Development of Two Recovery Methods for Water Treatment Plant Residuals




Innovation Program and NSERC-RI Biotransformation

Development partners

Campor Environnement inc.

Project Manager/Contact at Biopterre

Fatma Gassara


The aim of this project was to identify innovative ways to increase the economic value of residual organic matter (ROM). These ROM are processed as part of the environmental services offered by Campor Environnement Inc.  The company is therefore looking for ways to recover 15-45 metric tons/week of treatment plant residuals. This project is divided in three parts. 

During the first phase, we explored all existing and experimental technologies used for ROM recovery. To do this, we took into account the technical, economic, commercial and legislative aspects of different existing technologies. At the end of this first phase, Campor Environnement Inc. selected two technologies for further exploration: the production of bioplastics and the production of a biofertilizer (struvite). 

During the second and third phases of the project, Campor Environnement Inc.’s MOR were used as a fermentation substrate to produce bioplastics and precipitate struvite.  The results of this laboratory-scale study showed that:

  1. Struvite precipitation is a promising avenue for the recovery of slaughterhouse sludge.  Phosphate removal ranged between 87% and 100% for slaughterhouse sludge (63 tonnes of struvite annually).  
  2. Septic tank sludge is an excellent substrate for the production of bioplastics. A maximum of 25 tonnes of bioplastics per year, using sludge from the Rivière-du-Loup plant only, could be produced.
  3. Upscaling, from pilot test to industrial production is possible.

Figure 1: Visualization by fluorescence microscopy (Nile blue staining) of bioplastics produced from septic tank sludge

(a) sludge before fermentation; (b) sludge after fermentation

1. les boues avant la fermentation;
2. les boues après la fermentation

Figure 2: Precipitation of slaughterhouse sludge nutrints and production of a biofertilizer (struvite)


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