Category: Bluewater News

Lloyd Martin appointed Chairman of British Water’s International Forum

Bluewater Bio International, an award-winning provider of innovative high-performance, cost-effective water and wastewater treatment technologies, is pleased to announce that Lloyd Martin, Business Development & Strategic Counsel for BwB, has been appointed as Chairman for British Water’s (“BW”) International Forum. The role commenced from 2nd April, with Lloyd serving a term of three years, during which he will also be a member of the board of Directors of British Water. The International Forum offers members of British Water – the UK water industry trade association – who are active or interested in international trade, the opportunity to expand their commercial activities in overseas territories.

Lloyd Martin

Lloyd Martin brings over 20 years’ water industry experience working in international markets, including Regional Director for Severn Trent Services International and Business Development Manager at Anglian Water International. Lloyd has also undertaken a three year assignment as the UK water industry’s international trade advisor to the British Government.

In his role, Lloyd will serve as an ‘Ambassador’ for the UK water and wastewater supply chain internationally, raising the profile of UK capability and expertise as well as facilitating commercial introductions and trade for British Water members.

Daniel Ishag, Founder and CEO of Bluewater Bio International commented: “Lloyd has proven to be a highly valued member of our team over the past couple of years, with his extremely relevant business network both within the UK and internationally. I have the utmost faith in his ability to chair the International Forum and help drive business for the UK supply chain overseas.”

“In our case, we have found that international markets have been critical to our success, gaining significant traction in key markets such as South Africa, Middle East and USA. With the well documented barriers to innovation in the UK, I would strongly advise any UK based technology company to seize any assistance they can obtain from British Water when evaluating their commercial strategy abroad.”

Lloyd Martin added: “I have been committed to British Water’s international activities for at least 20 years, ever since I first began working overseas. I am a strong supporter of the key role that British Water can play in assisting companies that wish to expand their activities internationally. I believe that British Water has a unique position within the industry, being able to link the best commercial ideas of its members with the export assistance available from UKTI. I intend to improve the Forum’s ability to meet the needs of British Water’s members, by focussing on how best to provide information, knowledge and experience of exports to all, and by acting as a networking conduit for best-practices.”

Download Press Release

From drought to flood to??

When flood warnings overlap drought orders you know you are living in interesting times. Some things at the start of May, such as fielders suffering from frostbite as the cricket season warms up are traditional, others, such as difficulties in obtaining asparagus are rather shocking.

Looking at the Environment Agency data for England at the start of May Research/ Weekly_WSR_WE_010512.pdf, water was gushing through the various river regions, as you would imagine. Indeed, there were 8 with normal flow, 2 with above normal, 8 notably high and 20 exceptionally high.

Of the 38 reservoirs and reservoir groups in England 14 were at normal levels, 13 were at higher than normal levels and 11 are below normal levels. The real problem is when we look at the aquifers. Data is provided for 25 major aquifers in England. One was exceptionally high, 6 normal, 8 below normal and 10 exceptionally low. Those aquifers are going to need a lot of steady rain to get back to normal and the reservoirs that matter and the ones that are continuing to feel the pinch.

By 19th June Current_Situation_21_June_2012_-_maps.pdf the number of people affected by hosepipe bans had eased from 20 million to perhaps eight million. After days wiped out at test and one day international matches, all rivers remained at normal or higher levels, all but five reservoirs were at normal or higher levels but three aquifers remain at exceptionally low levels.

Water transfers and more desalination have been mooted as an answer, but the problem here is that rather like Premiership footballers, water transfers are not cheap and when faced with scarcity, the new assets do not always perform as intended. Indeed, the Environment Agency’s 2006 calculations are sobering. Assuming a 7% return on regulated assets for calculating how much customers may pay, the Pennine transfer proposal would cost £630-1,050 million pa and evenly divided amongst the 20 million people originally affected by the hosepipe ban this is £72 to £121 extra for each household bill.

