News Feature | August 13, 2015

New Phosphorus Removal Tech Put To The Test In Ohio

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,


A city in Ohio is experimenting with phosphorus-removal technology that could potentially help reduce the spread of algae on Lake Erie.

Perrysburg, a city near Toledo, has partnered with Clearas Water Technology for a 90-day demonstration of its product at the local wastewater treatment plant. The company manufactures a patented water-recovery technology, The Blade reported.

“The Clearas process removes phosphorus and other nutrients from already treated wastewater without adding chemicals,” thereport said. The Blade summed up how the technology works:

Clearas processes 15,000 gallons of water per day at the treatment plant, and uses the phosphorus separated from treated wastewater to feed the production of beneficial algae, which is then turned into a type of biomass that is valuable in the bioplastic market.

The process uses daytime sunlight to grow marketable algae and uses LED lighting at night to maintain ideal growing conditions.

Rick Johnson, the vice president of market development at Clearas, discussed the technology with 13abc. “We mimic what goes on in a stream,” he said.

Alice Godsey, public utilities director for the city, explained the intent of this project.

“We currently remove phosphorus with chemicals, and that produces a significant quantity of biosolids we have to dispose of,” she said, per The Blade. “We wanted to see how effective this process would be.”

Toxic algae led to an emergency tap water ban in Toledo, OH last year. Around 400,000 residents were unable to use their water for over two days due to contamination, CNN reported.

Cyanotoxins, which are produced by blue-green algae, are on the EPA's Candidate Contaminant 3 List, which enumerates harmful contaminants for potential regulatory action.

For similar stories, visit Water Online’s Nutrient Removal Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Ohio Algae," Ben Townsend © 2007, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic