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Client: Yorkshire Water, Withernsea, UK
Date: July 15, 2021
Info: Municipal WwTP

Yorkshire Water's first new WwTP in many years is a No-Odour, No Sludge Aero-Fac® WwTP for the area around Withernsea. The new 15,000 population equivelant (PE) WwTP has been successfully treating sewage whilst automatically handling flow/loading fluctuations of up to 2x due to local tourism, all with very low energy, lower carbon footprint and little routine maintenance.

15,000 PE Aero-Fac® Routinely Handles 2x Peak Loads/Flows With No Operator Intervention, No Odour and No Sludge.
Award Winning & Time Tested!

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Always-on Zero-to-Low Energy windpowered aeration is supplented by loading activated diffused air.

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Startup, commissioning and operation of the new Aero-Fac® WwTP at Withernsea was completed in 2021 after 4 years of joint study and planning by Yorkshire Water, Gurney Environmental and Stantec. 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 that has been successfully used elsewhere in England and Scotland over the past two decades.

Over twenty years ago in 2000, Montgomery Watson Projects (now Stantec) constructed the first Aero-Fac® WwTP in the UK for Tayside Regional Council/North of Scotland Water Authority (NoSWA) at Errol, Scotland. In 2019 Gurney Environmental Ltd and Stantec worked with Yorkshire Water to develop Yorkshire's 15,000 PE WwTP at Withernsea that at the time of construction was the largest Aero-Fac® WwTP in the UK, and was selected in place of the activated sludge plant that had been initially proposed.

Aero-Fac® Provides Extraordinary Flow Variation Capability

The designers at Gurney Environmental developed this Aero-Fac® wastewater system for Yorkshire Water to meet a winter population of about 7,100, but rising to a summer population of about 14,713! This dramatic doubling in flow from winter to summer can create serious issues for many WwTP designs.

In the analysis by Yorkshire Water, Aero-Fac® offered a well-proven and time-tested system with the flexibility and robustness of operation to be able to cost-effectively and easily accommodate this large flow variation.

Significant OPEX Cost Reductions

While Aero-Fac® handles massive flow variations without significant operator intervention, the unique wastewater treatment system also utilises always-operating renewable wind energy for constant aeration plus an extremely low operating and maintenance cost loading-activated diffused air aeration system when needed. Total annual operating costs are typically around 85% less than conventional activated sludge systems.

Aero-Fac® also requires no sludge handling, removal, testing or disposal by completely self-digesting sludge within the system itself, thereby providing a truly long-term sustainable, low TOTEX, complete and total on-site solution.

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.”

Selecting The Best “Total-Life-Cost” Solution

Bond went on to say, “In addition, visual impacts and the risk of odour will be greatly reduced. 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.”

Enhanced, Lower-cost Disinfection

As an example of a “greener”, lower maintenance and cost approach, the UV system typically required by the Environment Agency was engineered out of the Withernsea WwTP as a result of monitoring carried out by Stantec at other Aero-Fac® wastewater treatment plants around the UK that demonstrated that the wwtp had met the discharge requirements without the need for UV.

The unique combination of inherent disinfection provided by stabilisation ponds, enhanced by the continual gentle mixing provided by Gurney Environmental's unique wind powered SERIES 3 aerator/mixers ensure that cell contents are repeatedly exposed to the sun for natural UV kill. This inherent benefit combined with longer retention/ stabilisation times produces an effluent that is safe for irrigation reuse, which according to the EU and various articles and papers on climate change, is going to be needed in the future. This also has the advantage where wastewater treatment systems can operate with better disinfection capabilities and require smaller or even no tertiary disinfection. Testing at Withernsea and other Aero-Fac® sites has shown consistently excellent results.

Modular Design of Aero-Fac® Allows Easy Scaling From Smaller up to Peri-Urban WwTPs

Aero-Fac® systems are generally configured with both primary and secondary stages of treatment (a third stage is optional when needed). Each “train” or “module” of parallel cells can provide 100% on-site treatment including enhanced disinfection and full nitrification. Modules are designed with correct length-to-width ratios for proper flow and uniform loading, and built to a maximum size for controlled, predictable performance.

As flows increase, additional trains or modules are added, thereby providing a true scalability. The use of a modular design also allows for the ability to use a distributed or multi-location design scheme for larger applications including peri-urban scenarios.


Withernsea Aero-Fac® Recieves Awards for Sustainability

The 2023 ICE Edmund Hambly Medal for “Design for Sustainable Development” was recently awarded to Yorkshire Water’s new 15,000 PE Aero-Fac® WwTP at Withernsea (Hollym, Myers Lane). The international award underscores the unusual sustainability along with OPEX and CAPEX cost savings of the project as compared to past traditional options — plus the ability to operate with little ongoing manpower, energy, maintenance — and all with a substantially lower carbon footprint. The Wastewater Treatment Works was recognised by the Awards Committee as a “fantastic feat of civil engineering.” CLICK HERE to read the full story.

