Saskatoon's Wastewater Facility to Produce Commercially-Available Fertilizer

The City of Saskatoon celebrated with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. yesterday with the grand opening of the nutrient recovery facility at the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The system, which cost $4.7 million to install, is projected to produce per year 730 metric tons of 5-28-0 +10%Mg, slow-release fertilizer. Not only will this fertilizer eventually turn in a profit, it will also help the plant minimize operation and maintenance costs by separating out minerals essential to the creation of struvite.

Struvite (or magnesium ammonium phosphate hexa-hydrate) can prove very costly in wastewater treatment plants, particularly in the winter. With a solid, crystal structure, struvite forms cement-like deposits, particularly on rough surfaces and in areas of high flow turbulence, like pumps and valves. As you can imagine, the clogged arteries of the plant are inefficient and cleaning equipment can be difficult and costly, not to mention this build up often necessitates chemical intervention.

In Saskatoon, sludge must first travel from the treatment plant to the bio-solid facility. How? A whopping 12 km of pipes! And every day, those pipes see roughly 85 million litres of wastewater treated. So, the potential for struvite build-up is very high.

With the new system, 75% of the phosphorous and 10% of the nitrogen is recovered before it accumulates in the equipment, minimizing the risk of struvite issues and ultimately providing a commercially available fertilizer.

“Our priority is to protect the people, property and environment of the community we serve,” said Jeff Jorgenson, utility services general manager for the city. “This system makes our world-class facility even stronger, helping to fulfill our mandate as frontline stewards of our regions watershed by removing otherwise polluting elements and transforming them into renewable and valuable resources.”

The installation of this system is the first of its kind in Canada. The resulting fertilizer will be sold through Crystal Green distributors.

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