Saskatoon makes national wastewater history

SASKATOON – It’s partnership with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. has put Saskatoon ahead of the rest of Canada.

A commercial nutrient recovery facility was launched on Wednesday at the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saskatoon.

The technology is good for not only the environment, but for taxpayers.

“We were the first ones to take this step, other cities can wait and say well we will check how it’s going to be or following behind us shortly but we were the first ones to get there,” said Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison.

“I think that’s really important to let the public know that we are taking the environment very very seriously and this is just another way of dealing with it.”

The city partnered with Ostara to recover nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen from the wastewater and transform it into Crystal Green, a slow-release and highly enhanced efficiency fertilizer.

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The process will also add years of service to the plant.

“To us this project makes absolute nothing but great financial sense for us, not only does it reduce the risk of a struvite choke off in the plant, it actually improves the pipes that are there now and it will draw the struvite from the system and give us back capacity in the plant, so there’s nothing but upside for the city,” said Jeff Jorgenson, utility services general manager.

Canadian-based Ostara has been marketing its product in the United States since 2009 and now it will market the fertilizer here in this country.

“We work with blender distributors throughout North America, so these are companies that will take this product because this is a high phosphorous containing fertilizer with nitrogen magnesium and they blend it with other materials to make a finished product to blend and then they sell that to their end customers,” said Phillip Abrary, Ostara president and CEO.

The project cost $4.7 million and between 240 and 350 tons of Crystal Green is expected to be produced annually.

The revenue will be shared with the city to offset operating costs.