First phase of research on England’s wastewater treatment processes completes

Water Sciences Institute of England's Cranfield University has completed phase one of a three-year research programme based on wastewater treatment processes.

The research is aimed at analysing several aspects of the UK company Warden Biomedia-produced plastic media used for wastewater treatment processes.v

The collaboration is researching on the development of biofilm processes that can be used to enhance efficiency, cost-effectiveness and sustainability process units such as moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBR), submerged aerated filters (SAFs), and trickling filters.v

The first phase uses tracer tests and oxygen transfer efficiency tests in order to evaluate the effect of the media with different shapes, geometries and surface area on mixing and aeration, respectively.v

"This will help us develop alternative design approaches for the next-generation of biofilm processes."

The results of the research have highlighted different efficiencies based on the characteristics of the media.

The first phase of the research project was conducted by a PhD student, Joana Manuel Silva under the guidance of professor Tom Stephenson and Dr Ana Soares.

Warden Biomedia managing director Mark Barrett said: "It's early days, but this will help us develop alternative design approaches for the next-generation of biofilm processes.

"Energy in wastewater treatment can be up to 50%-60% of the operational costs, so investigating the impact of different media on aeration is very important, enabling us to help our clients to estimate and potentially decrease energy consumption."

The second phase of the project will focus on the use of real municipal wastewater in order to investigate the effcet of the different media on the performance, effluent quality, process start-up and specific microbial communities development in the pilot plant.

Warden Biomedia conducts research and development of random filter media for aeration and biological treatment plants.