Effluent and Bio-solids Conversions
Wastewater and bio-solids released into drains are usually directed to municipal waste treatment plants, where the water is treated before being discharged into waterways. However, the capacity of municipal waste treatment plants is being challenged by rapid growth, which is being controlled through use of expensive technologies. Such technologies remains out of reach for small rural regions. The need for innovative, low-cost and environmentally friendly alternatives for waste treatment is thus a priority.
In this project, the impact of wastewater effluent and bio-solids on soil, water and the growth of hybrid poplar trees is studied, and the economic potential of this wastewater treatment strategy for northern rural communities is being explored.
The Pollutants to Products Effluent and Bio-solids to Industrial Wood fibre project in collaboration with Alberta Rural Organic Waste to Resources Network (AROWRN) explores low-cost and environmental-friendly waste treatment strategy for rural region using trees and soils. Wastewater is diverted to provide water and nutrients for the production of industrial wood fibre and carbon capture by a controlled release to soils into which hybrid poplars are planted.
The effluent project has potential for multiple benefits: extended life and capacity of local waste treatment facilities (lagoons) and decreased capital expenditure for waste treatment facilities to accommodate industrial and residential growth, decreased environmental impact of effluent dumping into local streams, and increased production of wood fibre for local hardwood forest companies.