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An Economical and Enviromental Solution to Phosphorus Removal

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Phosphorus is the limiting nutrient in aquatic systems creating eutrophication in watersheds. One pound of phosphorus reportedly results in 100 pounds of algae. The federal and regional environmental authorities have been increasing phosphorus regulations and lowering discharge limits to combat eutrophication. Non-point source discharges (surface run-off), often the major source of phosphorus discharge, are being regulated by nutrient management plans restricting the time and quantity of phosphorus applied to the land. Point (i.e. municipal and industrial discharge) sources are being regulated by lower discharge concentrations (1 mg/L or less). Phosphorus removal from wastewater typically involves enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR), chemical precipitation, or combinations of both to consistently achieve the low phosphorus concentrations. The limitation to these conventional phosphorus removal processes from the wastewater is the phosphorus ends up in the sludge. Subsequently the phosphorus is reintroduced into the watershed from the land-spread application of the sludge and potential surface run-off (non-point source discharge).

The pellet reactor mineral extraction process extracts the phosphorus from the wastewater as a self-dewatering pellet. The pellets are up to 90% pure phosphorus compound that is recycled back to industry as a renewable by-product, thus breaking the cycle and removing the phosphorus. The pellet reactor is a fluidized-bed reactor technology that is highly efficient at target compound (mineral) extraction. The technology has been proven in water softening and phosphorus removal in industrial and municipal applications. The pellet reactor phosphorus removal can be used alone or in conjunction with existing phosphorus removal processes to reduce sludge disposal, chemical usage, and operational costs while improving the environment by removing the excess phosphorus from the watershed. This paper presents pellet reactor mineral extraction process as an environmental and economical solution to phosphorus management to reliably meet low discharge limits and prevent eutrophication.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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