June 2016

Spreading fertiliser, (c) Shutterstock / oticki
Spreading fertiliser, (c) Shutterstock / oticki

This issue's cover story introduces articles on one of the most important aspects for the water sector of efforts to create a circular economy: the recovery of phosphates from sewage for recycling in fertilisers. We interview Chris Thornton of the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform about policy progress, look at the state-of-the-art plant commissioned at Amersfoort in the Netherlands, hear about some of the research needs in this area, and speak with Peter Brewer of ACWA Services about opportunities in the UK market.

We also build on our recent coverage in the developing area of micropollutants with details of investigations into treatment options in Sweden, where the country is preparing itself for action in this area. We hear about the multi-project funding of the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, and speak with Christian Baresel, lead researcher on one of the projects.

Other features look at the latest progress in the Danish city of Aarhus to set new limits in wastewater treatment plant energy self-sufficiency, gather views on progress with smart water networks, and we hear from Californian company Energy Recovery Inc. about how it has achieved success in the Chinese desalination technology market.


ISSN (Online): 2059-8068

ISSN (Print): 2059-805X

Issue 3 Volume 1

European prospects for phosphate recovery from sewage

Cover story

The future looks brighter for the recycling of phosphates following the recent publication by the European Commission of proposed changes to regulations on fertiliser certification, but use of sewage sludge remains controversial and has been excluded from those changes. Keith Hayward spoke with Chris Thornton of the European Phosphates Platform about the proposals and the prospects for products based on struvite sourced from sewage sludge.

Phosphate recovery from municipal sewage – researching beyond struvite

Resource recovery

There is growing interest in recovering phosphate from municipal sewage for use in fertilisers, mostly focused on recovering the phosphate in a form known as struvite. Keith Hayward spoke with expert Leon Korving about some of the research gaps that need to be filled in order to make the most of this opportunity to contribute to a move towards a circular economy.

ACWA Services prepares for UK wastewater phosphate recovery

Resource recovery

As the new full scale installation of the Ostara Pearl wastewater phosphate recovery comes on line in the Netherlands, water and wastewater treatment solution provider ACWA Services has positioned itself in the UK as the licensee for the technology. Keith Hayward spoke with Peter Brewer, the company’s general manager, about why it has made this move and the opportunities ahead for the technology.

Aarhus prepares to push the energy from wastewater limit


The water company of the Danish city of Aarhus has set itself the ambitious target of transforming one of its wastewater treatment plants so that it will produce 50% more electricity than it requires for day-to-day operation, a move that is attracting attention from around the world. Keith Hayward spoke with Per Overgaard Pedersen about what is a ‘live test’ project, whose full outcome will only be known once commissioning begins later this year.

Pharmaceuticals in sewage – the search for a Swedish solution


The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management is funding six projects to identify options for treating sewage to help reduce the release of pharmaceutical residues to the environment. Keith Hayward spoke with Margareta Lundin Unger about the programme and the plan to provide input to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s work to report to government on the issue next year.

Pharmaceuticals in Sweden’s sewage: a flexible and risk-based strategy


Research in Sweden on pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater includes a project aimed at providing operators with a framework for deciding what approach to take. Keith Hayward spoke with researcher Christian Baresel about the project as it nears completion and heard his views on aspects of a viable strategy for providing treatment to remove these pollutants.