Nutrient Recovery Facility Opens In Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The City of York, PA, and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. have opened a new Nutrient Recovery Facility at the York Wastewater Treatment Plant (York WWTP). The unveiling marked the opening of the second facility in the nutrient-sensitive Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Ostara’s technology, called the Pearl Nutrient Recovery Process, recovers phosphorus and ammonia from wastewater streams and transforms them into an environmentally friendly, slow-release fertilizer marketed and sold by the company as Crystal Green. This technology will help the York WWTP cost-effectively meet their nutrient limits and help protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed by providing an environmentally sensitive solution to effectively remove excess nutrients, while producing a fertilizer that releases slowly and eliminates run-off.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the discharge of excessive nutrients, such as phosphorus, causes algae blooms that choke surrounding marine life and upset the natural ecosystem.

The launch of the Ostara Nutrient Recovery Facility at the City of York WWTP marks a unique public/private partnership where Ostara has designed, built, and financed the nutrient recovery facility. The City of York has agreed to pay a monthly fee for treatment capacity provided by the Ostara system, which is less than what was previously required to deal with costly maintenance resulting from the damaging buildup of struvite scale in pipes and valves. This will help the York WWTP efficiently meet their nutrient limits, reduce operational costs, and optimize the plant’s efficiency. These nutrient recovery benefits are provided without the City of York having to make any capital investment in the system.

The City of York will also receive revenue for the production and sale of Crystal Green, effectively transforming the problem of excess nutrients into a valuable product.

“This public–private partnership between Ostara and the City of York is a creative approach to helping wastewater treatment facilities deal with the operational and environmental implications associated with the challenges of an overabundance of nutrients,” says Phillip Abrary, Ostara’s president and CEO. “Ostara provides a solution that is no-risk to the City from a financial or technical perspective. We are very excited to partner with the City of York on this model project.”

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