The Power of Poo – Cambridge Water Recycling Centre
One of the most impressive conservation and recycling projects in recent memory is the Cambridge Water Recycling Centre. The project aimed to improve efficiency and plan for future sustainability by making various upgrades to its green energy production and water treatment systems.
Here at Kart A Way, we’re interested in all aspects of recycling and sustainability, so we thought we’d take a look at the project and how it’s working to future-proof the rapidly growing surrounding area.
The original water recycling centre was built in 1895, and has grown along with the city of Cambridge and the surrounding areas as the years have gone by. The centre has provided green energy since the 1990s, and now treats used water and waste from hundreds and thousands of customers throughout Cambridge. The centre was chosen for an investment of £21 million to provide renewable energy and sustainability long into the future, as the city of Cambridge grows more and more.
The upgrades to the facility have been implemented to revolutionise energy generation, vastly improving the amount and speed of its water treatment processing, meaning it can pump out more energy than ever while only using a relatively small amount to actually keep the centre running and provide this treatment process.
With increased capacity and longevity a key factor in the development of the project, more efficient tanks were brought in to replace the previously existing ones. Eight new treatment tanks replaced 25 older ones, vastly improving efficiency, while four 40m diameter tanks, dedicated to separating solids from the wastewater, have also been built.
The four separation tanks hold roughly 5 million litres of water each and will make vast improvements to the ways in which solid waste is separated from clean, treated water which will be pumped back out to be recycled.
The centre takes no prisoners when it comes to waste, with specialised sludge buildings collecting whatever matter happens to settle, thickening it and turning it into energy used to power the site, and any ‘biosolid’ by-products can be used as fertiliser for nearby fields and farmlands.
Planning for the future
The centre, which was constructed incredibly efficiently over the period of a year – and £9 million less than originally estimated – should provide enough renewable energy to sustain Cambridge and the surrounding villages for the next few decades, at least.
The water processing power of the upgraded plant is impressive, treating as much as 1,200 litres per second, while perhaps most impressively, the whole facility only needs two people to run it. The centre is certainly planning for the future when it comes to sustainability and technology.
However, one continuing problem that the water recycling centre has to deal with is un-recyclable materials being flushed, which then need disposing of in landfills. This is an incredible waste, and one that can only be mitigated by residents disposing of things like baby wipes, for example, properly in the bin.
The recycling centre seems to have been a major success, ringing in the age of ‘poo power’ with aplomb, by utilising its upgraded technology to turn the waste that is flushed each and every day down the toilets of Cambridge into power and energy for all.
Kart A Way provide expert waste disposal without the need for landfills. Through our recycling transfer station, we look to recycle 100% of the waste we collect. For all your commercial, industrial and domestic waste disposal needs, get in touch with the friendly team at Kart A Way.
Image courtesy of www.anglianwater.co.uk