DuPont OxyMem MABR poised for installation at Elmira WWTP, Canada

Later this year, several DuPont OxyMem membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) modules will be installed at the Elmira Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to increase biological treatment capacity, thus becoming the largest deployment of OxyMem MABR in Canada. The project is being implemented by DuPont with facilitation by local water and wastewater equipment specialist Aquafy Water Technologies, engineering consultancy Jacobs and construction contractor H2Ontario.

Located in Waterloo, the Elmira WWTP is a class three WWTP, constructed in 1967 with process upgrades in 1983 and 2000. The activated sludge plant uses tertiary filtration to treat wastewater from the town of Elmira, providing an average daily capacity of 7,800m3/d and a daily peak flow capacity of 19,500m3/d. Local industrial activity is one reason the plant approaches maximum capacity at times.

“This will be the second full-scale operational MABR deployment in Waterloo,” said Max Rao, president of Aquafy Water Technologies. “It represents a vote of confidence in the MABR technology, with the solution poised to deliver process intensification at the Elmira WWTP. The OxyMem MABR units will help expand current treatment capacity without requiring additional footprint, and will consume little energy when compared to traditional upgrade solutions.”

MABR technology was selected for the project due to space limitations on-site

Site personnel verified actual process intensification without construction and without expanding operations. The drop-in modular nature of the OxyMem MABR is the solution that gives the region the ability to expand capacity in the future if and when desired.

For most plants, the drop-in MABR modules can be installed into existing tanks, without the need for overpumping, draining of tanks or pausing the treatment process.  The modules at the Elmira WWTP will be slid into a receiving steel framework over a few days and connected to small process blowers.

OxyMem MABR modules contain membranes that carry a flow of air as a source of oxygen at low pressure. This oxygen diffuses across the gas permeable membrane wall, on a molecular level, and is readily utilised by an attached biofilm to reduce ammonia. This means of treating wastewater biologically consumes a small fraction of the energy required by alternate attached-growth systems often considered for plant upgrades, while simultaneously providing year-round performance and lower process emissions.

Waterloo in southwestern Ontario, Canada, has a population in excess of 630,000 people and is one of the fastest-growing areas in the province. It has been an advocate for MABR in Canada, first trialling the technology at Elmira in 2018 in collaboration with Aquafy and OxyMem with performance results indicating a drop-in MABR solution could help reduce pollutants year-round. The system being deployed at the Elmira WWTP has been designed to target ammonia reduction.