A new project installed in a technology demonstration facility at the Guelph Wastewater Treatment Plant will be used for wastewater research and demonstration of resource recovery technologies.

The Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC) in partnership with GE Water & Process Technologies, City of Guelph, University of Guelph, the province of Ontario, and the federal government of Canada hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the GE project, which has three primary process goals:

  • Generate clean water from wastewater for purposes of reuse;
  • Harvest biogas from the processing of biosolids; and
  • Collect pathogen-free fertilizer.

The pilot is the first large-scale project to receive funding under the SOWC’s Advancing Water Technologies (AWT) program, which supports collaborative, industry-led technology development projects. “This first large AWT project epitomizes what SOWC is all about,” said Brenda Lucas, executive director fo SOWC. “We are connecting the needs of industry with Ontario’s academic expertise and enabling real-world testing in unique facilities to help bring innovative technologies to market.”

The site GE project is installed at the Guelph Wastewater Pilot Facility, which was created by the University of Guelph in partnership with SOWC and the City of Guelph. It contains 5 testing stations for researchers and access of up to 0.16 million gallons per day (US) of effluent through 3 pipes.

  • Pipe 1 provides secondary or tertiary effluent;
  • Pipe 2 delivers raw sludge or waste activated sludge; and
  • Pipe 3 conveys raw wastewater or primary effluent.

Representing the partnerships were:

  • Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).
  • Liz Sandals, Member of Provincial Parliament for Guelph
  • Cam Guthrie, Mayor, City of Guelph
  • Glenn Vicevic, ‎Executive – Product Management, ‎GE Water & Process Technologies
  • John Livernois, Associate Vice-President, Research Services, University of Guelph
  • Brenda Lucas, Executive Director, SOWC
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MP Longfield said, “The project speaks to the shared role of governments, academia, and the private sector to strengthen our economy, while working to preserve our national resources. So, the environment and the economy go hand-in-hand on this project.” Longfield further described the facility as evidence of the successful investment of up to $12 million dollars in SOWC through FedDev’s Investing in Commercialization Partnerships.

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The kinds of research systems being operated at the new Guelph project will be effective in a cap and trade market, said Vicevic, executive of product management for GE Water & Process Technologies. And he pointed out that the energy content of wastewater is 2–4 times the amount of energy required to treat wastewater in conventional systems. This, he urged, is the reason to shift public perception from utilities as Wastewater Treatment Plants to Resource Recovery Facilities. Nonetheless, acknowledged Vicevic, there are perception problems around fertilizers reclaimed from wastewater sludge that have to be overcome before the market potential can be fully developed. One more advantage of the resource recovery model noted by Vicevic was the recovery of phosphorus, which is a resource facing future scarcity.

For more on the work of the Southern Ontario Water Consortium, visit their website through the link.

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