News » Biofilm-hybrid-processes: An option for capacity increase of overloaded wastewater treatment plants in North African climate?

Biofilm-hybrid-processes: An option for capacity increase of overloaded wastewater treatment plants in North African climate?

The German Science Centre Cairo supported an exchange campaign between Helwan University, the GIZ water & wastewater management program, Campus El Gouna and young talented researchers from Cairo University.

The aim of the event was to bridge the gap between academia and the practical reality by giving young talented researchers the opportunity to use the state of the art equipment of the Campus el Gouna while enhancing the dialogue with plant managers and especially plant operators.

To avoid events that only lead to talks about already collected knowledge the core of this exchange campaign was a data collection project to analyze different options to increase the capacity of overloaded wastewater treatment plants. Considering the present population growth research with high impact potential for Egypt. After a short intensive measurement campaign and meetings between all stakeholders the outcomes have been discussed with the people in charge. An approach for quick plant assessment was developed that can be reproduced by the young researchers wherever it becomes necessary to evaluate plant capacity.

Research question: Biofilm-hybrid-processes: An option for capacity increase of overloaded wastewater treatment plants in North African climate?

In the growing city of El Gouna about 23.000 inhabitants and tourists are currently connected to a central activated sludge wastewater treatment plant that feeds the city’s irrigation water network. As the growing city reaches the WWTP new constructions in the plant are not allowed even though the inflow increases.

In the name of Campus El Gouna, Carsten Riechelmann is currently supporting the city services through a real scale test of different options to increase the wastewater treatment capacity. A comparison is running between an optimization of the conventional activated sludge process and the application of a fixed and a moving bed biofilm carrier hybrid processes. An online measurement system has been installed to analyze performance differences. The situation with the three identical reactors receiving the same inflow wastewater is ideal to evaluate and compare the effect of the three technical options.

The impact for Egypt:

As Egypt continuously growth with a very high rate millions of new inhabitants are starting to use the existing infrastructures. Consequently there is a rapidly increasing demand for wastewater treatment capacity. Sometimes new construction are possible but as often neither space nor funding are available options to increase the capacity of overloaded plants are of big interest for Egypt’s water sector. As the Biofilm hybrid approaches for capacity increase are developed under European climatic conditions there is still a big need to analyze their potential when the average treatment temperature is about twice as much under Egyptian conditions. In general a lot of plants in Egypt are overloaded and thus in need for upgrading measures. Besides technical options for capacity increase often also the lack of operational knowledge needs to be examined. Short campaigns are enough to get a sufficient insight in current plant situations and easy for the plant management to agree to. Thereby they can foster the dialogue between plant management, operators and researchers benevolently giving recommendations.

The support of the DWZ allowed to start this type of research cooperation between the Egyptian institutions and the German science hub of Campus El Gouna. The results of the project will be presented on the Egyptian-German Water Cluster Event “Industrial Waste Water Management in Egypt” in September, in order to promote the positive impact of both institutions for the applied science and to prepare Egypt for the rising challenges of tomorrow.