Ávila, Spain to use MBR technology to comply with new regulations for nutrient removal
The city of Ávila, Spain, will install GE’s ZeeWeed 500D ultrafiltration membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology to double the amount of water treated at its existing wastewater treatment plant.
For the city of Ávila to meet the new regulations for nutrients in the existing plant, it would have had to double the size of the plant including purchasing new land. Instead, the city chose to implement GE’s MBR technology, which allowed it to improve the effluent quality without increasing the footprint. GE’s ZeeWeed membranes treat the same amount of water while removing all total suspended solids and complying with all other requirements. Since the extension of the current footprint was not necessary, economic advantages were gained as most of the existing infrastructure can be reused.
The original wastewater treatment plant was constructed in 1991 to service 190,000 inhabitants with a 30 million liter per day (MLD) average daily flow. However, due to new regulations, the discharge area of the Cogotas water reservoir was classified as a “sensitive area,” meaning that the new parameters are more restricted on effluent quality and require reductions in nitrogen and phosphorous.
The upgrade of the plant’s wastewater treatment processes with the GE MBR technology features four ZeeWeed 500D trains and 32 cassettes. A fifth train is designed for the future expansion. All together this will expand the plant’s treatment capacity to 37 MLD and improve the region’s quality of water.
Ultrafiltration is the use of a pressure-driven barrier to the suspended solids, bacteria, viruses, endotoxins and other pathogens in water to produce treated water with very high purity and low silt density. It serves as a pretreatment for surface water, seawater and biologically treated municipal effluent before reverse osmosis and other membrane water-treatment systems. Ultrafiltration also is used in industry to separate suspended solids from solution.
Xylem Water Solutions and GE jointly developed the project and assisted on the technical specifications. The facility is expected to begin commercial operation in summer 2013, when it will be the second largest ZeeWeed MBR plant in operation in Spain.