Saturday, February 20, 2010

Water Research Facility at Tuam

This afternoon,  I spent a few hours visiting the recently opened Water Research Facility at Tuam this afternoon,  hosted by Dr Michael Rodgers and Dr Eoghan Clifford,  both of the Department of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway.

The WRF is co-funded by NUI Galway and the EPA and with critical support from Galway County Council.   The research plant can treat waste water for a town's population equivalent of up to 400 people.

The WRF is based on pumped flow biofilm,  developed and patented at NUI Galway.   Aeration is achieved by alternatively exposing the biofilm in each of two reactor tanks to atmospheric air.   The system has extremely low running costs,  and very easy maintenance.  It has low sludge yield and easily exceeds the mandated EU waste water discharge limits.

Alongside the WRF there is a demonstration unit of a horizontal flow biofilm system,  suitable for domestic or farm use.   There is also an impressive remote monitoring and mobile control unit - a self contained enclosed trailer enabling remote sampling and monitoring of water quality,  for commercial and research use by local authorities and other agencies.

It is interesting to see novel innovation in waste water management,  with both low capital and (extremely low) operational expenditures,  and I trust the commercialisation of the technology will be highly fruitful.

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