Virotec Technology reduces phosphate levels below the Habitat Directive for Special Areas of Conservation
15 May 2012, News release from Virotec Europe Ltd
ViroFilter Technology incorporating ViroBlend reagent has been independently tested with the difficult, but ultimately successful, target of reaching the Habitat Directive for phosphorus (P) removal in special Areas of Conservation of 0.06mg/L.
The River Mease catchment area in Leicestershire is an area earmarked for significant development in order to re-establish the area. However, the river is home for two freshwater fish of international significance making this a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The river is failing its target soluble reactive P (SRP) concentration of 0.06mg/L under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Habitats Directive with UK Coal spot measurements showing up to 5mg/L for total reactive P. As a consequence developers in the area need to provide a plan that incorporates treatment of P to below the 0.06mg/L target given by Natural England (NE).
Independent work carried out by Bangor University at Severn Trent's Packington WWTP has shown the technology capable of treating the final effluent down to levels of 0.03mg/L easily passing the target level set by NE.
Speaking recently Managing Director for Virotec Europe, Stephen Young said
"The target level was very tight and we do not believe any other technology has met the Habitat target. However, Virotec was up for the challenge and has spent the past 12 months developing the ViroFilter pellet in order to improve on the performance of past trials. Although this is just the first steps it is significant and we are now preparing for further work to assess if there are any effects on the river following treatment by ViroFilter Technology."
The pellets have been re-designed after earlier tests showed a high pH level during the commissioning stage. In addition the pellets seemed to break down after 15 months due to the structure. Commenting on this Mr Young said "The other significant aspect was the longevity of the pellets which do not seem to break up in any way and are much more robust than their predecessors. This is due to the fact that the pellet is solid rather than porous. Our manufacturing process is much more controlled and we are still working on some small changes following the Packington trial.
We have learned a lot from this work and aim to implement changes at the next stage."
The Virotec Technology is used across the world for a range of environmental problems from water treatment to land remediation and mine tailings. The technology is completely inert being made up of various minerals. Virotec are confident that the long term effect on the river will not be compromised having used the technology elsewhere in prawn farms with only positive effects.
But what of the pellets once the media is spent you may ask.
Mr Young explains, " The pellets will become saturated in time but this becomes an asset rather than a problem. The phosphate enriched media can be mixed with soil as a soil enhancer. When the root nodule of a plant reaches the media an osmosis reaction occurs whereby the P is slowly released to the root, but not the soil. We believe this is an excellent sustainability story. When you also consider that the media has excellent de odourising qualities you begin to see the potential for water companies to use the product in their sludge management programme."
For further information please email Virotec Europe Ltd