The City of York and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. officially opened a new Nutrient Recovery Facility at the York Wastewater Treatment Plant (York WWTP). The unveiling marked the opening of the second facility in the nutrient-sensitive Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Ostara’s technology, called the Pearl Nutrient Recovery Process, recovers phosphorus and ammonia from wastewater streams and transforms them into an environmentally-friendly, slow-release fertilizer marketed and sold by the Company as Crystal Green.
This technology will help the York WWTP cost-effectively meet their nutrient limits and help protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed by providing an environmentally sensitive solution to effectively remove excess nutrients, while producing a fertilizer that releases slowly and eliminates run-off. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the discharge of excessive nutrients, such as phosphorus, causes algae blooms that choke surrounding marine life and upset the natural ecosystem. This is considered one of the most serious problems affecting the Bay.
Ostara board member, environmental advocate and attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will serve as the keynote speaker, and Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell and Chairman of the York Sewer Authority, JT Hand, will provide remarks at today’s grand opening, which will be held at the York City Sewer Authority Utilities Park.
Mr. Kennedy, a partner in VantagePoint Venture Partners, notes, “Ostara’s technology serves an important role in protecting our natural waterways for future generations. It provides a cost-effective solution that benefits the environment at all stages, and truly exhibits the shift that we are seeing towards closed-loop, sustainable technologies.”
Ostara’s Pearl Process provides a win-win partnership
The launch of the Ostara Nutrient Recovery Facility at the City of York WWTP marks a unique public/private partnership where Ostara has designed, built and financed the nutrient recovery facility. The City of York has agreed to pay a monthly fee for treatment capacity provided by the Ostara system, which is less than what was previously required to deal with costly maintenance resulting from the damaging buildup of struvite scale in pipes and valves. This will help the York WWTP efficiently meet their nutrient limits, reduce operational costs and optimize the plant’s efficiency. These nutrient recovery benefits are provided without the City of York having to make any capital investment in the system. The City of York will also receive revenue for the
production and sale of Crystal Green, effectively transforming the problem of excess nutrients into a valuable product.
“This public–private partnership between Ostara and the City of York is a creative approach to helping wastewater treatment facilities deal with the operational and environmental implications associated with the challenges of an overabundance of nutrients,” said Phillip Abrary, Ostara’s President and CEO. “Ostara provides a solution that is no-risk to the City from a financial or technical perspective. We are very excited to partner with the City of York on this model project.”
From pilot to commercial facility
The York WWTP and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. successfully completed a demonstration project in April 2008. Ostara’s Pearl Nutrient Recovery Process effectively reduced the nutrient load in the liquid wastewater stream, reducing the phosphorus concentration by 93 percent and ammonia by 15 percent. Based on the results of this pilot project, the City of York and Ostara agreed upon a unique service fee agreement, whereby Ostara designed, built and financed the facility for a monthly fee based upon performance, without incurring capital costs or technical risks upon the City of York.
According to York WWTP general manager Steve Douglas, “The process that Ostara is using is an extremely innovative technology that will help us more cost-effectively remove unwanted nutrients in our liquid wastewater stream. The benefit is that Ostara’s technology not only removes these nutrients, but recovers them into a valuable product. Our partnership with Ostara is also unique, and one that will hopefully serve as a model for public/private ventures.”
The York WWTP is Ostara’s third commercial facility in the United States; the others are located in Tigard, Oregon (near Portland) and Suffolk, Virginia. The company has successfully demonstrated the technology in several locations in the United States, and in Europe and Asia.