Largest Nereda plant in the UK will be operational next year

After several years of intensive trials United Utilities is readying three wastewater treatment plants to use innovative technology.

Kendal, Morecambe and Failsworth works will be the first treatment plants to use the revolutionary Nereda technology within United Utilities portfolio, with more sites identified.

The innovative treatment process using granular biomass will help United Utilities treat wastewater in a more sustainable and cost-effective way.

Kendal wastewater treatment plant, situated on the banks of the River Kent, will be the largest Nereda plant in the UK, using the new technology from October 2018.

Installation of the new technology will form part of a massive £70 million project upgrade at Morecambe wastewater treatment works, which is undergoing a massive overhaul to ensure the effluent leaving the works meets Environment Agency standards and will be operational in April 2019.

The compact nature of the plants, which typically requires a quarter of the land areas that is needed for an equivalent conventional activated sludge, is one of the important factors Failsworth is using Nereda technology in its upgrade.

The scale of the three sites is significant.  They will treat waste for a population equivalent (PE) of 147,000.

United Utilities has been an early adopter in looking at Nereda technology and had the first UK Nereda pilot plant delivered to its wastewater treatment works at Davyhulme, in Manchester in 2013.

During the period since the pilot plant was delivered, the water company carried out a comprehensive review of this emerging technology, with successful pilot trials at a number of treatment works.

Keith Haslett, Director of Wastewater Network Plus, at United Utilities explained: “As a company we have been at the forefront of reviewing Nereda, which is a development of the conventional activated sludge process.

“We are always looking for innovation to provide both customer and environmental benefits in a sustainable way and our pilot work has proven this innovation treatment process will provide a step change for wastewater treatment across the North West.

“Kendal will be the largest Nereda plant in the UK and Morecambe wastewater treatment works will treat additional flows in order to reduce the number of stormwater spills, increasing the quality of Morecambe’s bathing waters. In addition the footprint of all three sites including Failsworth are very compact, so the Nereda footprint benefits is an important plus factor in its competiveness.

“As a business we can’t standstill, we know we’re going to be dealing with ever growing population and we have earmarked a number of other highly likely sites to utilise this technology to help us continue to meet stricter environmental requirements and customer targets for carbon reduction.”

The introduction of the Nereda process represents a significant and evolutionary step in wastewater treatment technology. Nereda combines the treatment characteristics of granular biomass in highly automated Sequencing Batch Reactors, resulting in reductions in footprint, costs, electricity, sludge production, chemical consumption and improved environmental compliance.