Wastewater treatment involves more than just producing an effluent that is protective of human health and the environment. Increasingly, municipalities and others concerned with wastewater treatment are recognizing the potential that exists for extracting and reusing elements such as phosphorus, energy and water, from wastewater, transitioning from traditional wastewater treatment models to water resource recovery centers. This case study looks at the role of conveyors in phosphorus recovery from wastewater.
Why Wastewater Phosphorus Recovery is Important
Phosphorus is essential to all life and an important element for human nutrition. It plays multiple roles as a building block in the human body, and as a fertilizer, is an essential nutrient for healthy crop growth. Without phosphorus, the basic cells of plants and animals, and life itself, would not exist.
Traditionally, the global phosphorus supply is mined from a finite source of phosphate-containing minerals. As the world’s population grows, the demand for phosphorus continues to rise; however, as a limited and non-renewable resource, once consumed, phosphorus is difficult to reclaim.
Phosphorus enters the human body as food, and is discharged back into the environment through wastewater. In addition to the phosphorus discharged annually by human waste, surface water can carry large amounts of phosphorus-laden runoff from fertilizer used on gardens, fields and lawns. Unless the phosphorus is recovered from wastewater during treatment, the net result is that phosphorus- rich effluent is discharged back into the environment.
Unfortunately, effluent containing excess phosphorus can be harmful to the environment. Phosphorus discharged in lakes and streams can cause toxic algae blooms, disrupting the ecosystem and threatening water supply. In addition, phosphorus that is discharged in effluent is lost, contributing to the global depletion of this valuable resource. Due to these factors, regulators and wastewater treatment facilities are now moving aggressively to implement limits and methods for removing, recovering and reusing phosphorus that would normally be discharged in effluent.
Want to learn more? Read the full case study here.