All Posts

Legislation puts pressure on legacy WWTP’s

Legislation puts pressure on legacy WWTP’s

Some of the harshest wastewaters across the globe may be closer to home than you think.



Thankfully, over the past few decades the world population has turned a corner in terms of increased environmental awareness and the need for a sustainable future. Formal environmental protection agencies and groups have been established, regionally and globally, to both protect ourselves and our natural resources. One area that has gained considerable attention is wastewater. Effluent discharges, especially those from companies into our streams, lakes and rivers are now under scrutiny. Though it has taken tens of years to arrive at this welcomed environmental awareness juncture, and no doubt will take considerably more years from now to engrain in our mindset, the reality is that this first step on this journey has been the easy one. Looking after our planet in a sustainable manner, though possible, is not easy.  Step one, saying “we will take action” is always easy…

The hard part comes after the decision to take action has been made. Solutions are then sought and when they are found they must be implemented. Not so easy as step one.

Irish firm OxyMem’s latest wastewater treatment offering, MABR, stands to help literally thousands of established companies across the globe on their quest to comply with newly enforced wastewater discharge legislation.

Companies who have legacy wastewater treatment systems in operation may find the potential enforcement of new discharge standards a serious risk to their future business and for some smaller firms, perhaps their corporate survival. They may find themselves landlocked or with little space available for treatment plant upgrades when considering traditional solutions. In light of this foreseeable trend, MABR technology (Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor) has come to the forefront of the wastewater world and is gaining recognition by many as being perhaps the only feasible, practical and yet energy efficient solution for such scenarios. Though an only option may seem a dark cloud, staggeringly the results of MABR deployments to date have proven it holds the lowest operating (OPEX) wastewater treatment solution beyond anaerobic digestion.

The OxyMem MABR takes advantage of a very simple, naturally occurring biological process that has been used to treat wastewater across the globe for hundreds of years. Biofilm technology was once considered a viable, scalable means of treating wastewater when trickling filters were first implemented industrially in Wales during 1800’s. However, since then there had been little evolution in biofilm technology until the past few decades, with the emergence of moving bed bioreactors (moving media) in place of fixed bed reactors (static media).

In recent years, the significant power consumption of moving bed bioreactors in a world eager to drive down carbon emissions and minimise energy usage, has drawn attention to this alternative advanced media based wastewater treatment solution; one that is emerging as a preferred option to many. The flexible, enhanced media offers a paradigm shift within the world of wastewater treatment; a semi-rigid media, capable of moving naturally with the water current but still within a fixed assembly is rich with air or oxygen, and provides extremely high oxygen transfer rates, reduced footprint and the lowest whole life cost of all solutions on the market today. This enhanced biofilm media technology is referred to as MABR.

Non-disruptive-to-existing process drop-in MABR modules provide increased biological capacity to most plants and provide an alternative to building new tanks or having to change an overall process treatment stream to a completely new one in order to meet future discharge consents. The integration of an MABR system may also facilitate Phosphorous removal on existing plants as it frees up currently required reactor space.

Each single OxyMem drop-in MABR module can take pressure off a struggling facility or improve the effluent quality. As the aerobic “layer” is the innermost layer of an established, attached biomass, OxyMem’s MABR also serves to protect the aerobic biology from shock loads (eg. Toxins, CIP chemicals); preventing it from getting washed out of the system during high flows.



Many wastewater plants (industrial and municipal) are reaching the end of their natural life with some operating close to capacity. Ever tightening effluent discharge consents stand to threaten some businesses and a default response may be to ignore the problem fearing the investment needed to upgrade or replace the existing plant (assuming the additional landbank is available). With OxyMem it is possible to extend the capability of an existing legacy plant with minimal investment and an extremely low ongoing operational cost, ensuring that plants and businesses can continue to operate, more efficiently and without disruption.  The company, our environment, and our population benefit.

John McConomy is the Commercial Director of OxyMem. About John McConomy

OxyMem : Smarter Treatment



John McConomy
John McConomy
John McConomy is the Commercial Director of OxyMem. OxyMem solves OPEX intensive wastewater treatment using an innovative Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR).

Subscribe to stay informed

*Environment  *Legislation  *Socio-economics  *Technology

Related Posts

Anglian Water (UK) Triple Carbon Reduction Project

Triple Carbon Reduction, Anglian Water, UK Supported by UK Water Services Regulation Authority, Ofwat We are proud to join Anglian Water Services and an extensive team of partnering companies and academia on the current Triple Carbon Reduction initiative, part of Ofwat's Water Breakthrough Challenge. OxyMem™The Triple Carbon Reduction project is an initiative that will demonstrate how MABR can help the sector minimise process emissions and energy consumption typically associated with municipal biological wastewater treatment. The Triple Carbon Reduction project aims to showcase an integrated solution addressing three potential carbon benefits, aligned with the objectives of the whole water industry to achieve Net Zero by 2030: Demonstrate a viable alternative wastewater treatment process (MABR - Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor) targeting elimination of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from secondary treatment; Achieve up to 85% reduction in energy consumption compared to conventional treatment processes currently in use (i.e. “activated sludge”); Generate oxygen via electrolysis, to be utilised in the MABR process, and green hydrogen for use in applications that are currently challenging to decarbonise (i.e. diesel generators).

OxyMem MABR Enhanced ammonia removal

Enhanced WWTP nitrification with OxyMem™ MABR Faster, stronger, harder… OxyMem™ MABR (Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor) is a unique biofilm system that can be used to intensify existing wastewater treatment facilities. A microbial film is established on millions of tiny gas-permeable membranes. This biofilm breaks down wastewater pollutants effectively with highly efficient oxygen transfer. Ammonia removal can be enhanced with every additional OxyMem™ unit added.

How to cut emissions from wastewater?

How to cut emissions from wastewater? On the 21st of September we not only celebrate Zero Emissions Day, but also we are asked to curb our emissions for 24 hours whenever it's possible.