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Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. announced the company has been chosen by Gwinnett County’s Department of Water Resources to install a new nutrient recovery facility at their F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center (WRC). The company was selected through a Request for Proposal process in which Gwinnett County sought to find a technology provider to solve their nutrient recycle and struvite scaling challenges at F. Wayne Hill WRC.
Ostara’s Pearl process will help Gwinnett County tackle these challenges at F. Wayne Hill WRC, by increasing operational efficiency and improving the economics of the facility. Ostara’s technology recovers magnesium, phosphorus and ammonia from used water streams and converts them into an environmentally friendly, slow-release fertilizer marketed and sold as Crystal Green.
“Ostara’s Pearl nutrient recovery process will provide Gwinnett County with an environmentally sustainable and cost-effective solution to transform valuable nutrients from an operational challenge into a high-purity commercial fertilizer product,” says Steve Wirtel, P.E., senior vice president, nutrient recovery for Ostara.
Gwinnett County’s F. Wayne Hill WRC currently meets stringent phosphorus limits using enhanced biological nutrient removal, but is experiencing challenges due to of the formation of struvite scale, a concrete-like mineral deposit which chokes process equipment, increases operation and maintenance costs and threatens plant reliability.
This is a common challenge in facilities such as F. Wayne Hill practicing biological nutrient removal and anaerobic digestion, which uses microbes to remove phosphorus and nitrogen pollutants from used water streams. The breakdown of these microbes in the digestion process causes phosphorus and nitrogen to be released back into the water, which is returned to the treatment plant, requiring the pollutants to be removed repeatedly. F. Wayne Hill WRC also treats biosolids from the Yellow River Water Reclamation Facility, further increasing the phosphorus recycle load within the facility.
“We are very impressed with Ostara’s technological solution. Not only will it solve our operational challenges with a solution that is cost-effective, and that ultimately saves money for Gwinnett County ratepayers, but it will also benefit Gwinnett County by transforming over-abundant nutrients into a fertilizer that can generate revenue. We look forward to working with Ostara on this unique public/private partnership,” says Adam Minchey, P.E., LEED AP, special projects manager, Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources.
“Essentially, once implemented, the Ostara system closes the phosphorus loop, as valuable nutrients are recovered, and returned into the agronomic cycle through application by local growers,” says Wirtel.
Gwinnett County’s F. Wayne Hill WRC has a further challenge: the county adds magnesium hydroxide to its collection system to control odors and corrosion. This practice increases the magnesium entering the F. Wayne Hill WRC. With all three struvite elements present, the potential for troublesome mineral deposits increases.
F. Wayne Hill WRC will also implement Ostara’s WASSTRIP process, which is designed to extract more phosphorus from the waste sludge before it reaches the digesters. This not only reduces struvite formation in the centrifuges, digested biosolids pipelines and anaerobic digesters but also increases the amount of nutrients recovered by more than 60%, which will result in the production of more revenue-generating Crystal Green fertilizer. F. Wayne Hill will be the fourth facility in North America to install WASSTRIP.