Innovative technologies for reclamation of urban and industrial wastewater

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INTEXTER and Motion Control Applications (MCIA UPC) are participating in the REGIREU (Research on water regeneration technologies and risk management for reuse) project, which is designed to gain knowledge and develop innovative technologies to reclaim residual urban and industrial wastewater for subsequent reuse.

One of the project activities is carried out in INTEXTER’s Laboratory of Control of Environmental Contamination and is coordinated by the researchers Mercè Vilaseca and Víctor López. They will assess at pilot scale the combination of two treatment technologies: Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR), in which organic matter in water is broken down with the biomass adhered to carrier media that move slightly, and Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) technology, which separates sludge by membrane filtration.

MBBR technology consists of a biological treatment for wastewater with high pollutant loads. The advantages of this method over standard activated sludge treatments are improved oxygen transfer and shorter retention times. In addition, the treatment supports higher organic loads.

MBR technology is based on a biological treatment with suspended biomass to treat wastewater. The biomass is separated from the water through a membrane filtration system instead of decantation. The advantages over activated sludge systems are a smaller carbon footprint, higher quality effluent, good disinfection capacity and the capacity to support a higher volumetric load. In addition, treatment plants require less space.

INTEXTER researchers state that “a mixed technique using both technologies could be very effective to treat wastewater from the textile industry and reuse the effluent in new dyeing processes”. For the REGIREU project, a pilot plant has been designed and built that combines MBBR and MBR to obtain high quality effluent (low organic load, a lower quantity of suspended solids and cleaner) that is suitable for reuse in textile dyeing processes. 

In this activity, INTEXTER collaborates with an SME for water treatment, BIOFIL; a textile company, Acabats del Bages; and Eurecat-CTM. The project has a total budget of 2.2 million euros and is developed within the framework of the RIS3CAT Community of Water and the European Union with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).