Fertiliser from sewage in UK first

Environmentally friendly fertiliser is to be made in a new process by taking phosphorus and ammonia out of waste water.

Thames Water is to introduce the idea at its waste water plant in Slough after a similar scheme in North America was successful.

A pilot scheme has been running at the Slough plant since March 2010 to demonstrate the technology’s potential and today (September 29) it was announced it would go into full production.

The water firm will team up with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies to produce the fertiliser, called Crystal Green.

Phosphorus is a key ingredient in fertilisers and Thames Water claims it will be the first company in the UK to extract this nutrient from wastewater.

Thames Water’s asset management director, Piers Clark, explained mining phosphorus from a sustainable resource is an ‘important and timely environmental initiative’ given that phosphorus reserves in North America, Russia, China and Morocco are dwindling.

Piers Clark, Asset Management Director for Thames Water; Ostara President, Phillip Abrary; and, Ostara board member, environmental advocate and attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were at Slough Sewage Works today to commemorate the partnership.

He said: “This project is a classic win-win. “We are transforming the problem of excess nutrients into a valuable product, reducing our maintenance costs and helping the environment by producing a fertiliser that will not leach and damage local ecosystems.

“The exciting thing is that this product is derived from a renewable source of phosphate, and will be marketed and sold to growers, horticulturists and the turf industry in the UK.

“We constantly recycle our product – water – back to the environment from which we first borrow it and this is another way we are making use of local renewable options.”

Luke Walsh

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