Gold Bar plant’s liquid biosolids stream,” said Vince Corkery, Director of Wastewater Treatment at the City of Edmonton’s Gold Bar treatment facility.

“We have worked closely with Ostara over the past two years toward building this first-of-its-kind commercial scale nutrient recovery facility and we are very pleased with the operating results,” said Corkery.

Phillip Abrary, President and CEO of Ostara, said “the Edmonton plant is Ostara’s first commercial-size reactor, however several other commercial facilities are already in planning and design stages after successful field trials in 2007 by municipalities, ethanol biofuel plants and food processing plants in the United States and Canada. As many as 400 municipalities and industrial plants in North America and 500 in Europe are potential customers for the Ostara process.”

Unlike most fertilizers, Crystal Green™ dissolves slowly over a nine-month period and therefore is environmentally safe because it does not leach into the water table. The fertilizer is an ideal product for turf markets, container nurseries, specialty agriculture and other markets that value slow release fertilizers.

The Ostara reactor at Gold Bar produces approximately 500 kg of fertilizer per day. The product is sorted, dried and bagged on site and is immediately ready for commercial sale. No further processing is required, although for some applications, fertilizer distributors may wish to blend the material with other fertilizer components to match the agronomic needs of the crop.

As part of the commercial marketing campaign, 50-pound and one ton samples of Gold Bar’s production of Crystal Green™ are being sent to large fertilizer distributors that will conduct nursery trials in the spring of 2008. Commercial sales are expected to commence later in 2008.

Located in the North Saskatchewan River Valley, the Gold Bar wastewater treatment plant handles wastewater requirements for over 700,000 people in the greater Edmonton area. The Gold Bar site is also home to the Edmonton Waste Management Centre of Excellence, a research facility specializing in technology demonstration, research facilitation, and Operator training for the solid waste and wastewater industries.

More information is available at www.ostara.com.

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