News | September 12, 2018

EPCOR And Ostara Transforming Nutrients From Wastewater Into Environmentally Responsible Fertilizer

Canada’s largest nutrient recovery facility recovers phosphorus from wastewater to protect the North Saskatchewan River

EPCOR, in partnership with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, recently officially unveiled Canada’s largest wastewater nutrient recovery facility.

Located at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre, the facility features Ostara’s Pearl nutrient recovery process, which helps to protect the future of the North Saskatchewan River. By recovering phosphorus and other nutrients from the wastewater, future discharges can be stabilized even with expected population growth in Edmonton.

“EPCOR has been a leader in Canada’s road towards progressive water management,” said Ostara CEO Dan Parmar. “As EPCOR was instrumental in the original commercialization of Ostara’s technology with the first successful demonstration in Edmonton in 2007, we are excited to continue our partnership with the successful operation of Canada’s largest nutrient recovery facility.”

EPCOR President & CEO Stuart Lee believes the new facility provides an important and exemplary strategy in EPCOR’s effort to promote environmental sustainability. “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.”

Wastewater typically contains both phosphorus and ammonia, which are key nutrients in plant growth. An excess of these nutrients can cause a significant increase in plant and algae growth, consuming available dissolved oxygen essential for fish and other aquatic life, and upsetting precious ecosystems.

With the EPCOR / Ostara nutrient recovery facility, phosphorus is recovered in a fluidized bed reactor, and transformed into Ostara’s environmentally responsible continuous release Root-Activated fertilizer, called Crystal Green, which is sold to farmers of broadacre crops primarily in Alberta, Manitoba and PEI. Overall, the process provides a leading example of full-circle sustainability.

The process provides operational benefits to EPCOR as well. Recovering nutrients contributes to reducing struvite - a buildup of scale in pipes and equipment that can cause wastewater plant machinery to run inefficiently. Ostara’s Pearl process provides a cost-effective and environmentally friendly process to increase operational efficiency.

The Ostara technology was developed at the University of British Columbia, and the 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., Europe and are under construction in the Middle East. Today, the nutrient recovery facility at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre is the largest facility in Canada.

About EPCOR:
EPCOR, through its subsidiaries, builds, owns and operates electrical, natural gas and water transmission and distribution networks, water and wastewater treatment facilities, sanitary and stormwater systems, and infrastructure in Canada and the United States. The company also provides electricity, natural gas and water products and services to residential and commercial customers. EPCOR, headquartered in Edmonton, is an Alberta Top 70 employer. For more information, visit

About Ostara & Crystal Green:
Ostara helps protect precious water resources by changing the way cities around the world manage nutrients in wastewater streams. The company’s Pearl technology recovers phosphorus and nitrogen at municipal wastewater treatment plants and transforms them into a high-value, eco-friendly fertilizer, Crystal Green. The process greatly reduces nutrient management costs and helps plants meet increasingly stringent discharge limits while improving operating reliability. Crystal Green is the first continuous release granular fertilizer to provide Root-Activated phosphorus, nitrogen and magnesium (5-28-0-10Mg), and is marketed through a global network of blenders and distributors to growers in the turf, horticultural and agriculture sectors. Its unique Root-Activated mode of action improves crop yields, enhances turf performance and significantly reduces the risk of leaching and runoff, thus protecting local waterways from nutrient pollution. Ostara operates multiple facilities throughout North America and Europe.