Phosphorus Reduction Project Meets Objectives

Chatham, ON – Feb 26, 2021

A phosphorus reduction and recovery system aimed at reducing the growth of harmful algal blooms in the Thames River and Lake Erie has been successfully demonstrated.  A Waterloo EC-P system was tested that mimics the way phosphorus is removed naturally in iron-rich soils through the crystallization of iron-phosphate minerals.  The containerized system treated up to 40,000 L/day of surface water from the agricultural runoff of 340 acres of farmed land and includes a process to allow for the recovery and re-use of captured phosphorus as a fertilizing soil amendment.

The system operated for 15 months treating up to 40,000 L/day and shows promising results in improving surface water quality with low operating costs, no chemical addition, and no sludge production.  Total phosphorus was initially reduced 35% with very low influent concentrations (0.12 mg/L) and effluent concentrations near the detection limit.  In a second phase with artificially higher influent phosphorus concentrations total phosphorus removal increased to 67%.  The system removed 90% of reactive and dissolved phosphorus.  Other water quality measures were relatively unchanged (pH, temperature, conductivity, TN) or improved (TSS, turbidity, DO).  The system can be scaled up to treat 100,000 L/day in a single container.

Other water quality measures were relatively unchanged (pH, temperature, conductivity, TN) or improved (TSS, turbidity, DO).

The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative is a voluntary initiative cited in the Canada Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan aimed at contributing to the commitment made in 2016 between Canada and the U.S. to a 40 per cent reduction in the total phosphorus entering Lake Erie.

This project is funded through Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Great Lakes Protection Initiative and through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

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Waterloo EC-P system

Re-use of captured phosphorus

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