The International Water Association (IWA) is hosting its 2015 Nutrient Removal and Recovery conference in Gdańsk, Poland, from May 18-21. Per Henrik Nielsen from VandCenter Syd Denmark guest blogs about a research program implemented at his utility to improve sludge granulation.

By: Per Henrik Nielsen, VandCenter Syd (VCS) Denmark, responsible for Strategic Positioning

Per Henrik will present a poster, “Assessing BNR Process Improvements From Inducing Biomass Granulation Using Hydrocyclones,” co-authored by CH2M’s Julian Sandino, Dwight Houweling, Adrienne Willoughby and Tim Constantine, and VCS Denmark’s Nerea Uri and Lise Havsteen, on Monday, May 18, from 3-4:30 p.m., as part of the International Water Association’s Nutrient Removal and Recovery 2015 conference, being held in Gdańsk, Poland.

Next week, the International Water Association is hosting its Nutrient Removal and Recovery (NRR) Specialist Conference, in Gdańsk, Poland—a historical city located on the shores of the Baltic Sea. This is an ideal place to hold the conference, as the city has a long wastewater treatment tradition dating back to the 1800s and is currently battling eutrophication, a serious environmental threat that happens as chemical nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, enter the Baltic Sea.

I am looking forward to attending this year’s conference, which continues the series of the past NRR conferences, last held in 2005 and 2009. The theme, moving innovations into practice in the area of nutrient removal and recovery from wastewater, focuses on the importance of sharing best practices with the industry on how to shift our paradigm of looking at wastewater as waste and instead focusing on the opportunities to reuse or recover valuable resources.

On Monday, I will be sharing a cool case study from VCS Denmark during the poster session—if you’re attending the conference, I hope you will join me to learn how we came together with an alliance of utilities in Europe and North America to explore strategies for achieving superior settling properties and effluent quality by inducing mixed liquor organisms to granulate. This is a hot topic in the wastewater industry, as sludge granulation is a leading edge technology and impacts two of the most important goals in our industry: process intensification to achieve more capacity from existing infrastructure and reduction in energy requirements as a means for wastewater treatment plants to become net energy positive.

Inspired by advances made to date in achieving aerobic sludge granulation, as well as advances in the use of selectors for improving sludge settling properties, VCS Denmark launched a research program, with the assistance of CH2M, to monitor and evaluate the benefits of implementing hydrocyclones on the waste activated sludge (WAS) stream of our biological nutrient removal process, in addition to identifying other process modifications that could further improve settling properties and select for anammox organisms.

Some of the activities of this program include:

  • Characterizing wastewater
  • Calibrating of a secondary treatment process model
  • Testing growth rates for ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB), nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) and anammox bacteria in mixed liquor
  • Genetic testing for quantification of AOBs, NOBs and anammox organisms in mixed liquor
  • Tracking particle size in mixed liquor
  • Comparing diluted Sludge Volume Index (SVI)

If you are not able to attend this year’s conference, I invite you to follow CH2M’s Access Water blog throughout the week for updates on other initiatives that VCS Denmark is working on with the assistance of CH2M, to lead the industry in terms of implementing advanced wastewater treatment practices for nutrient removal and recovery. Follow the #NRR2015 and #NutrientRemoval hashtag on Twitter for live updates from Poland as well.

PerHenrik_NielsenPer Henrik Nielsen is responsible for Strategic Positioning at VCS Denmark, and in this role, Mr. Nielsen is focused on developing opportunities to optimize VCS Denmark’s infrastructure and wastewater treatment plants and has played a critical role in turning VCS Denmark’s major treatment facilities into energy producing systems. Mr. Nielsen brings more than 25 years of experience, leading and participating in a large number of sanitary infrastructure projects and general environmental projects. Additionally, Mr. Nielsen has been involved in a number of research and development projects, both in Denmark and internationally.