Is it time to take demand management seriously?

Now is the time to take demand management seriously. More value ought to be generated from less water consumed. In England and Wales, average domestic consumption is 150 litres per person each day and plans are to reduce this to 130 by 2030. Yet average individual use by customers at Veolia Water East is 125 litres per day and just 111 for their metered customers. Inevitably, VW East has 73% metering and despite being in the heart of the drought area it is not yet affected by the shortages. In 2009 VW East wanted 90% metering by 2015, but Ofwat disagreed and they are going for 78% by 2015 and 90% by 2030, unless matters change. Attitudes must change if water supplies are to be secured.

Smart thinking helps

What about the excess. Just as smart water techniques (smart metering to drive domestic demand down, smart monitoring to detect and minimise leakage and smart management to ensure networks are used efficiently) can deal with drought, there are smart ways of dealing with heavy rainfall. Suez Environnement has developed a suite of techniques to deal with heavy stormwater flows in the sewerage network as well as real time flood forecasting and mapping to ensure people and agencies can respond to rising river levels in time. The beauty about real time monitoring and data availability is how it can prevent flood events. Pachube developed a software interface that allows New York’s storm sewerage system managers to warn customers when loading is getting too high, to that they can postpone switching on washing machines and so on until flow levels have abated.

The Water Bill’s postponement may be a blessing if it allows politicians some time to consider recent events and to provide Britain with a regulatory climate fit for our metrological climate.

At the Water UK conference last week Defra Minister Richard Benyon said that metering needs to take into account its effect on poorer families. I find this a bit odd, since all gas and electricity accounts have always been metered in some way. Defra’s recent announcement paving the way for social tariffs for households that spend more than 5% of their income on water and sewerage services may be a huge breakthrough here.

Inauguration Ceremony for BwB’s HYBACS Upgrade at Tubli WPCC, Bahrain

On Monday 09th December, Bluewater Bio, an award winning provider of high-performance, cost-effective water and wastewater treatment technologies, officially launched its HYBACS® wastewater treatment upgrade at the Tubli Water Pollution Control Centre (“WPCC”) in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The launch ceremony was held under the patronage of H.E. Essam Bin Abdulla Khalaf, who was joined by many other esteemed guests, including Mr Iain Lindsay OBE, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Serving a Population Equivalent of 800,000, this plant inauguration marks the official completion of the largest environmental regeneration project of its kind in the GCC, and just the first phase of the Bahrain Government’s long term master plan for the Tubli WPCC.

In his speech during the ceremony, Daniel Ishag, founder and CEO of Bluewater Bio, said: “Bluewater Bio is delighted to have been selected by the Bahraini government for the 8 million Dinar Tubli wastewater treatment plant upgrade. This is a prestigious project, on a global scale, which will make a major contribution to the regional environment and ecology. We are proud to help future proof the country’s social and economic growth.”

The US $20 million HYBACS upgrade, implemented by BwB to help alleviate overloading at the original Tubli works, is demonstrating exceptional operational performance; producing test results that consistently meet the highest local and international treatment standards.
Eng. Khalifa Al Mansoor, Assistant Undersecretary at the Bahrain Ministry of Works added: “We meet today to celebrate the opening of the Tubli Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade project using HYBACS. Today’s event, in the presence of His Excellency the Minister of Works, Engineer Essam bin Abdulla Khalaf, coincides with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s National Day Celebrations. The upgrade project treats 100,000m3/day of the sewage water flowing to theplant, which now totals 350,000m3/day. Preliminary results indicate that the new system is operating efficiently; in line with the standard specifications and measures adopted in the project.”

The project was implemented in two stages to meet the Client’s continuous treatment requirements. The first stage, completed in June 2013, saw the Company’s SMART™ units, which power the HYBACS process, treat 50,000m3/day of wastewater. Following completion of stage 2, the HYBACS plant is now treating 100,000 of the approximately 350,000m3/day incoming flow to Tubli Treatment Plant.

