Forum for circular economy in the waste water industry

Forum for circular economy in the waste water industry

Sirkulær økonomi

The forum seeks to raise awareness of the importance of the circular economy concept in Norwegian wastewater management. This can be done by effective communication and a dissemination strategy that can attract the interest of the target groups.

prosjekt

About/Aims
Background

Norway to establish a "Forum for circular economy in the Norwegian wastewater industry" in 2019. The forum is open to industry, Norwegian municipalities, and others who work with sewage and sludge management and will facilitate communication and competence development. This will be done through seminars and information sharing. This website shows the status of key players in Norway and internationally, and points to some different paths forward for increased circular economy in the wastewater industry.

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has more than 30 years of experience in the field of circular economy and how to reclaim and recycle resources from the domestic to the agricultural domain. This has materialized in the EU-project “Sino-European innovative green and smart cities - SiEUGreen” where NMBU will further refine and demonstrate circular economy in practice as support for urban and peri-urban agriculture. Today many wastewater companies in Norway, including HIAS (Hamar interkommunale avløpsselskap), VEAS (Vestfjorden avløpsselskap, Oslo), and NRA (Nedre Romerike avløpsselskap), are looking for new technologies to upgrade or rebuild their systems to be able to recycle more of their resources in a safe way. SiEUGreen is demonstrating a decentralized system that will complement the existing large-scale systems at current centralized treatment plants. The competence gathered at NMBU and NIBIO and practiced through SiEUGreen is valuable for both centralized and decentralized systems. By creating a network for “Circular economy solutions in Norwegian wastewater management” we believe that we can accelerate the shift of Norwegian waste management towards circular economy. The forum will be open to all Norwegian municipalities and their waste and wastewater treatment organizations and facilitate communication and building of competence. This will happen through seminars, sharing of information on the web and by providing seed money for investigation of key issues raised by the practitioners.

Objective

Primary:

Create a forum for sharing of information, research and awareness regarding circular economy in Norwegian wastewater management

Secondary:

  • Inspire planners and owners of wastewater treatment plants and companies to use new ideas and opportunities provided through Circular economy
  • Provide research facilities and competence for the Norwegian wastewater treatment community
  • Provide a basis for new regulations regarding organically derived fertilizer products
More about the project

The sources of raw materials for the production of plant fertilizers are limited, and prices are rising. In order to both reduce water pollution and produce sufficient fertilizer to be able to maintain and increase future agricultural production, recycling from organic sources is absolutely necessary. Circular economy is high on the agenda both in the EU and in Norway. In June 2021, the Government presented «National strategy for a green, circular economy», in which i.e. non-toxic circular circuits are discussed. 

Wastewater from households contains large amounts of phosphorus (P), but also the other macronutrients; nitrogen (N) and potassium (K). To date, only small amounts of P from wastewater are recycled and P precipitated with iron or aluminum-based coagulants has a limited fertilizer value. New processes are under development where P, but also N and K, as well as micronutrients can be recycled in a more plant-accessible form. Organic material can be converted into bioenergy and soil improver. Today, there are many sewage companies that develop or want to use new technology to recycle and reuse these resources in a safe way. The wastewater also contains microorganisms, heavy metals and organic compounds that we do not want to transfer to agriculture and the aquatic environment.