Jonna Lankinen, Turun Sanomat
This autumn, the wastewater treatment plant in Mariehamn started an experiment with the Finnish biotechnology company ProtectPipe. In the experiment, the bacterial solution developed by the company is added to the wastewater treatment process. The bacterial solution is said to remove nitrogen from the wastewater.
If the experiment succeeds, ProtectPipe would like to add the solution at the beginning of the wastewater system, as far away from the treatment plant as possible. This would allow the bacteria to reproduce and start eating organic waste and removing nitrogen as early as possible, leading to cleaner wastewater reaching the wastewater treatment plant.
-We have a significantly higher load in the wastewater treatment plant during the summer. From time to time, it exceeds the purification plant’s theoretical capacity, which is why we are interested in this experiment, explains Jouni Huhtala, Chief of Civil Engineering at the city of Mariehamn.
According to Huhtala, the food industry, in particular, produces a large amount of nutrient-containing wastewater in Åland, which burdens the purification system. Also, the number of tourists during the summer months is significantly bigger compared to other seasons.
Ari Kangas, the official at the Ministry of the Environment, says that it is possible but difficult to harness the sewer as part of the wastewater treatment process.
– The network is wide and fragmented, with loads coming from many places. The right microbial product must be in the right place, at the right time and under the right conditions. It is not impossible but it requires a lot.
According to Kangas, the methods can also easily be expensive, since the supply of chemicals or microbial products to the sewerage network must be continuous.
– There has been only little interest in the industry in promoting sewage purification previously, as wastewater is in any case treated at the purification plant. In the past, the interest has been focused on trying to reduce harmful things.
– It is now understood that microbial activity in the wastewater system can also be positive. Wastewater purification is also taking place there, as long as the conditions are right, Kangas says.
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