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Monday, October 14, 2013

New technology turns water pollution into fertilizer

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

A representative of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Robert F. Kennedy Jr has said that a new technology planned for the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant will remove nutrient pollution from wastewater and convert it to pellets to be sold as fertilizer for crops and lawns, NaijaAgroNet reports.

Kennedy Jr made this assertion  at the Water Environment Federation’s 86th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference at McCormick Place and stressed that the technology  which was developed by Canadian-based Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technology, Inc.,  will be installed and operational in 2015 at an estimated cost of $30 million and a payback time of as little as three years.

NaijaAgroNet learnt from the late son of late Sen. Robert Kennedy and member of Ostara’s board of directors that “Crystal Green, Ostara’s fertilizer company will purchase the product at $400 per ton from the water reclamation district and use the advanced nutrient recovery technology not onlyreduces nutrient load but to protect precious area waterways that are part of Mississippi River basin, while producing approximately 10,000 to 15,000 tons of fertilizer annually.

 Ostara’s Chief Technology Officer and company co-founder, Ahren Britton explained that Crystal Green will bag the fertilizer and sell it to consumers ranging from farmers to gardeners to golf course managers, while the revenue would be used to offset the operation costs of the facility.

NaijaAgroNetrecorded from Britton that the wastewatercontaining phosphorous and nitrogen in the form of ammonia,enters Ostara's reactor where it mixes with magnesium, driving the chemical reaction that crystallizes the nutrients between five and 10 days which could remove up to 90 percent of phosphorous and 40 percent of the ammonia.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the major source of nutrient pollution which includes agriculture, wastewater and storm water causes algae blooms in lakes, rivers, killing off fish and other aquatic wildlife, devastating the ecosystem and also responsible for a dead zone larger than Connecticut in the Gulf of Mexico, where virtually nothing can live.

It was further revealed that the crystal form of the Crystal Green fertilizer is a case of one man’s waste is another man’s fertilizer as it helps to combat nutrient pollution, rather than quickly dissolving in water, breaks down slowly in response to acids produced by the plant as it grows which in turn reduces leaching into groundwater and runoff of excess nutrients, and that means fewer fertilizer applications are necessary.

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