June 24, 2011
FEATURE | Sewer and Watermain/Water & Wastewater
Xogen technology aims to eliminate biosolids in wastewater treatment in Orangeville, Ontario
After first introducing its innovative wastewater treatment concept to the Town of Orangeville, Ontario in 2009, Xogen and its pilot project are up and running and treating 1,800 litres of wastewater per hour.
The Xogen technology is an electrolytic process that not only aims to eliminate biosolids, but also requires a much smaller facilities footprint than conventional treatment approaches, thereby lowering potential capital costs.
Biosolids are, essentially, the bodies of bacteria used to break down biological waste. While they are biodegradable and environmentally friendly, disposal of the biosolids — commonly known as sludge — is a practice that costs Orangeville as much as $800,000 per year.
Since 1998, the company has invested $13 million in developing the technology, which is protected by 34 global patents.
With the Xogen process, raw sewage enters the plant and encounters a filter screen. Solids accumulated on the filter are backwashed.
The water then goes through a series of reactors, where it is exposed to an electric current that generates ozone and hydroxyl radicals that degrade organic compounds.
This electrolytic process also generates hydrogen and oxygen. After passing through the reactors, the liquid is separated from the gases and the system has the ability to measure the gas for commercial value. The water is then pumped into a second stage, in which a sand filter is used to remove the solids prior to carbon filtration.
Besides eliminating sludge, an obvious advantage of this system is its relative size. It has a footprint that is 30 to 50 per cent smaller than conventional treatment systems.
While saying “being part of the development of a new and innovative technology is a tremendous opportunity for Orangeville,” Mayor Rob Adams also pointed out that “municipalities are risk averse.”
Municipal governments, dealing with taxpayers’ dollars, tend to be quite conservative when it comes to capital investment.
Xogen chief executive Angella Hughes said the technology’s potential market niche includes private industrial facilities, as well as municipal plants.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this plant becoming operational,” she said. “Instead of reports, papers and experiments, people can now see, first-hand, how wastewater can be safely treated with less environmental impact and for less money.”
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