Environmental Protection

Spanish City Upgrades Wastewater Treatment Plant

Ávila, Spain will be using GE’s ZeeWeed 500D membrane bioreactor technology to double the amount of water and improve the quality of effluent water without increasing the facility’s footprint.

The city of Ávila, Spain will install GE’s ZeeWeed 500D ultrafiltration membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology to double the amount of water treated at its existing wastewater treatment plant. The city chose to upgrade the facility with MBR technology to increase the capacity and to comply with new regulations for nutrient removal while keeping the same footprint and reusing most of the existing infrastructure.

The original wastewater treatment plant was constructed in 1991 to service 190,000 inhabitants with a 30 million liter per day (MLD) average daily flow. However, due to new regulations, the discharge area of the Cogotas water reservoir was classified as a “sensitive area,” meaning that the new parameters are more restricted on effluent quality and require reductions in nitrogen and phosphorous.

“More and more municipalities are searching for solutions to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption and costs, while getting the highest quality effluent possible. Our ZeeWeed technology will enable the Ávila wastewater treatment plant to remove pollutants, including nutrients, and increase the amount of water treated daily,” said Yuvbir Singh, general manager, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.

The upgrade of the plant’s wastewater treatment processes with the GE MBR technology features four ZeeWeed 500D trains and 32 cassettes. A fifth train is designed for the future expansion. All together this will expand the plant’s treatment capacity to 37 MLD and improve the region’s quality of water.

Ultrafiltration is the use of a pressure-driven barrier to the suspended solids, bacteria, viruses, endotoxins, and other pathogens in water to produce treated water with very high purity and low silt density. It serves as a pretreatment for surface water, seawater and biologically treated municipal effluent before reverse osmosis and other membrane water-treatment systems. Ultrafiltration also is used in industry to separate suspended solids from solution.

Xylem Water Solutions and GE jointly developed the project and assisted on the technical specifications. The facility is expected to begin commercial operation in summer 2013, when it will be the second largest ZeeWeed MBR plant in operation in Spain.

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