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Gurney Environmental’s low-carbon footprint Nature Based Solutions offer superior performance, no CSOs or odour & long-term low cost problem resolution.

In 2023 two Scottish Water Aero-Fac® wastewater treatment plants on the Scottish islands of Mull and Islay received a factory retrofit and service, their first full factory servicing. Seventeen years ago in 2007 the then new Aero-Fac® wastewater treatment plant was commissioned for the very popular tourist town of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, backdrop for the BBC Children’s TV series Balamory (2002-2008). Going against the trend for ever more compact treatment options, Scottish Water decided that sustainability and low carbon footprint should be of more importance than small physical footprint. Requiring a little more land than traditional activated sludge treatment plants, the Aero-Fac fully biological process is a low energy, low maintenance nature-based wastewater treatment system that utilises renewable wind power to minimise electricity requirements. The process also has the benefit of eliminating sludge production, regulation and handling, dramatically cutting it’s environmental impact when compared to more traditional sewage treatment plants.

The new plant at Tobermory was Scottish Water’s second Aero-Fac® plant and followed the pioneering installation of a similar system at Errol six years earlier in 2001. A third Aero-Fac® WwTP at Bowmore on the nearby island of Islay was later commissioned in 2008. With both the Tobermory and Bowmore plants, Scottish Water reduced the significant environmental costs of treating sewage by removing the previous requirement to export sludge back to the mainland for disposal. The new Aero-Fac® plants also incorporate septage reception centres designed to accommodate septic tank sludge collected from right across the islands. The septic tank sludge is completely digested within Aero-Fac® eliminating the need for tanker trips back to the mainland.

In a recently published special edition of CLEAN WATER you’ll read how back in the late 1990s when Tayside Water (later merged into North of Scotland Water and eventually Scottish Water) first enquired about the possible use of Aero-Fac® for the town of Errol near Dundee, there was little industry discussion of carbon footprint, CSO/storm overflows and climate change challenges. Don McClean and the team at Tayside were interested in the technology essentially for its simplicity, low energy costs by using renewable wind power and lesser need for manpower, maintenance and its projected sustainability and total life-time cost.

NoSWA began work with Montgomery-Watson Projects (now Stantec) to evaluate the Aero-Fac® technology — then new-to-the-UK and a significant departure from the previously favoured options — to determine the benefits as opposed to traditional activated sludge options. 22+ years later, the numerous benefits and cost savings identified back in 1999-2000 (see below) have been more than accomplished for Scottish Water at each of these three Aero-Fac® WwTPs.

Meeting the Challenges of Climate Change

Aero-Fac® is uniquely suited to cost-effectively meet the challenges of projected growth and loading/flow swings (including CSOs), whilst also having an extremely low carbon footprint, dramatic energy savings, no sludge production, regulation or handling costs and complexities, plus energy-free disinfection, thereby making effluent suitable for irrigation water re-use or safe-bathing waters whether discharged to river or sea — or, as is the case with Errol, to the sensitive Tay Estuary reed area.

2021 marked 20 years of successful operation for the Errol WwTP, a typical “life” for a WwTP. In 2023, Scottish Water engaged Gurney Environmental, the supplier of the Aero-Fac® system, to perform a relatively inexpensive 20-year expansion and refurbishment of the Errol treatment works to accommodate a 50% increase in load and anticipated growth for the next 20 years of operations. Scottish Water also elected to have Gurney Environmental do an inexpensive thorough refresh of the Tobermory and Bowmore Aero-Fac® WwTPs as well in 2023.

 

 

23 Years of Consistent Service for Scottish Water Utilising a Nature Based Solution.

Constructing The UK’s First Aero-Fac® Nature Based Solution WwTP in 2000-2001.

news Errol CW cover angled 800In the recently released edition of CLEAN WATER, you’ll read how back in the late 1990s when Tayside Water (later merged into North of Scotland Water and eventually Scottish Water) first enquired about the possible use of Aero-Fac® for the local town of Errol, there was little discussion of carbon footprint, CSO/storm overflows and climate change challenges. Don McClean and the team at Tayside were interested in the technology essentially for its simplicity, low energy using wind power and lesser need for manpower, maintenance and its projected sustainability and total life-time cost.

