Articles & Case Studies

South West Water to use I-Phyc’s algae-based treatment to sustainably remove Phosphorous and micro-pollutants from sewage

Posted: Wednesday 28th October 2020

South West Water is installing Industrial Phycology (I-Phyc)’s algal technology to remove phosphorous (P) in the final effluent at Broadwindsor Sewage Treatment Works.

The scheme is part of South West Water’s drive to innovate and deliver P removal schemes for small rural communities, as I-Phyc is currently thought to be the only viable technology that is able to remove, not only Phosphorous, but also Ammonia and almost all harmful trace contaminants including pharmaceutical compounds, plasticisers, insecticides, metals, flame-retardants, biocides, persistent organic pollutants and steroids. I-Phyc is able to consistently remove between 50% and 99% of these pollutants and South West Water will be monitoring removal rates at Broadwindsor.

The unique and innovative technology, developed by I-Phyc, utilises a natural process using algae to biologically treat wastewater.

Algae are known for their ability to remove pollutants. Eutrophication, the process of algae growing naturally in watercourses, is caused by an excess of nutrients and particulates the algae can feed on. By harnessing the eutrophication process and deliberately applying it on the wastewater treatment site in a controlled way, pollutants are removed before final effluent is discharged to the watercourse, with much higher efficacy than alternative treatment solutions. It’s also significantly more environmentally friendly, requiring no potentially harmful chemical addition.

Russell Bright, CEO of Industrial Phycology, said: “We see this as a significant step forward in the use of algae to treat sewage in a natural and sustainable way that has many advantages over current technology.

“With over 900 WINEP schemes across the UK water companies requiring the removal of phosphorous to very low levels, the technology is a way of breaking away from the water industry’s reliance on chemical usage (typically ferric). This is positive news as chemicals carry with them potential safety and environmental risks, added to this is the increased demand and volatile price.

“Algal technology has no such drawbacks, it locks away carbon in the bodies of the algae, creates no sludge and produces a feed stock for sustainable products.”

Mark WorsfoldDirector of Asset Management at South West Water Limited said: “Like most water companies, South West Water is looking to innovate and deliver new treatment processes for P reduction as part of our investment programme, I am really excited about the I-Phyc technology and how this may deliver sustainable low cost solutions for smaller treatment catchments.”




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November 2020

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