Nitrate, phosphorous and ammonia are all nutrients that can be present in water. High nutrient levels can stimulate algal growth, causing eutrophication of surface water, which is a major environmental issue. In this process, algal blooms cause a reduction in oxygen content of the water which can harm aquatic species and be toxic. Excess nitrate in drinking water can decrease the ability of blood to carry oxygen and can be fatal to infants, along with a range of side effects from direct exposure to toxic algae. Disinfectants used to treat drinking water can also form dioxins when they come in contact with toxic algae, which can cause serious health problems when ingested.
Nutrients can find their way into water in a variety of ways. Fertilizer runoff from the agricultural industry is a major source, with high nitrogen and phosphorous contents running into lakes and rivers during heavy rain. Concentrated animal feeding operations and burning of fossil fuels can both produce large amounts of nutrients, along with municipal sewage treatment plants, power plants, and wastewater discharges from other industries.
Strict nutrient limits exist in most places of the world for water to be used for drinking or irrigation. Nutrient discharge limits usually exist for sewage treatment plants, agricultural operations, mining operations and industrial processes.
Membrane bioreactors (MBR) are commonly used to remove nutrients from water. This process consists of a combination of a membrane process (such as micro-filtration or ultra-filtration) with a biological wastewater treatment process such as activated sludge. The membrane portion removes some of the liquid component, reducing the volume of water requiring treatment by the activated sludge. A major drawback of using membranes is the fouling which occurs, decreasing efficiency of the process. The activated sludge contains micro-organisms which break down biological content, accelerating processes that occur naturally in the water.
Clean TeQ Water’s CIF® (continuous ionic filtration) technology can directly treat water and remove Nitrogen and Phosphate to meet the most stringent discharge standards (e.g. total nitrogen (TN) <5 ppm).
Our BIOCLENS™ (encapsulated bacteria lenses) allows nutrient containing water to diffuse into the lens, which acts as a bio-catalyst for the nutrient breakdown process. The lenses protect the bacteria, allowing them to used in toxic environments. Lenses can perform both nitrification and denitrification processes in separate steps.
Our BIONEX™ (Bio + Ion Exchange) system uses ion exchange to remove nutrients from the water, which are then treated by our BIOCLENS™ technology to treat the nutrients. This allows the brine from the ion exchange process to be reused.
All of these technologies provide excellent resistance to fouling and scaling, in a robust process that usually doesn’t require pre-treatment. High recoveries and low waste are also key advantages for our technologies, and custom solutions are available to meet your nutrient removal requirements.
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