SCIENCE, RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY
ROCKY MOUNTAIN WATER JULY 2019 | 25
The Microbial Database for Activated Sludge (MiDAS), a program
started at Aalborg University in Denmark, aims to learn more
about these and other organisms by mapping the microbial diver-sity
present in wastewater treatment systems worldwide. Getting
people talking the same language by learning more about what
options are present at WRRFs can help select for the most efficient
and effective microorganisms.
Likewise, models frequently are used to help optimize WRRFs, plan
for upgrades, and design new facilities. However, the limitations
of these models came to the forefront of the modeling discussions
as presentations addressed different approaches to unlocking the
process dynamics of a WRRF. Each WRRF is a unique system with
specific parameters and influent; as such, there exists no one-size-fits-
all approach to modeling or treatment.
Two approaches highlighted during the forum tackled overcom-ing
modeling challenges. One suggested modeling individual
units within a system, while the other seeks to develop a predic-tive
system relying on process metabolics. Both models are viable
options and the presentations set up a further discussion on how
to use information gleaned from a model and put it into practice.
The discussions highlighted one universal truth: the key to all
good models is more data to better understand process dynamics.
As we get to know more about the intricacies of these systems,
models will be more accurate.
Forum participants also examined the value proposition of phos-phorus
recovery. One of the current pain points in widespread
phosphorus recovery is that turning these value propositions into
reality requires overcoming current technology bottlenecks and
improving industry business models.
The key to success is broadening the current value potential
of bioP from only recovered products to the entire ecosphere.
When discussing the barriers for real-world application, several
ideas were put forth. These included implementing real-time
population sensing, developing cheaper and simpler instru-ments
that can be used by utilities of any size, and incorporat-ing
phosphorus recovery in all industries such as food reduc-tion
and waste recycling. Additionally, work must be done to
develop regulations and incentives that help promote resource
recovery while continuing to educate the public and increase
awareness about the potential value.
Overall, the tone of the session was optimistic, and attendees
agreed that the research and ideas currently being developed
were building a much-needed knowledge base that will soon be
translated to implementation at WRRFs.
Addressing environmental effects
The forum also provided an opportunity to look broadly at the
environmental effects of phosphorus recovery. Representa-tives
from utilities and government entities who have success-