Advanced Wastewater Treatment (“AWT”) is the removal of nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorous prior to discharge. These nutrients, if discharged to surface water in large quantities, can degrade ecosystems. At the City of Clearwater Public Utilities Department (“PU”), it is the task to remove these nutrients prior to surface water discharge. Historically, PU treated wastewater with a proprietary process product, which is a carbon source that facilitates the biological removal of Nitrogen. The idea to use an organic waste byproduct – from a local beverage manufacturer – to meet the process needs of AWT helped streamline operations. Their beverage waste became Clearwater’s carbon source. Additionally, both entities received perks in the form of reduced disposal costs for the beverage manufacturer and reduced product costs for PU.
PU sought to substitute a less costly product, which happens to be more sustainable, while maintaining the current level of Nitrogen reduction, or actually improve treatment. Anticipated outcomes included: maintain AWT performance; cost-savings; utilize waste byproduct effectively; reduce compliance issues; and decrease traffic impact by sourcing locally. Since implementation, AWT treatment limits have been maintained; cost-savings has been significant; effective and efficient use of the byproduct has been demonstrated as viable; compliance has been maintained by both parties meeting regulations; the environmental impact has lessened; and a reduction in transportation costs and traffic impacts has been realized.