Arris was successful in obtaining funding through the South Australian Government ‘Small Business Innovation Research’ grant program. There were two goals of the project: firstly, to capture phosphorus (P) from effluent water at a SA Water Wastewater Treatment Plant to lower nutrient loading and eutrophication of waters that feed into the Gulf St Vincent; and secondly, to capture this P in a bioavailable format so that it could be recycled as a nutrient source for plant growth.
Arris was able to find a material that could sequester exceptional amounts of P out of the effluent water (>95% P removal). Better still, this material is a waste product that is currently dumped to landfill, hence, this created a beneficial reuse for a material that would otherwise end up in landfill. A secondary benefit of the material was its ability to remove boron (B) from effluent water, with >50% reductions in B observed. Given the sequestration of P was so efficient, it could not be made readily bioavailable again as a source of P for plant growth, and low concentrations of P in the effluent water meant extracting the P again would not be an economically viable option. However, the P sequestering material has been shown to be an excellent structural soil enhancer, enhancing aeration and water movement in soil allowing deeper root penetration.
Overall, this project highlighted a significant reuse opportunity for a waste material that could provide water treatment to remove P and B, with an option to then install this material under roadways and verges to provide a structural soil enhancement to support tree growth.
The funding received for this project enabled Arris to develop a test bench which allows us to undertake replicated multi-media water treatment column trials. This adds significant value to the targeted water treatment solutions we can develop for our clients.