WET Sustainable Wastewater Purification Systems

WET Systems, otherwise known as wetland ecosystems, have the ability to purify wastewater.

Organic nutrients present within wastewater are absorbed and transformed to plant biomass and soil via natural processes. Such systems simply rely on the natural growth of plants and can therefore the process can be classed as solar-powered.

Electricity and hence fossil-fuels to purify the wastewater are not required as is the case with many industrial water works. The design principle works simply on the natural flow of water following the gradient of the land. The wastewater would enter the system at the highest point and filtrate down through a series of ponds or swales.

On each filtration the wastewater passes through the root-zone whereby the organic materials within the water are absorbed by the plants. Unlike conventional reed bed systems, there is no necessity for large imports of gravel, plastic aeration and distribution pipes. WET systems therefore have very low embedded energy.

Such systems are capable of transforming domestic sewage, agriculture and industrial waste to Category 1 water suitable for human consumption.

Over time, as the plant materials becomes more established, the natural cycle of the plants further contributes to the quality of the soil increasing the efficiency of the system. This differs from mechanical systems which overtime become worn and tend to require regular maintenance. Typical plants include willow which benefit from large available nutrients.

Such plants are then cut back annually where the biomass material can be used as a fuel to support the farm or dwelling. In domestic applications, the system can be integrated into the garden to include ornamental ponds and gardens.

The ponds become abundant in wildlife proving sought locations for beehives. Weston’s Cider is an example of a functioning WET system. Previously the company was fined by the Environment Agency for the disposal of wastes into the local stream.

Since that, the family company has decided to enlarge an existing bog transforming it into an ecosystem. The system is capable of handling in excess of 80,000 gallons a day of wastewater with a pH of 3.5. The otherwise cost of chemical and mechanical treatment works to the company would be incredibly large. The purified water is then used to water the orchards completing the cycle and further reducing the costs.

Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)

ESOS phase 1 regulations set out in 2014 mandate that large organisations within the UK undertake comprehensive assessments of energy use and energy efficiency once every four years.

The ESOS criteria for large organisations are as followed;

• Annual turnover exceeding €50 million
• Employs at least 205 people • Bodies which receive public funding e.g. universities Companies meeting the criteria of ESOS phase 1 were required to submit information regarding their energy use and efficiency prior to the 29th January 2016.

ESOS Phase 2 requires companies to take three actions prior to the 5th December 2019;

1. Measuring the total energy consumption for buildings, industrial processes and transport.
2. Conduct audits to identify cost-effective energy efficiency recommendations for areas of significant energy consumption
3. Report compliance to their national scheme administrator i.e. the Environment Agency, SEPA in Scotland, NIEA in Northern Ireland and NRW in Wales. 

The organisation will require a Lead Energy Assessor to conduct the ESOS Assessment. Companies are able to comply automatically by providing evidence of an ISO50001 certificate, the international standard for best practice energy management across the company. Companies are eligible to begin data collection at the beginning of 2018.

The ESOS compliance requires energy profiles over a 12 month period, including the qualification date of 31st December 2018. ESOS advise companies to begin the assessment as soon as possible to avoid challenges associated with the assessment. The initial phase of ESOS saw 2800 companies failing to provide the assessment prior to the set date and a large number of these companies were ultimately fined.

Why should your company partake in the ESOS Assessment?

Apart from avoiding the potential fines associated with the incompletion of the assessment, the Carbon Trust provides a breakdown of the companies energy use. The tailored feedback suggests cost-effective solutions which will allow savings of up to 20% (on typical spends of £1.8 million).

What can The Greener Group do?

The Greener Group is fully accredited by The Carbon Trust. As a Green Business Fund we offer free energy assessments for companies with regards to the installation of renewable technology systems. The energy efficient systems which we install guarantee lifelong savings for companies.

In addition, the Carbon Trust launched the Green Business Fund proving grants for small/medium companies investing in renewable technologies. Contact us today to find out more!