Capstone Projects

Operation and Sustainability of a WI Wastewater Treatment Plant and Clearas Water Recovery Inc. Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery™ Component.

Program: Sustainable Management Bachelor's
Location: Wisconsin (onsite)
Student: Chad Svacina

This project is a case study of a WI Wastewater Treatment Plant focusing on a multi-million-dollar addition to the facility, an Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery™ (ABNR) developed by Clearas Water Recovery Inc. An ABNR is a system that flows effluent, which the water from the plant in its final stages of cleaning, through a series of glass pipes in these pipes, is algae which are feeding off the nutrients specifically phosphorous that standard process couldn’t eliminate. Ultimately the system cleans the water to the point where it is nearly potable, and algae is harvested from the system and rendered down to power that then can be sold for plastics, ink, or fuel. This case study reflects upon the triple bottom-line components of the facility and its effect on the surrounding communities.

This endeavor was an experience, to say the least. This Case Study was challenging to research. Since this facility was the first in the world to apply an ABNR system to a municipality’s WWTP, much of the data and information about the operations and capabilities of the facility were built. Though challenging, it was a unique experience in that a student could dive into a chosen topic and follow its twist and turns, ultimately changing the path of completion as information dictates. Fraught with issues lining up interviews and changing some directions I planned to head was troublesome but par for the course for applications in real-world scenarios. As I learned more about this facility and system, I was in awe of its uniqueness and potential as a sustainable source of bioplastics, bio-ink, and biofuel.