News | October 25, 2017

Utah Treatment Plant Tackles Algae Blooms Using SCHOTT Glass

A project by SCHOTT partner CLEARAS Water Recovery will serve as the centerpiece for the 2017 Algae Biomass Summit. The project, a 4-million-gallon-per-day wastewater nutrient recovery solution using SCHOTT glass tubing, marks the first large-scale commercialization of photobioreactor technology for nutrient recovery. The South Davis Sewer District will use Clearas’ solution to reduce nutrients that contribute to algae blooms in waterways.

International technology group SCHOTT will highlight the superior properties of glass for use in photobioreactors at the 2017 Algae Biomass Summit in Salt Lake City, near the place where its partner Clearas Water Recovery is building a photobioreactor to removephosphates and nitrates from wastewater.

“CLEARAS’ Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery (ABNR) system has been through numerous successful pilot demonstrations. This project is the first commercialization of its technology, and is a landmark in the algae and wastewater treatment industries,” said Fritz Wintersteller at SCHOTT. “Current regulations and standards suggest more projects like this may come online in the future as facilities across the U.S. upgrade their infrastructure to comply with U.S. Clean Water Act requirements. We think our high quality glass tubing and CLEARAS’ ABNR technology establish a working model for addressing the economic and environmental challenges facing municipal wastewater treatment plants.”

Excess nitrates and phosphates feed algae in ponds and lakes, causing potentially harmful algae blooms like those that occurred in the Wasatch Front watershed in 2016. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Utah Division of Water Quality have placed nutrient removal from wastewater at the top of their agendas to help limit algae blooms in Utah and in other parts of the U.S.

Traditional wastewater treatment plants rely on chemical flocculation or deposition to remove phosphates and nitrates. In many cases these methods leave trace amounts. CLEARAS photobioreactors pump water that has already undergone initial treatment through SCHOTT DURAN glass tubes. Algae in the tubes feed on residual amounts of nitrates and phosphates before discharge into public waters. Using CLEARAS ABNR, phosphate levels typically fall below detectable limits, and nitrate levels will fall well below the 1 milligram per liter levels allowed by the Clean Water Act.

In addition to the benefit of cleaner discharges, the SDSD will also be able to sell the algae biomass for use in bioplastics. Traditional methods, such as chemical flocculation, would require plant operators to pay for removal.

“This project shows the true potential of nutrient recovery technology. What could have been a cost center for the sewer district can now be a source of revenue, while implementing a sustainable solution to a problem plaguing wastewater treatment plants across the country,” said Jordan Lind, CEO CLEARAS Water Recovery.

Though closed photobioreactors like those developed by CLEARAS can be made of either plastic or glass tubing, plastic systems tend to scratch during cleaning, and solarize over time. The scratches allow other microorganisms to gain a foothold in the photobioreactor, making it difficult for algae to grow. Solarized plastic becomes opaque over time, limiting the efficiency of photosynthesis required for algae to grow. Glass, however, is resistant to scratches, and does not solarize, meaning that it has a much longer lifespan than plastic.

Fritz Wintersteller, SCHOTT’s Director of Global Business Development for technical tubing, will sit on a panel discussing the commercialization of photobioreactor technology titled “Thinking Outside the Pond: Advancements in Photobioreactors,” on Oct. 31 from 1:30 until 3:00 p.m.
The 2017 Algae Biomass Summit will be held Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 at the Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah.

SCHOTT is a leading international technology group in the areas of specialty glass and glass-ceramics. The company has more than 130 years of outstanding development, materials and technology expertise and offers a broad portfolio of high-quality products and intelligent solutions. SCHOTT is an innovative enabler for many industries, including the home appliance, pharma, electronics, optics, life sciences, automotive and aviation industries. SCHOTT strives to play an important part of everyone’s life and is committed to innovation and sustainable success. The group maintains a global presence with production sites and sales offices in 34 countries. With its workforce of approximately 15,000 employees, sales of $2.21 billion were generated in fiscal year 2015/2016.

About CLEARAS Water Recovery
CLEARAS Water Recovery was founded in 2008 to advance the concept of waste recovery to value. Our patented ABNR wastewater solution is an advanced, non-chemical treatment that recovers phosphorus and nitrogen while reducing other harmful contaminants.

As a modular and bolt-on system, this technology scales to any available footprint and integrates seamlessly into existing wastewater treatment infrastructure to prevent system downtime and flow disruption, while maintaining the flexibility to meet a variety of effluent discharge requirements. The ABNR system achieves best in class tertiary water quality, recovering both phosphorus and nitrogen to near non-detect levels.

About South Davis Sewer District
In 1959, the South Davis Sewer District was organized by Davis County as an independent special district to provide wastewater services to south Davis County; consisting of Bountiful, Centerville, North Salt Lake, West Bountiful, Woods Cross, and the unincorporated areas south of Lund Lane. A seven-member Board of Trustees governs the District.

The District currently serves a total population of approximately 95,000 with two treatment plants: The North Plant is located at 1800 West 1200 North in West Bountiful, and the South Plant located at 1380 West Center Street in North Salt Lake. The North Plant can treat up to 12 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater and the South Plant can treat up to 4 million gallons per day. In addition to the treatment plants, the District owns and operates the collection system made up of 370 miles of sewer lines, 8,565 manholes and 10 lift stations.

Source: SCHOTT North America, Inc.