Nutrient Removal and Recovery


The Nutrient Removal and Recovery (NRR) SG focuses on cutting edge fundamental and applied research in nutrient removal and recovery technologies, and applications of those technologies in the design, operation, and optimization of wastewater treatment systems. With the new demand for sustainable nutrient removal and recovery, there are many exciting research opportunities in the following areas

  • Conventional biological nitrogen and phosphorus removal processes,
  • Sidestream and mainstream deamonification,
  • Nutrient recovery from source separated wastewater and sludge handling processes,
  • Technologies for maintaining biomass in NRR reactors (membranes, granular sludge, biofilm carriers, hybrid systems),
  • Microbiological methods for identification of microorganisms involved in NRR processes,
  • Operation and control of NRR in wastewater treatment plants,
  • Mathematical modeling of NRR processes and the integration of instant process simulation and monitoring with operational control.

With the traditional aim of protecting receiving waters against eutrophication, nutrient removal has become one of the key challenges for wastewater treatment facilities all over the world. However, most of the currently used technologies are not focused on minimization of resource consumption recovery from wastewater. The facilities may become more environmentally sustainable through maximizing removal while delivering nutrient and energy recovery technologies with economically attractive return on investment. Such an approach will ultimately contribute to efficiently managing water and resources in urban areas.

The promising paradigm-shifting technology is fully autotrophic nitrogen removal via deamonification (partial nitrification and anammox) in sidestream and mainstream systems. A special interest is given to the application of that technology at low process temperatures.

In 2015, the NRR SG organized the IWA Specialized Conference on “Nutrient Removal and Recovery. Moving Innovations into Practice”. The conference was already held in Gdansk, Poland (17-21 May, 2015), which continued the series of the past NRR conferences held in Cracow in 2005 and 2009. Selected papers presented at the Gdansk conference, mostly on deammonification, have been submitted for consideration for publication in Water Science and Technology. A joint IWA/WEF NRR conference will be held in Denver, Colorado, USA on July 10-13, 2016. The NRR conference is planned for 2017 in Africa or South America.