Combined, these two stages involved converting two of Tubli’s ten existing aeration lanes and four of its twelve clarifiers to the HYBACS process, with 42 SMART units positioned upstream of the existing two aeration lanes. The 100,000m3/d excess flow was diverted from the existing preliminary treatment works to the HYBACS plant, increasing the loading by an additional 150% compared with the original design loading.

Daniel Ishag concluded: “At 42 SMART units, the HYBACS upgrade at Tubli Bay represents a watershed moment for Bluewater Bio, and one which steps us up a gear on the global stage. To gain recognition from the Minister and his team on a project as large and critical for Bahrain adds credence not only to our HYBACS technology but also to Bluewater Bio as a whole.

“I am personally thrilled with the effluent quality results at Tubli to date, and the strong feedback we have received from the Ministry of Works. I would like to thank everyone involved in the Tubli project: not only Bluewater Bio’s own contracting team; but also the Ministry itself, including Engineers Asma Murad, Ebrahim Al-Hawaj and Ban Najim Eldin, our delivery partners P2M, Atlas and Aqua Treat and the UKTI’s Global Entrepreneur Programme (“GEP”). We look forward to growing collaborations of this nature, both in Bahrain and the wider GCC.”

Download press release

BwB Secures Third HYBACS® Order in South Africa, for £1.75m Hartbeesfontein Project

Bluewater Bio, a leading provider of innovative high-performance, cost-effective water and wastewater treatment technologies, is pleased to announce that it has secured a third order for its low energy nutrient removal technology, HYBACS®. The project, valued at 24 million South African Rand (c. £1.75m) and secured via Bluewater Bio’s licensing agreement with Headstream Water Holdings, is for the extension of Hartbeesfontein Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), owned and operated by the City of Matlosana Local Municipality in North West Province, South Africa.

The HYBACS upgrade has been designed to double the plant capacity from 4 to 8 megalitres / day, an uplift of around 60,000 Population Equivalent, and is driven primarily by increased load from a local abattoir.  The first project phase, which is already under construction, comprises the deployment of six SMART™ units, the system that powers the HYBACS process.
Having already experienced the high quality treatment capability, low energy and maintenance costs, small footprint and rapid deployment of HYBACS on their Botleng and Swartruggens projects,  BwB was the natural choice for Moedi Consulting Engineers when engaged by the Matlosana municipality at Hartbeesfontein.

Hartbeesfontein represents BwB’s third order for HYBACS in South Africa in as many years, and marks the Company’s largest contract award within the region to date. Combined with the four SMART units already performing to high standards at the Botleng and Swartruggens plants, this latest order will bring the total African installed base to ten. In anticipation of future population growth, civil engineering works have already been prepared at Hartbeesfontein for an additional two SMART units and two more are under construction for deployment by Headstream to satisfy increasing market demand for rental units.

Daniel Ishag, Founder and CEO of Bluewater Bio International commented: “We are very pleased to have secured our third order, via Headstream, for the Hartbeesfontein wastewater treatment plant. With many regions of Africa in urgent need of wastewater upgrades and extensions, Bluewater Bio’s solution, with its superior economics and energy savings compared to conventional Activated Sludge, is ideally placed to serve this crucial social and political need.”

“Thanks to all involved, from BwB’s own team to Headstream and Moedi, we have now doubled our footprint within South Africa; further fuelling the global roll-out of BwB’s full product platform, from HYBACS and FilterClear to our latest UV solution.”

Download press release

Bluewater Bio and NeoTech Aqua Solutions, Inc. Sign Licensing Agreement

Bluewater Bio, a leading provider of innovative high-performance, cost-effective water and wastewater treatment technologies, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a licensing agreement with NeoTech Aqua Solutions, Inc. (“NeoTech”) to market their ultra- efficient, highly advanced UV technologies to industrial and municipal clients. The license is global, with exclusive territory rights that include the UK and Ireland.

