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CP471  A move toward zero waste - recycling options for water treatment work residues Water Treatment Waste
Project Appreciation and Objectives

The UK Environment Agency Water Sector Plans require the water industry to 'minimise the production of, and manage wastes from operational activities in line with evolving best practice'. A significant quantity of waste generated during drinking water production is landfilled. This represents a substantial cost to the business, that is additional to the cost of treatment chemicals, and which involves the discard of a potentially valuable resource. Recycling of these residues would improve operational sustainability and reduce costs, but this will require effective sustainable alternative outlets to be identified.

This project will build on previous work and will develop robust information on the technical and economic feasibility of resource recovery. It will:

  • produce a national characterisation data set of the key properties of different types of residues;
  • identify recycling options which offer the greatest potential for single, 'blended' or amended waste streams and pursue further research into the most favourable options;
  • determine the viability and security of identified recycling options.

Benefits to Clients

  • Increased level of operational and environmental sustainability through adoption of recycling opportunities that avoid increases or reduce OPEX costs.
  • Access to local, cost effective solutions for recycling of WTW residues so that they become a business opportunity rather than a cost.

Work Programme

  1. Collate and define key characteristics to produce a national dataset and residue fingerprint, identifying the impacts of process and other contributory factors on residue variability, and match residue characteristics with recycling opportunities.
  2. Determine the operational and financial implications of recent and planned changes in UK regulations on UK water utilities re-use and disposal of water treatment sludge.
  3. Undertake an options appraisal using a step-wise screening approach to produce an overview of WTW residue recycling options currently in use within and outside the UK.
  4. Complete a detailed evaluation of prioritised options, including capital and operating costs and economic viability.
  5. Report and provide recommendation on viable recycling solutions.

Project Outputs

  • Excel dataset for WTW residue characterisation and evaluation matrix for the UK with consolidated data and evidence report.
  • Report detailing viable recycling options, with economic assessment and identification of best available options for exploitation with recommendations for trials to gather evidence for low risk option uptake.

Related Work

  • Consultancy support to the water industry on water treatment and waste recycling for over 25 years.
  • A Review of options for the treatment and disposal of water company waste residues (Thames Water Landfill Tax Committee).
  • Characterisation of water treatment works residues (UK water company).
  • Novel methods for the treatment and disposal of waterworks sludge (various UK water companies).
  • The future of industry waste streams (UKWIR).
  • Economic assessment of management options for wastewater treatment wastes (UKWIR).

WRc's Portfolio Programme
Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

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