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Following 4 years of joint work by Yorkshire Water, Gurney Environmental and Stantec, the new Aero-Fac® WwTP at Withernsea will be a significant departure from the past and resolve an issue that can be difficult to handle with conventional wastewater treatment options.

Large Swings in PE & Loading

Yorkshire Water’s new wastewater treatment plant needs to handle a population equivalent (PE) from 7,100 up to a projected summer tourism PE of 14,713. The originally considered activated sludge plant design would have had a difficult time coping with this type of loading variation and 20-year growth, requiring increased costs and operational complexity. Gurney Environmental and Stantec worked with Yorkshire Water to develop Yorkshire's first Aero-Fac® system, a truly cost-effective and sustainable WwTP designed to handle the significant loading swings with little operator attention or typical cost and complexity.

Meeting the Challenge

Aero-Fac® is uniquely suited to cost-effectively meet the design challenges of projected growth and loading/flow swings, whilst also having an extremely low carbon footprint, dramatic energy savings, no sludge production or handling, plus energy-free disinfection, thereby making effluent suitable for irrigation water re-use or safe-bathing waters whether discharged to river or sea.

Aero-Fac® systems such as the one currently under construction for Withernsea can be designed to sustainably handle massive flow/loading swings, and/or extraordinary growth over the life of the WwTP.

      • The all-stainless diffused air system is designed to normally be in the off-state, activated automatically by a dissolved oxygen monitor only when required by increased demand.
      • The diffusers are self-cleaning and require virtually no routine maintenance. The low-pressure fan blowers have a very low wear factor with minor ongoing routine maintenance.
      • The Aero-Fac® WwTP is also equipped with wind-powered SERIES 3 aerator/mixers that provide constant aeration and balanced loading throughout the treatment cells with zero-to-low energy costs. These units provide the supplemental oxygen and overall cell optimisation for early-years or off-peak low-flow/load situations.
      • When oxygen demand exceeds their capability, the powerful diffused air system automatically kicks in to handle larger flows/loads when and if needed. news yorkshire aero flexibility chart

The new Aero-Fac® WwTP is designed to
handle up to 2X load swings due to tourism.

The Search for Sustainability

Yorkshire Water had spent considerable time and effort researching various options, but saw excellent benefits from the well-proven and time-tested Aero-Fac® technology. Yorkshire Water’s Communications Advisor John Bond had this to say:

Our proposal is a step away from traditional treatment works and means we are opting for a much greener, more environmentally friendly option. The new proposal means construction times will be reduced, traffic movements can be minimised and once finished, the site will be virtually noise free. In addition, visual impacts and the risk of odour will be greatly reduced.

Time-Proven Technologies

Yorkshire Water’s Bond continued:

“Our existing facility in Hollym, near Withernsea needs to be replaced as it is now only 40 metres from the sea due to rapid coastal erosion in the area. By building a new treatment facility inland, we’re able to look at new, alternative options for treating the town's wastewater, and we feel Gurney Environmental’s experience and track record provide us with the best solution for both ourselves and our customers for the future.”


Several Unique Wastewater Treatment Solutions from Gurney Environmental

Gurney Environmental offer several systems and variations of the Aero-Fac® system that include:

    1. Full treatment, standalone solutions (Aero-Fac® and Accel-o-Fac®);
    2. Pretreatment systems to solve issues and expand existing filter plants (Aero-Fac® PTS); and
    3. Standalone sludge digestion systems (Aero-Fac® SDS).

The very unique and economical Accel-o-Fac® system, as an example, offers a zero-to-low energy solution that provides incredibly low OPEX with very low initial CAPEX. In many cases, no energy costs plus no sludge handling costs or complexities make Accel-o-Fac® extraordinarily sustainable and economical initially and long-term. Accel-o-Fac® has been used for over a decade in the UK at such locations as Holkham Hall and Village.