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Stantec & Yorkshire Water Finalists in 2023 Water Industry Awards for Withernsea-Hollym Aero-Fac®, Gurney Environmental’s Nature Based Solution for Low Carbon Footprint Wastewater Treatment

Stantec, a global leader in sustainable design and engineering, and Yorkshire Water were also shortlisted for an award at the 2023 Water Industry Awards for the Net Zero Carbon Initiative for their work as partners with Gurney Environmental in the design and construction of the new and innovative Aero-Fac® WwTP at Withernsea-Hollym.

CLICK HERE to read the full story.


Third Global Recognition in 2023 for Aero-Fac® Sustainability

Gurney Enviromental, Stantec, Yorkshire Water and Ward & Burke Finalists in 2023 British Construction Industry Awards for Withernsea-Hollym Aero-Fac®

Gurney Environmental, Yorkshire Water, Stantec and Ward & Burke (the construction company) were announced as finalists in the 2023 British Construction Industry (BCI) Awards for Environment & Sustainability Initiative of the Year for the Aero-Fac® WwTP project at Withernsea/Hollym, Myers Lane Judges are selected from major clients, government and industry recognised figures, and contribute valuable time and effort to work through hundreds of entries, reviewing against strict criteria and attributing scores aimed at rewarding and recognising the very best in project excellence. The British Construction Industry Awards has the most prestigious and rigorous judging process and now in its 36th year, the awards have built up an outstanding reputation for recognising only the very best projects and companies in the industry.

Understanding Aero-Fac® Technology

          • 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. 

Proven Track Record of Performance

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.


Sample Projects Portfolio

  • All
  • Source Management
  • Wastewater
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  • Title
  • Date
  • Yorkshire Water's first new WwTP in many years is a No-Odour, No Sludge Aero-Fac® WwTP for the area around Withernsea. The new 15,000 population equivelant (PE) WwTP has been successfully treating sewage whilst automatically
    Read More
    • Wastewater
  • The No-Odour, No Sludge Aero-Fac® WwTP operated by Northumbrian Water for the area around Waren Mill has been successfully treating sewage whilst automatically handling flow/loading fluctuations of up to 10x due to local tourism,
    Read More
    • Wastewater
  • The Accel-o-Fac® wind-powered WWTP operated by GWM Water for the community of Donald, Australia has been successfully treating sewage since installation of the upgrade in the Fall of 2018, and with virtually no significant
    Read More
    • Wastewater
  • The success of Anglian Water’s wwtp at Sutton St James prompted the company to install three additional Aero-Fac® systems in treatment works including one at East Harling in Norfolk. The decision to choose the
    Read More
    • Wastewater
  • Accel-o-Fac® wastewater treatment upgrade to the Harbour View WWTW located just outside Kingston Town, owned and operated by the National Water Commission.
    Read More
    • Wastewater
  • Welsh Water installs first ResMix 5000cc Source Management System at the Pontsticill Reservoir to improve water quality prior to treatment works.
    Read More
    • Source Management
  • In July 2016, Gurney Environmental installed a 2nd installation of the ResMix 5000cc ‘source management ‘ system for Welsh Water at Llangdegfedd Reservoir in Wales.
    Read More
    • Source Management
  • The Accel-o-Fac® wind-powered WwTP for the village at Holkham Estate, England has been treating sewage since the spring of 2006, and with virtually no significant ongoing operating cost.
    Read More
    • Wastewater
  • Following use of an Aero-Fac® system on Sandringham Estate for 6 years, Gurney Environmental was contacted by the Crown Estate to examine solutions for Windsor Estate and Cumberland Lodge complex. The old 1960-era filter
    Read More
    • Wastewater
  • Southern Water's Weir Wood Reservoir is a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) long stretch of water storage, situated close to Forest Row, East Sussex, England, on the north-western margins of Ashdown Forest. In 2016 Gurney Environmental
    Read More
    • Source Management
  • The Aero-Fac® Sludge Digestion System (SDS) at Sandringham has solved the issues of sludge handling and disposal, as well as peak flow and load issues for over 15+ years.
    Read More
    • Wastewater
  • Accel-o-Fac® wastewater treatment system for the Severn & Wye Smokery in Gloucestershire providing a zero carbon footprint strategy for the business.
    Read More
    • Wastewater
  • Accel-o-Fac® upgrades at South Gippsland Water for implementation at two of their wwtp's located just outside Inverloch, Victoria in Southeastern Australia.
    Read More
    • Wastewater
  • Burncrooks WTW is located near Strathblane on the outskirts of Glasgow and is fed by a series of reservoirs. It serves a nearby population of more than 50,000. It was identified that the WTW
    Read More
    • Source Management
  • Early in 2013 United Utilities placed its first order for the unique ResMix 'source management' system following successful use of the system by Scottish Water since 2009 and over 15 years in Australia.
    Read More
    • Source Management

What Our Clients Say

Aero-Fac® Wastewater Treatment System

"For 20 years the Aero-Fac@ system at Errol has met our consent discharge levels, had no odour issues and we have not required any sludge removal. Although it was not such a high consideration 20 years ago, Errol also supports Scottish Water’s moves to becoming carbon neutral."

Robert Dey, Scottish Water

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