Wastewater Treatment & Resource Recovery

The UWTC has a unique focus on the interface between scientific and technological research and addressing the challenges of the industry.  The Centre developed from the activities of a group of staff carrying out research and consultancy work associated with wastewater and environmental management.  This has resulted in valuable links being established between academia and industry, which continue to be expanded and reinforced.

The research team has strengths in the areas of environmental technology, specialising in engineering applications of biological, physical, and chemical processes for the control and abatement of environmental pollutants, and recovery of resources and energy from waste streams.

Some of the key areas of expertise and competencies that exist within the centre include:

  • Wastewater treatment
    • Rehabilitation of treatment plants
    • Augmentation of existing treatment plants
    • Wastewater treatment process modelling
  • Solid waste treatment
    • Landfill emission modelling
    • Resource recovery from waste
    • AD process control and design
The Centre's stated mission is to provide a service to the water industry (in the UK and overseas) in three main areas: research, academic and consultancy.  In the many projects carried out to date the details on consultancy, research activities and opportunities for education and training are listed below.

Consultancy

UWTC has provided consultancy services to a wide range of clients ranging from private landowners with small onsite wastewater treatment systems to the main UK and Scottish water utility companies operating large treatment works.  Some of the clients have included:

Scottish Water SEPA
Veolia Private developers
United Utilities Morrison's Construction
Catchment Ltd Royal Haskoning
Scottish Outdoor Education Centres Perthshire Housing Association

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consultancy activities:

UWTC can provide a range of consultancy services. Details on some of our key activities are listed below with examples of selected consultancy projects:

  • Upgrading of small sewage treatment plants for water companies and private developers
Ex: Upgrading of small sewage treatment plants (with East of Scotland Water Authority and North of Scotland Water Authority (both now known as Scottish Water)).
  • Design of new sewage treatment plants
Ex: Process consultant for a new sewage treatment plant at Penicuik (with White Young Green Consulting Engineers and East of Scotland Water Authority.
  • Process analysis and optimisation for wastewater treatment plants
Ex: Process analysis and optimisation of Urquhart Castle wastewater treatment plant. Clients: Morrisons Construction & Waste Solutions Group.
 
Ex: Process optimisation of an ecological wastewater treatment plant for Belmont Centre, Miegle. Client: Scottish Outdoor Education Centres, Biggar.
 
Ex: Assessment of Glenalmond College Sewage Treatment Plant. Client: McEachern MacDuff Architects, Stirling.
 
Ex: Management of odour control in small wastewater treatment plant in Balinuig. Client: Perthshire Housing Association, Perth.
  • Bespoke treatment processes
Ex: Design of Tyock Burn (Elgin) Realignment, redesigning a river channel passing through Elgin city centre, to include 'on-line' treatment. Client: Royal Haskoning.
 
If you would like more information on consultancy services available through UWTC, please contact us at uwtc@abertay.ac.uk

Research

Our research interests cover a range of themes related to environmental management and wastewater treatment, with specific focus on areas of environmental technology, specialising in engineering application of biological, physical and chemical processes for the control and abatement of environmental pollutants, and in the production of bio-energy.

Our research focusses on:

  • Identification, characterisation, manipulation and modelling of microbial interactions associated with the biodegradation of organic carbon and nitrogenous compounds, leading to the optimisation and/or development of pollution abatement technologies.
  • Exploring the characteristics of the complex microbial community with the aims of developing new (and improving existing) engineered technologies for harnessing beneficial products from municipal and industrial waste materials e.g. organic fertiliser and bio-energy production organic residuals.
  • Solving common environmental problems, primarily for reduction of adverse impacts i.e. treatment of sewage, municipal and industrial waste, water treatment.

Affiliations:

Abertay University is one of 13 Scottish higher education institutions involved in the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), a £10m, 5 year project to support innovation in industrial biotechnology across Scotland.

Abertay is also a key member of the Scottish Biofuel Programme, a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Project with five academic partners including Scottish Agricultural College, Scottish Association of Marine Sciences, Napier University and Universities of Edinburgh and Abertay. This project enables Scottish businesses to access the full range of expertise and thus outcomes from the available biofuel solution toolkit to lower waste disposal costs and introduce new income streams through innovation.

Example research and knowledge transfer projects:

Some examples of the current and past research and knowledge transfer projects we have been involved in include:

  • Validation of a filtering system for starch (KTP - Ivan Wood & Sons)
  • Practical measures for reducing phosphorus and faecal microbial loads from onsite wastewater treatment system discharges to the environment (CREW)
  • Study to support the evaluation of the use of phosphates in Consumer Automatic Dishwasher Detergents (CADD). Leading organisation: Bio Intelligent Service, Paris, France (Director General Enterprise & Industry)
  • Seaweed anaerobic digestion (UK Government/ITI Energy)
  • Development of sustainable clean technologies for the management of organic residuals from the distillery industry (KTP - Diageo Plc)
  • Assisting industries in the development of biogas projects in Scotland (SBP)
  • Thermal hydrolysis for anaerobic digestion; Anaerobic digestion of pyrolysis oils and gas (in collaboration with UK Biochar Research Centre, Edinburgh)
  • Evaluation of Water Treatment Technology for Small to Medium Sized Rural Community Use (CREW)
  • Bespoke solution for wastewater treatment plants (Private client)
  • Phosphate removal from wastewater by recycled gypsum treatment (Interface/First Option Services)
  • Dundee Riverside Landfill decay modelling (Dundee City Council) (http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/dundee/riverside-nature-park-could-be-open-by-summer-1.40706)
  • Investigating the hydrolytic effects of microbial enzymes in improving sludge and solid waste digestion (Scottish Government/SCORE Programme)
  • Development of high solids municipal waste digestion system and investigation of the soil enhancing properties of the digestate in partnership with The James Hutton Institute (Dundee City Council)
  • Development of Granular Bed Baffled Reactor (GRABBR), which is an innovative anaerobic wastewater treatment technology. Pilot trials funded by Tennent's Brewery, Glasgow
  • Development of two 'package' wastewater treatment systems for low wastewater flows. Funded by Balmoral Group, Aberdeen. The systems have been marketed by the company since 1998. This project resulted in the creation of the BALMORAL PRIZE (1998-present) awarded yearly to the Best Graduating Student on the University's MSc Environment Programme.

Current PhD projects:

  • Developing a framework for sustainable groundwater quality management in developing countries
  • Biochemical analysis of wetland systems treating domestic wastewater
  • Hospital wastewater treatment and management
  • Development of low cost technologies for treatment of wastewater for reuse
  • Groundwater quality assessment in rural communities in Saudi Arabia
  • Bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soils and surface waters by microbial formulation and locally available bacteria nutrient supplements
  • Examination and management of human African trypanosomiasis propagation using geospatial techniques
  • Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) and its impact on groundwater pollution in urban areas
  • SuDS for Roads - transitioning into a more sustainable urban surface water management system for roads
  • Water quality impacts of surface water discharges from urban areas
  • Developing a diffuse pollution control strategy
  • Analysis of the stress factors in the operation of water networks in arid countries

Education and Training

There are many opportunities for Learning with the UWTC ranging from bespoke professional development and technical short courses, to a structured one year MSc/PGDip in Energy, Water and Environmental Management, to postgraduate research at MRes and PhD level.

Professional and Technical Training:

We can provide practical and CPD oriented workshops for technical and professional staff tailored to your needs. Short and continuous development courses we have offered in the past include:

Small and medium sized businesses

  • Environmental Management courses

Water utilities (i.e. United Utilities, Scottish Water)

  • Training for Water Industry Operatives
  • Water and Environmental Management courses
  • Environmental Awareness for Wastewater Treatment Plant Operations

Environmental regulators (i.e. SEPA)

  • Issues in Environmental Law & Policy for the Oil & Gas Industry (with the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, Dundee University)

International clients

  • Developing Capacity in Water Management (Africa)
  • Operating & Managing Water Utilities & Sanitation Infrastructure (Africa)
  • Environmental Management, Tanzania
  • Water Distribution Network Expansion (Africa)
  • Water Augmentation & Rehabilitation (Africa)
  • Effective Environmental Regulation in the Tanzanian Mining Sector
  • Strategic Financial Performance Analysis & Benchmarking
  • Business Planning for Water Supply & Sewerage Utilities (Africa)
  • Water Sector Policy Analysis and Reform Strategy (Africa)
  • Health & Safety Course (Nigerian public sector organisations)

Bespoke training courses be developed to individual client requirements. Please contact uwtc@abertay.ac.uk for further details.

Postgraduate Studies:

MSc/PGDip Energy, Water and Environmental Management

Abertay University offers a full time MSc course that focusses on the key sustainability issues such as depletion of natural resources, maximising energy usage and reducing environmental impacts of business and industry.  The course provides participating students with informative lectures and seminars that provide the baseline knowledge that is then applied to real life situations using group work and a full dissertation on a selected environmental topic.

Research Degree Opportunities:

The Urban Water Technology Centre has research degree opportunities focused on specific areas of study related to environmental technology, specialising in engineering application of biological, physical and chemical processes for the control and abatement of environmental pollutants, and in the production of bio-energy.

Some examples of the research topics that have been defended at PhD level are described below:

  • Investigating factors affecting the anaerobic digestion of seaweed: modelling and experimental approaches
  • Analysis of key requirements for effective implementation of biogas technology for municipal solid waste management in Sub Saharan Africa. A case study of Kigali City, Rwanda
  • Optimisation of anaerobic digestion of organic solid waste for the production of quality compost for soil amendment
  • Carbon and nitrogen removal in a granular bed baffled reactor

Provisional thesis titles of PhD students currently being supervised include:

  • Hospital wastewater treatment and management
  • Development of low cost technologies for treatment of wastewater for reuse
  • Groundwater quality assessment in rural communities in Saudi Arabia
  • Bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soils and surface waters by Microbial formulation and locally available bacteria nutrient supplements
  • Examination and management of human African trypanosomiasis propagation using geospatial techniques
  • Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) and its impact on groundwater pollution in urban areas
  • SUDS for roads - transitioning into a more sustainable urban surface water management system for roads
  • Water quality impacts of surface water discharges from urban areas
  • Developing a Diffuse Pollution Control Strategy
  • Analysis of the stress factors in the operation of water networks in arid countries