Sludge-free, odour-free and low energy: What’s not to like about pond innovation?

Gurney Environmental says its Accel-o-Fac treatment system, which builds on the technique of facultative lagoons, can offer advantages such as low energy and an absence of sludge or odour, plus reduced operating costs. Here, the firm summarises key aspects of a recent project, a wastewater treatment plant in rural Norfolk.

The Holkham Estate plant was considered a candidate for using wind power, an option that helps keep operating and lifetime expenses low.

The Accel-o-Fac® wastewater treatment plant in question serves the Victoria Inn and village at Holkham in Norfolk and has been treating sewage since the spring of 2006 with almost no significant ongoing operating costs.
The Holkham Estate, owned by the Earl of Leicester, includes the Victoria Inn, which is popular with tourists. Previously, the village had been served by septic tanks requiring regular emptying. The Estate had a choice of either sending the sewage to the nearby water company’s treatment works via pipeline, remain on septic tanks or treat their own wastewater. The appeal of the unique Accel-o-Fac® solution was low energy, no sludge or odour, and effluent water of a quality appropriate for either discharge or potential irrigation reuse on the Estate.

Simple, low maintenance operation

After careful consideration of options, the Estate elected to use the Accel-o-Fac® wind-powered system to keep ongoing operating and total lifetime expenses (TOTEX) at a minimum.
The plant also includes a simple Septic Reception Station to accommodate septic tanks from the Estate. All septage and solids are transferred to the new Accel-o-Fac® primary cell for treatment and digestion of the sludge.  The system is simple, odour free and inexpensive to operate.
One of the key priorities of the system for Holkham was the needfor very little operator attention. There has been almost nothing for an operator to do at the plant this last decade short of mowing the grass in the summer. Equipment maintenance includes inspections every 3-4 months. Not much else is required, making the operator’s job truly part time!
Stephen Twyford from the Estate’s Land & Property Department commented: “The installation of the Accel-o-Fac sewage treatment system at Holkham in 2006 enforced our ethos of becoming an environmentally sustainable Estate and Community.
“The system continues to provide a low cost and low maintenance solution to wastewater treatment for Holkham Village with additional capacity for any needed future increase.”
Mr Twyford went on to say, “The fact that there is no associated sewage odours meant that the system could be located relatively near to the village, and, after 10 years of use, no sludge removal has been needed.”

Water re-use possibilities

There was another advantage to this option. By providing a superior, more stabilised effluent, the Accel-o-Fac® system provides irrigation quality water at an extraordinarily low cost.
The Holkham system underscores the sustainability of Gurney Environmental treatment systems for the UK and other markets.
Elimination of sludge lorries, zero-to-low energy usage, little manpower required, few mechanicals involved — all spells a timetested, environmentally conscious and sustainable method for treatment of wastewater.

Facultative process

Accel-o-Fac is based on the tried and proven facultative biological process. Facultative lagoons are a type of stabilization pond used for biological treatment of industrial and domestic wastewater.
Sewage or organic waste from food or fibre processing may be catabolized in a system of constructed ponds where adequate space is available to provide an average waste retention time exceeding a month. A series of ponds prevents mixing of untreated waste with treated wastewater and allows better control of waste residence time for uniform treatment efficiency.