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Sludge mineralisation method makes British water more sustainable

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Orbicon offers engineering consulting services in the areas of environment, utilities and building design. With 150 years of experience, we ‘know how’.

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Through more than 25 years, Orbicon has worked on and developed this sludge mineralisation method. So far it has been used for waste water treatment, but for the first time, a plant has been constructed to deal with the sludge that is leftover from the drinking water purification process.

The process is natural and much more sustainable, both environmentally and economically, compared to conventional mechanical treatment techniques. The sludge is pumped into basins, where reeds grow. The sludge is dewatered and a large part of the compounds are naturally mineralised, and the sludge volume reduces. After approximately 15 years the basin is drained and the remaining sludge is applied as fertiliser on farmland.

The world’s largest sludge mineralization plant for water supply from Hanningfield Reservoir is a 354 hectares water body near Essex in Northern England. The water from Hanningfield Reservoir is purified and becomes drinking water for approximately 1.5 million people. During the process, a lot of reddish sludge is generated. Earlier, the sludge was mechanically treated, but now Orbicon has been the consultant on constructing a 4 hectares plant distributed on 16 reed beds for Northumbrian Water.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs paid a visit
The British Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Richard Benyon, stopped by a few weeks ago to see the new plant, which is the first of its kind.

“It’s really exciting and I would like to see it elsewhere in the country”, he says on a BBC television broadcast.

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