CLICK HERE to View or Download CLEAN WATER

NoSWA began work with Montgomery-Watson Projects (now Stantec) to evaluate the Aero-Fac® technology — new-to-the-UK and a significant departure from the previously favoured options — to determine the benefits as opposed to traditional activated sludge options. 22+ years later, the numerous benefits and cost savings identified back in 1999-2000 (see below) have been more than accomplished for Scottish Water.

 

22+ Years With No Sludge. No CSOs. Low Energy. Low Carbon Footprint. Low Manpower & Maintenance. No Odour. Full Discharge Compliance and a 40-Year Life!

The Errol Aero-Fac® Nature Based WwTP has been refurbished and expanded for another 20 years (40 years total life) of extremely low OPEX and Low Carbon Footprint operations for Scottish Water, all for a minimal cost.

In reporting on the 20-year track record of service and performance of the Errol Aero-Fac® WwTP, Scottish Water’s Robert Dey had this to say:

"[Aero-Fac®] offered high process performance, but with low OPEX costs compared to a traditional plant, both in terms of operator attendance, maintenance and power usage, and in the fact the plant only needed sludge removal at intervals of several decades.

“In the 20 years since the plant was brought into service, it has indeed had both low maintenance costs, and low operator input. At the last testing it has been found to have very low sludge build up and at this anniversary, there has had to be no consideration of emptying to remove sludge build-up. We have never had any odour complaints at Errol. In tandem, it has given consistent performance with a 100% record in terms of compliance with consent conditions.

“Another important element of the Aero-Fac® system was low energy costs and with the wind-driven SERIES 3 aerators augmenting the mains-powered blowers, it has reduced the potential energy costs. Although it was not such a high consideration 20 years ago, Errol also supports Scottish Water’s moves to becoming carbon neutral.”

Dey went on to say, “The Aero-Fac® system also uses much less concrete than traditional forms of construction. The aforementioned reduction in OPEX costs and the renewable energy element means that in both CAPEX and OPEX terms, the Aero-Fac® system accords with Scottish Water’s carbon-neutral vision.”

 

The Search for Sustainability

When initial costs, ongoing 20-year costs, plus Carbon Footprint considerations are all examined in order to make the best decisions for wastewater treatment, what is considered a “greener”, Nature Based System like Aero-Fac® can truly offer well documented and well proven significant long-term cost and performance advantages.

READ THE FULL STORY IN THE FREE DOWNLOAD OF CLEAN WATER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several Unique Nature Based Wastewater Treatment Solutions from Gurney Environmental

Gurney Environmental offer several complete Nature Based Solutions as well as specialised equipment that include:

    • Full 100% treatment, standalone solutions (Aero-Fac® and Accel-o-Fac®);
    • Pretreatment systems to solve issues and expand existing filter plants (Aero-Fac PTS); and
    • Standalone sludge digestion systems (Aero-Fac SDS).

The very unique and economical Accel-o-Fac® system, as an example, utilises a mostly windpowered option to offer 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 17 years in the UK at such locations as Holkham Hall and Village.

READ MORE about our technologies here.

 

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Excellence & Awards


  • Net Zero Carbon Initiative Finalist
    Stantec & Yorkshire Water Finalists in 2023 Water Industry Awards for the Withernsea Aero-Fac® WwTP

  • ICE Award
    The Withernsea Aero-Fac® WwTP has won the 2023 Institution of Civil Engineering's Edmund Hambly Medal (Design for sustainable development).

  • Green 100
    Gurney Environmental has been named a Green 100 company for Norfolk and Suffolk, England.

  • Certificate of Accreditation
    Gurney Environmental has been awarded a certificate of accreditation within the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS) having demonstrated compliance with and sound management of current basic health and safety legislation.

  • Business Award
    Gurney Environmental were awarded a finalists place in Eastern Daily News Business Awards 17, a UK regional newspaper's business awards event.

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