United Utilities asks market for innovative solutions to sludge management

United Utilities is inviting companies to contact it with new and effective solutions for the treatment of sludge.

The water and wastewater firm has issued a Prior Information Notice (PIN) to ask for ideas for sludge collection, transport and treatment services in the north of its region. 

Regionally, it is forecast that future sludge growth will exceed treatment capacity and United Utilities is looking to the market for innovative ways to tackle this issue.

Currently, United Utilities produces over 200,000 dry tonnes of wastewater derived sludge each year and has 37 treatment facilities where it converts treated sewage sludge into energy to power its sites and high quality fertilizer for local farmers.

United Utilities’ Bioresource and energy services director, Tom Lissett, explained: “Prior to entering a formal procurement process we would like to understand what solutions are available from the market to help shape our thinking.

“We know there are a lot of opportunities for innovation in treatment and recycling, which can benefit customers and the environment, so we’re keen to understand opportunities to deliver this innovation and potentially combine sludge with other feedstocks.

“We are also interested in alternative commercial options to provide “turn-key” solutions, which include provision of finance and operating services, alongside providing upfront design and build services.

“We want to create a Northern Hub for sludge treatment as part of our long term strategy to build a Bioresource capability that is resilient, competitive and drives efficiency, environmental compliance and wider circular economy benefits,” he added.

This Northern Hub would provide sludge treatment capacity of at least 30,000 dry tonnes of sludge per year, improve biosolids quality, cut treatment costs, maximise revenue and reduce carbon emissions.

Currently the raw sludge is a mix of raw, thickened liquid and cake and the wastewater treatment processes vary and include biological and chemical phosphorus removal technologies.

The scope of services United Utilities is interested in are:
• Pre-treatment of sludge from its point of origin
• Collection and transportation for treatment
• Treatment of sludge and management of products, by-products and residual solids

Tom Lissett added: “Services for treatment of our sludge do not necessarily need to be co-located within our existing operations.  However, our Blackburn wastewater treatment works has the potential to be developed into a centralised treatment plant.  The site, which has been in operation for more than 20 years, currently has an Advanced Anaerobic Digestion (AAD) facility which processes between 11,000 and 13,000 dry tonnes of sludge a year.”

More information about the PIN notice is found here https://uk.eu-supply.com/ctm/Supplier/PublicPurchase/34002/0/0?returnUrl=ctm/Supplier/publictenders&b=UNITEDUTILITIES