BwB believe there is an excellent growth market for efficient UV technology in territories that they or their partners currently operate in. The key drivers for UV adoption are primarily its ability to disinfect harmful pathogens in potable water, including Cryptosporidium and E.coli, and the conscious effort to move away from using chlorine for safety and environmental reasons. Major catalysts for UV market growth are cost, water scarcity, public health, demand for high purity process water, reuse/recycling and environmental compliance.

NeoTech, based in San Diego, California, USA, have already proven their patented ultra-efficient UV technology in over 300 installations; selling into the food & beverage, bottled water, pharmaceutical, pools & water parks, microelectronics, wastewater, remediation, and municipal drinking water markets – both for disinfection and for the elimination of organic contaminants (TOC).

NeoTech’s UV technology utilises a patented chamber design combined with ReFleX™ technology which reflects over 99% of the UV generated back into the treated water, continuously until the target contaminant is destroyed.  By comparison, conventional UV systems typically reflect only about a quarter of the UV generated.  NeoTech’s technical advantages eliminate most of the electrical power and number of lamps required to treat a given volume of water, translating to lower operating costs, a 75% smaller footprint, less lamp and

sleeve maintenance, and a unique ability to remain powered on even if water flow is interrupted. Furthermore, NeoTech’s UV systems may be mounted in any configuration and no tools are required for lamp replacement.

BwB, established in 2007 to develop their patented HYBACS® process, have since seen their product portfolio grow to include FilterClear™, a high performance multimedia filtration technology, and GHG-Tox®, an innovative nitrification and greenhouse gas monitoring system. NeoTech aligns perfectly with BwB’s technology aggregation strategy; developing a global mid-market platform for innovative, high performance, low cost water and wastewater treatment products. Whilst each of these solutions can deliver significant performance improvements in isolation, their commercial benefits to municipal and industrial users are even more compelling when combined.
For example, Bluewater Bio’s FilterClear™ range of high performance filtration technologies achieves world class performance; removing particulates from clean water and wastewater in both municipal and industrial settings.  Neotech UV and FilterClear™ together are ideal complementary technologies for ultra-efficient filtration and subsequent disinfection.

NeoTech’s President/CEO, Stephen Dunham said: “The NeoTech team welcomes the opportunity to move forward globally in cooperation with Bluewater Bio.  The synergistic advantages of leveraging BlueWater Bio’s existing technology, global footprint and corporate assets with NeoTech’s unique technological strengths in UV renders a new, multi-faceted capability that will benefit both companies and particularly the market at large.  This is an exciting time of expansion for our respective technologies.”

Daniel Ishag, Founder & CEO of Bluewater Bio International commented: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank both teams for their effort in bringing this deal to fruition. As we look to increase our product platform and service the needs of our ever increasing customer base, this deal signifies an important step in realising that aim. We aspire to be the world’s leading independent water technology provider.  I strongly believe that, with Neotech onboard, we are ever closer to achieving this.”

Download press release

Bug hunting beyond chlorine

Chlorine has saved countless millions of lives and it continues to perform humane miracles to this day. But it is effective because it is indeed a killer. Not only can chlorine create carcinogens after reacting with organic compounds in water, as anybody who has dipped into a municipal swimming pool will know it does not taste or smell that nice either. Many people do not like the taste of heavily chlorinated water, making household filters and even bottled water increasingly attractive in markets such as the USA. In the background are a body of data assembled by institutions such as the US Environmental Protection Agency suggesting that too much exposure to chlorinated water is potentially harmful to for example, pregnant women. This has been grabbed with aplomb by lobbyists for every cause, but it leaves us with one great question – how do we deliver water that people can enjoy drinking and can trust, at a fair and attractive price?

