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    LIFE NECOVERY Layman’s report now available

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Actions and project development

“The LIFE NECOVERY project was divided into technical,  monitoring project, management and communication actions”



In this group, were included:

a) the preliminary and implementation actions required to define, design and ensemble the prototype, b) the demonstrative trials on-site, c) the actions of technical, economic and environmental assessment.

In Figure 2, the scheme of the proposed WWTP flowsheet and technical tasks are shown. These actions are also listed below.

A1. Definition of the configuration and basic prototype flowsheet

A1.1 Selection of WWTP and characterization of the streams of the WWTP

WWTP selection: medium WWTP with primary settler, biological reactor and AD

    • Recompilation of historical operational data.
    • Sampling campaign: Influent/Effluent: SS, COD, BOD5, TKN, NH4-N, TP, PO4-P and its speciation (particulate, colloidal or dissolved).                       

A1.2 Selection and basic design of the overall flowsheet

Definition of the final overall flowsheet.



B1. Pre-concentration unit design

CEPT-biosorption pre-concentration technique:

  • Biological adsorption: physical uptake of pollutant by microbial cells. Aerobic reactor (low SRT, high sludge loading rate) + settling tank.
  • CEPT -> addition of iron salts to primary sedimentation basins.


Achieve an acceptable level of SS in the up-concentration effluent adapted to nutrient recovery unit + obtain concentrated organic PS for AD.



B2. Advanced digestion unit design


  • Anaerobic digester
  • Extra separation step  àcentrifuge.
  • Struvite reactor àaddition of industrial Mg sources.


  • Maximise biogas production.
  • Concentrated digestate to be used as natural stable fertiliser.
  • Maximise N-P recovery from supernatant.



B3. Nutrient recovery design to treat the up-concentration effluent


  • CoagulationàIron addition to recover P.
  • Ultrafiltration -> removal of SS and the coagulated P to protect zeolites.
  • Adsorption with zeolites àadsorption of soluble COD

Proposed configuration were validated by:

  • Literature research, contact with technology suppliers, tests at Avecom site of different zeolites and coagulants,etc. Criteria: low energy consumption and N/P recovery




B4. Construction and assembly of the different prototypes devices

  • Selection of providers
  • Construction and assembly of the pilot considering design done in A1, B1, B2 and B3.
  • Integration of the pilot in Vilanova WWTP.
  • Start-up of the pilot carried out by CETaqua with the support of Avecom in pre-concentration and AD units.
    • Hydraulic tests of each module.
    • Start up of each module and the total treatment train.



B5. Operation of the full system

B5.1 Operation of the integrated system and data collection.

    • Production of data to calculate its main features and acquire experience about the integrated process and its operation.
    • Several conditions tested to assess:
        • COD, BOD5, SS, N, P removal capacity of the up-concentration unit.
        • Biogas production.
        • N/P recovery capacity by struvite precipitation.
        • N capacity adsorption of zeolites,  etc.

B5.2 Technical assessment.

Global efficiency was assessed according to several criteria comprising at least: technical efficiency,energy consumption, maintenance and durability of equipment and chemicals consumption.



B6. Energetic balance, environmental and economic benefits assessment

B6.1 Energetic balance

    • Assessment of the energy balance considering two proposed recycling routes for sludge (fuel/compost) and its integration in the full system. (Digested sludge can have different properties than CASàselection of the most appropiate valorisation route).
    • Assessment of the overall energy balance and comparison with a conventional WWTP.

B6.2 Environmental impact assessment.

    • Assessment of the environmental impact and the benefits of a plant including the system developed in this project, in comparison with a reference configuration àLCA methodology.

B6.3. Economic evaluation through a LCC analysis.

    • Assessment of the economic benefits, in monetary terms, of the new flowsheet, compared with the conventional ones

a) LCC methodology

b) Creation of cost functions and models for  general evaluations



B7. Viability assessment and implementation strategies for WWTPs

  • Viability assessment of the full system to determine the potential for future development and implementation of the flowsheet.
  • Identification of application strategies.

Cases study assessment

    • Large WWTP with primary treatment and AD (PE>100,000 )
    • Medium WWTP without AD (40,000 -100,000 PE)
    • WWTP with a highly loaded first step and a lowly loaded second step.
    • Retrofitting of existing WWTPs that have to deal with considerably increasing loads.
    • Construction of new WWTPs.




Figure 2. Scheme of the proposed WWTP flowsheet and technical tasks


This second group included all the actions related to project monitoring, management and communication tasks. They are listed below.

C1. Monitoring of the effectiveness and the impact of the project actions

C1.1. Monitoring approach

C1.2. Efectiveness  indicators

C1.3. Impact indicators



D1. Communication and dissemination

D1.1. Communication plan

D1.2. Logo and applications

D1.3. Project website

D1.4. Leaflet

D1.5. Notice board and stickers

D1.6. Brochure

D1.7. Layman’s report

D1.8. Video

D1.9. Media

D1.10. Awareness manual

D1.11. Workshop organisation

D1.12. Organisation of visits and presentations

D1.13. Dissemination in workshops and conferences

D1.14. Communication database

D1.15. Dissemination through the LIFE+ external communication team



E1. Project management

E1.1. Project management structure

E1.2. Project management methods

E1.3. Project management tools

E1.4. Progress monitoring methods

E1.5. Quality control

E1.6. Management of legal aspects

E1.7. Independent external audit



E2. Networking with other projects

E2.1. Networking group

E2.2. Meetings, events and conferences



E3. After-LIFE communication plan

E3.1. Target audience

E3.2. Actions: website, seminars/workshop, video