Full Nitrogen Removal in less than Two Hours

Posted: Friday 28th September 2018

The Oro Loma Sanitary District in San Lorenzo, CA, has partnered with Microvi Biotech, Inc. and WesTech Engineering, Inc. to showcase a large-scale demonstration of the Microvi MNE™ solution for Oro Loma’s wastewater treatment plant.

The demonstration’s primary objective is to tackle increased nitrogen discharge limits that are expected to be implemented over the next decade in the San Francisco Bay Area. The district is using the demonstration to proactively evaluate cost-effective, innovative technologies to meet these projected effluent limits, possibly as low as <6 mg/L total nitrogen (TN).

Installed in April 2018, results from the demonstration show that the combined nitrification-denitrification process can achieve effluent levels consistently below 3 mg/L and even as low as 1 mg/L TN from influent ammonia (NH3) concentrations as high as 45 mg/L. These results occur with a retention time of under two hours, and little to no biosolids are produced. This result is unprecedented, compared to available technologies for nitrification. The next phase of the Oro Loma demonstration will focus on side-stream treatment of ammonia concentrations as high as 500 mg/L.

“Microvi’s technology is compelling because it allows us to meet potential future nitrogen limits while making the most of our existing treatment facilities at Oro Loma. In the Bay Area, treatment requirements are expected to tighten, and many plants have no room to expand. We need to find solutions to make existing facilities meet our future needs,” said Jason Warner, General Manager of Oro Loma. “We are excited to partner with Microvi and WesTech to implement innovative technologies to help improve the quality of the water in the San Francisco Bay.”

“Applying WesTech’s wastewater treatment expertise with Microvi’s technology is proving to be a breakthrough solution to Oro Loma’s upcoming wastewater regulations,” said Rex Plaizier, CEO of WesTech Engineering. “The project shows the clear and unprecedented advantages of using this unique biological treatment for this and similar applications.”

“Oro Loma has been a great partner for Microvi and WesTech as we continue to showcase the power of our MicroNiche Engineering (MNE) technology,” said Dr. Fatemeh Shirazi, CEO and CTO of Microvi. “These results demonstrate a step change toward the future of wastewater treatment globally.”

Microvi MNE is the next generation biological process for water and wastewater treatment. The solution combines groundbreaking Microvi technology with proven WesTech process equipment for a cost-effective approach to biological treatment.

This demonstration is a single pass system that requires minimal operation time and maintenance, while eliminating the need for biosolids treatment and disposal. Customized integrations of the process for various applications have provided consistent BOD/COD removal, nitrification and denitrification. The process has a significantly smaller footprint, minimal biosolids production, reduced pumping requirements, and reduced energy costs. The solution is operator-friendly, stable, robust, and can be used in existing infrastructure.

The Microvi technology uses novel biocatalytic composites (biocatalysts) that intensify biological processes, while maintaining a controlled population of targeted microorganisms at a much higher density than existing technologies. Despite the complexity of the MNE biocatalysts themselves, the design and operation of the systems are simple. Microvi’s technologies have been implemented in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. for drinking water, municipal wastewater, and industrial applications.

WesTech has an alliance agreement to commercialize this breakthrough Microvi MNE solution for the water and wastewater industries.




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December 2018

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