Pioneering applications of membrane technology at IWA conference

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10 September 2013

Leading-edge applications of water-related membrane technologies made a big splash during the 7th International Water Association (IWA) Specialised Membrane Technology Conference and Exhibition for Water and Wastewater Treatment and Reuse in Toronto. GHD, one of the world’s leading engineering, architecture and environment consulting companies, shared exciting developments in the advanced treatment of wastewater and water reuse including optimising membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems, increasing the success of osmosis reuse treatment plants, and minimising the environmental impact associated with wastewater treatment.

Presented by GHD’s advanced membrane treatment engineers, these innovations enriched the IWA’s program which covered a wide range of water related membrane technologies. GHD’s knowledge was included in both the Novel Processes and Applications and Practical and Operational Experience sessions at the conference.

A case study of the 76 ML/d Barrie Wastewater Treatment Facility (WwTF) was presented by Kristi Perri, a senior environmental engineer. The project proved particularly complex due to the strict effluent total phosphorus (TP) load limits set by local regulations to protect Lake Simcoe, into which the Barrie WwTF discharges. Kristi’s presentation considered various applications of membrane technology to overcome this challenge, evaluating technical performance, constructability, and operational, environmental, and economic impacts. Her case study was particularly valuable for representatives of communities facing permit limits that push the limits of technology, as well as  engineers and membrane filtration system experts seeking to optimise processes for ultra-low phosphorus removal.

Thor Young, GHD’s leader in wastewater treatment and reuse in North America, highlighted the importance of the selection of milestones, durations, and sequencing for each phase of testing and optimization on MBR systems. Thor’s case studies made clear the need for a project-specific start up plan to address variations in startup conditions, as well as testing and seeding plans, which can assist in optimising MBR systems and be applied to future enhanced nutrient removal projects.

GHD’s pre-treatment experience with six micro- or ultra-filtration/reverse osmosis reuse treatment plants in South East Queensland, Australia was presented by David Solley. The comparison of two different pre-treatment approaches adopted ahead of the membrane processes were explored, with findings on meeting varying objectives, cost implications and rates of success. The conclusions drawn from GHD’s experience at these treatment plants focused on needs for high recovery, the high costs and risks of pre-treatment, as well as meeting phosphorous objectives.

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