Going forwards to a post chlorine drinking water takes us back to water treatment’s roots. Sand filtration is a great way of cleaning up a water stream before using UV. Slow sand filters have been used for treating water since the days of the Egyptians, with small plants used across the medieval world and for a town for the first time in Paisley in 1804. In 1829, the first large scale facility opened, serving the Chelsea waterworks company (now part of Thames Water) in 1829. During much of this time, it was assumed that diseases were transmitted by ‘miasmas’ in foul air and the sand was simply making the water more pleasant to drink.

Sometimes water engineering is a triumph of hope over reality. Leafing through the water treatment literature, you are assured that each technique will blast all bugs into oblivion, with clear sterile water coming out the other end. For example, while Ultra Violet disinfection is a powerful way of finishing off water or wastewater treatment it is only as good as the fluid that you treat and when suspended solids remain, they create a shadow behind which pathogens can survive.

Today, with our fuller understanding of infections and impurities and how to deal with them, sand filtration has much to offer when it comes to removing particulates from treated water. But sand filtration was not called ‘slow sand’ without reason. Even in modern ‘rapid sand’ units the flow rate can be low and the maintenance needs can be high.

BlueWater Bio acquired Filter Clear in 2011 to expand its range of offerings in water and wastewater treatment. Filter Clear’s forte is to minimise contaminant build up so that the units operative life is maximised, while being able to maintain a flow rate which is appreciably higher than seen in slower sand filters. Unlike sand based filtration systems, an internal self-cleaning backwash system cuts back on the downtime needed for cleaning. Even so, the system can retain particles down to 0.5 to 1.0 microns compared with 3.0-10.0 in competing technologies, which minimises the size and concentration of suspended solids remaining in the filtrate.

So, using a Filter Clear unit as a pre-treatment for UV, micro-organisms can run through the water, but they cannot hide. The process removes particulates from the water, giving the UV a free run to eliminate all the contaminants and minimising or removing the need for any post treatment chloride.

Wastewater mining

The nutrient crunch is not a headline grabber, but it ought to be and it is something we are going to learn to get pretty concerned about.

Wastewater used to be seen simply as a waste, something to be treated and disposed of. It is nothing of the sort – it is a vital and under-appreciated resource. Apart from the water that can be recovered, it is a source of increasingly scarce nutrients and contains significant amounts of embedded energy.

From 1450 to 1850, London’s dung was carted to sewage farms, where it was spread, untreated on the ground. It was a brutal job (the carters were well paid, but tended to die young) which provided fertiliser for farms supplying the city. In the 1850s the Guano trade blasted the sewage farms out of use, which was probably a good thing at the time. It meant on the one side a safe source of nutrients and that sewage treatment was taken seriously as an alternative to dumping raw effluent on farmland.

At its peak, the Guano trade saw 100,000 dry tonnes of fertiliser being imported to Britain every year. It has been taken over in turn by other sources of phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium, but none of these sources are likely to last for much longer given the rising demand for food worldwide.

The real problem is that when nutrients are washed out into rivers and seas not only do they harm these habitats but they cannot be beneficially recovered. The nutrient cycle is different to the water cycle – there is no vast sea of nutrients that can be mobilised each year and replaced on the ground. For example, the natural rate of airborne nutrient deposition on a cleared site such as a former clay pit is such that it takes approximately 100 years before there is a nutrient build up enough to support ‘non-leguminous woody shrubs’ as I was taught as a young Environmental Biologist at university thirty years ago. Clearly, it is a fact that has stuck in my mind and it shows just how dependent we are on securing nutrient supplies to optimise agricultural productivity.

The more intensive the agriculture is the more nutrients are needed, even is genetically modified crops become more broadly socially and politically acceptable. Whichever way agriculture evolves, it faces the task not only of feeding the currently hungry, and meeting the challenges of affluence and dietary change, there will also be a further two billion mouths to feed by 2050.

So it is time to take a modern look at nutrient recovery from wastewater. This means going as long way beyond applying post treatment sludge to land, let along the sewage farms of old.

