Arena for testbeds in nutrient recovery from wastewater streams

Seven water and wastewater service organisations, together with two research institutes, have evaluated the conditions for opening up municipally owned wastewater treatment plants to test techniques for recovering nutrients from wastewater streams.

Sweden’s wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) faces major challenges in obtaining disposal for the 900,000 tonnes of nutrient-rich sludge produced each year. The Government´s investigation “Sustainable sludge management”, which was presented in 2020, proposes a requirement of at least 60% phosphorus recovery from sludge for all WWTPs in Sweden greater than 2,000 population equivalents and a possible ban on direct spreading of sewage sludge on arable land. The WWTPs will therefore probably need to change their current sludge management and implement new technologies.

The purpose of the project was to investigate the conditions for establishing an arena of physical testbeds for nutrient recovery from wastewater streams at seven different Swedish WWTPs.

The project was granted funding from the Sweden`s Innovation Agency (Vinnova) in the call Testbeds for society’s challenges – preparation projects (registration number: 2020-00652).

The implementation of the project can be divided into three parts. During the first part of the project, the conditions that existed for establishing physical testbeds at Swedish WWPs were established. Both general and specific conditions were studied. Subsequently, the focus was on developing an overall business model for an arena of testbeds at the seven water and wastewater service organisations participating. Finally, it was discussed how completed work can be taken further in an implementation project. It was decided to apply for funding for the establishment of a first joint test bed with one of the seven participating water and wastewater service organisations; at VA SYD’s facility Ellinge WWTP.

Testbed Ellinge has also been granted funding from the Sweden`s Innovation Agency and you can read about that project here: Testbed Ellinge

Partners in this project