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WASTEWATER IS A RESOURCE TOO As technology improves, experts are recovering energy, nutrients and other valuable things from wastewater. The Walt Disney World Resort has embraced this innovative development. By Michael Rothenborg and Martin Zoffmann

A MODERN PLANT CARVED INTO FINNISH BEDROCK The plant in Blominmäki in Finland will not only treat wastewater but also produce energy. Surplus heat from the plant will be recovered from treated wastewater, and electricity produced from biogas generated in the anaerobic digestion facilities will meet more than the half of the plant’s total electricity requirement. Ramboll is assisting on the project with a range of services.


rom a necessary evil to a valuable resource. The status of wastewater has improved tremendously over the past few years. This is mainly because water and wastewater treatment (W&WT) plants have become more efficient and innovative, enhancing their processes and thus maximising output use by recovering energy and nutrients, recuperating organic matter and producing clean, reusable water – sometimes even drinkable. “These plants are becoming multifunctional: The original prime function is, of course, to improve public health. The biggest new value is good water resource management and a healthy natural water ecosystem,” says Mark van Loosdrecht, Professor of Environmental Biotechnology and Wastewater Engineering at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. He adds that energy recovery can sometimes also be a good business case – for example, when it reduces the cost of sludge disposal. Moreover, he points out that systems that truly generate income from wastewater treatment

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