Properly applied, recovering nutrients from sewage can account for a significant amount of what is needed for crop growing. Most of the nutrients are in fact in urine, rather than the sewage sludge so you need to be able to get all of those nutrients out of the combined stream in a recoverable form.

Bluewater Bio’s Hybacs plays its part in realising the potential benefits wastewater has to offer us. As part of its high BOD removal rate, the SMART system is geared towards nitrogen and / or phosphorous removal, creating a post treatment sludge which is well suited for recovering these nutrients as well as ensuring more efficient water and energy recovery.

Written by Dr David Lloyd Owen – Senior Advisor at Bluewater Bio

HYBACS crosses the pond

The agreement announced today that BwB’s HYBACS wastewater treatment technology is to be marketed by Suez Environnement’s Infilco Degremont means that Bluewater Bio is entering not only the world’s largest market for water and wastewater systems, but one with a unique potential for innovators.

The US EPA’s Clean Watersheds Needs Survey for 2008 was presented to Congress in 2010. These surveys are a snapshot as the federal nature of the nation means that no state is obliged to report to Washington, but almost all do and they capture the essence of the nation’s state of play when it comes to wastewater infrastructure.

Since the Clean water Act was signed in 1972, the number of people served by tertiary systems has leapt from 7.8 million to 113.0 million. The 2008 survey found that $298.1 billion needs to be spent on the USA’s wastewater infrastructure over a 20 year period in order to get it into good shape. $105.2 billion of this should go on wastewater treatment plants ($59.9 billion on secondary treatment and $45.3 billion on advanced / tertiary treatment), a cool $21.3 billion increase on the 2004 needs survey estimate.

In 2008 secondary or tertiary plants served 222.5 million people (73% of the population) with 16.9 million served by direct application to the land (‘beneficial reuse’) and 3.8 million having at best basic treatment (‘raw’). Septic tanks cover the 21% of Americans unconnected to the sewerage network. Many of these facilities are already in place and the emphasis is very much on rehabilitating, upgrading and expanding them.

The USA has communities of all sizes, with 58% of spending needs taking place in eight states, each needing at least $10 billion, while 69% of facilities serve just 10% of the population and account for 9% of the spending needs. Crunching the numbers, it is clear that the size of advanced works is rising while those of secondary facilities stay steady, showing how the tertiary facilities are concentrated on the larger communities.

Secondary 1972 2008 2028
People served (million) 32.5 92.7 89.1
Facilities 2,838 7,302 7,015
People per facility 11,451 12,695 12,701
Tertiary 1972 2008 2028
People served (million) 45.7 113.0 161.2
Facilities 2,719 5,072 5,909
People per facility 16,080 22,279 27,280


The need for improved efficiency comes through, with Operations and Maintenance rising as a percentage of total local wastewater spending from 50% in 1988 to 60% today.

Now there are spending needs surveys and there are surveys about what actually gets spent. In 2002 the US Congressional Budget Office estimated that back in 1999 that $9.8 billion was being spent each year on wastewater capital projects and debt servicing, against needs of $13.0-20.9 billion. The funding gap has not gone away and the needs keep on rising.

How can HYBACS help?

The US Budget Deficit and a difficult economic outlook means that new Federal funding cannot be relied on, so utilities and communities have to do more with less money.

A real strength of HYBACS is its ability to allow sites to be upgraded and expanded at a significantly lower cost than conventional sludge treatment processes while delivering performance in full compliance with the applicable US EPA standards. With a 40% smaller footprint, it also frees up space on a site, providing headroom for increased treatment capacity and helping the operator to develop new assets such as sludge to energy.

The fact that the HYBACS process optimises sludges for nutrient and energy recovery means that the operator can plan for the longer term in mind, without any additional costs.

Finally, HYBACS helps to claw back escalating operating costs by reducing energy needs by 50% through its product life. Funding freed from O+M can go into accelerating debt servicing and funding new projects, helping to turn the US EPA’s ‘needs’ from what ought to be done to what can be done.