EPCOR, a utility company, in partnership with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, has officially unveiled a nutrient recovery facility in Edmonton that is the largest operation of its kind in Canada.
Located at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre, the facility features Ostara’s Pearl nutrient recovery process to protect the health of the North Saskatchewan River by recovering phosphorus and other nutrients from some three million litres of wastewater per day.
The extracted phosphorus is recovered in a fluidized bed reactor and transformed to make about one tonne of root-activated fertilizer pellets, which are sold to farmers of broadacre crops primarily in Alberta, Manitoba and PEI.
Overall, the process “provides a leading example of full-circle sustainability,” said EPCOR, which strives to keep the phosphorus and ammonia from causing too significant of an increase in plant and algae growth and consuming available dissolved oxygen that is essential for fish and other aquatic life.
“Protecting our waterways is key to a sustainable future for all of us. This facility applies innovation to promote water stewardship and we’re proud to showcase this technology and our commitment,” said EPCOR President and CEO Stuart Lee in a statement to media.
In addition to protecting the river from excess phosphorus, EPCOR said recovering nutrients can protect equipment from struvite – a buildup of scale in pipes and equipment that can cause wastewater plant machinery to run inefficiently.
Ostara’s technology was developed at the University of British Columbia. Its demonstration system was established with the City of Edmonton in 2007 at Clover Bar. The demonstration project successfully proved commercial viability and Ostara nutrient recovery facilities have since been built in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
EPCOR said future discharges can be stabilized even with expected population growth in Edmonton. The company provides water, wastewater and distribution services to more than one million people in more than 85 Western Canadian communities and industrial sites.