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June 14, 2024
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Calgary’s Wet Tech Environmental provides economical solutions for wastewater treatment, water treatment, and water re-use.

“Every effort to conserve and reuse our water through the implementation of advanced technologies is an investment we cannot afford not to make. The longer we delay this realization the more difficult and costly these endeavors will become.” -- Ken Parke Managing Director, Wet Tech Environmental

Interview with Ken Parke, Managing Director, Wet Tech Environmental Inc.

By: Suzanne Forcese

WT: Please give us an overview of Wet Tech Environmental.

Parke: Wet Tech Environmental Inc. provides advanced wastewater treatment to a wide variety of industries ranging from; oil & gas, chemical plants, pulp and paper, oleo-chemical, food & beverage, municipal, leachate from landfill sites, incineration sites, aqua culture.

With a depth of experience in the wastewater industry dating back to the 1980’s, Wet Tech Enivronmental's talented group of professional Ph.D.’s and Engineers provide technical guidance in introducing two globally proven unique disruptive wastewater treatment technologies to North America.

The Levapor advanced biocarrier is used specifically in MBBR (Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor), IFAS (Integrated Fixed Film Activated Sludge) systems for wastewater treatment as well as Bio-trickling filters for gas removal.

The Electronic Frequency Pulse technology can treat highly contaminated wastewater to a zero liquid discharge. The founder of the technology has provided information indicating the Electronic Frequency Pulse technology can now provide treatment to a potable water state.

WT: Challenges associated with wastewater treatment are prevalent throughout the world. In North America, treatment facilities struggle with a confluence of factors including aging infrastructures, constraints on financing capital upgrades, increased flow, processing demands, more rigorous government regulations, and increasing energy costs.

Recently The City of Calgary announced it will be developing a roadmap that will help the city make long-term decisions about water security and water reuse through 2100. How is Wet Tech addressing the situation?

Parke: Despite the current water and wastewater situations we face in Alberta, we are nonetheless in a better position compared to many other communities throughout the world. When providing solutions for other countries we are mindful of their dire predicament and how we may be in a comparable situation if positive actions are not taken.

Through our involvement with other water and wastewater companies in other countries, we have gleaned their knowledge and expertise. Having faced water/wastewater dilemmas decades earlier, many have developed technologies to increase efficiencies in both.

As a nation we consume more water per person than any other country-- 330 litres (about the volume of a bathtub) per day. Our imminent drought in Alberta is another wakeup call that we need to take seriously and implement more ways in which we can conserve our water and treat our wastewater for recycling purposes.

With the Levapor & EFP Technologies we can take most, if not all wastewater and clean it to a reusable state.

WT: Can you elaborate further on the problems that you are addressing and mitigating?

Parke: Our technologies provide the capabilities to treat wastewater currently in the tailing ponds to meet or exceed all government requirements. This would remove a major environmental issue and create usable water.

We believe our Levapor biocarrier and our Electronic Frequency Pulse technology can play a part in providing better processes for wastewater treatment as well as for recycling our treated wastewater. The benefits available through our wastewater treatment processes will also provide a host of other benefits including reduced energy costs, reduction in the hauling of contaminated water, greater capacity at WWTPs, and on-site treatment to name a few.

WT: How does the Levapor treatment work?

Parke: The removal of pollutant from a biological wastewater treatment process occurs through a required quantity of several different specialized microbial strains. Levapor is unlike other conventional systems such as suspended growth, activated sludge process, aerated lagoon, or aerobic digestor where the wastewater flows freely amongst free-floating microorganisms that eventually settle out into biological floc. Microorganisms will remain retained within these flocs and may be recycled for later treatment.

With the advent of the biocarrier (media) in the Levapor system, organisms are able to attach themselves and grow, increasing the efficiency of the biological process.

The MBBR technology, which is comprised of both suspended and attached growth processes, provides an even greater removal ability of biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, nitrogen, phosphorus etc.

When compared to a suspended growth or attached growth process, the MBBR technology provides an increased treatment efficiency -- greater capacity, lower capital outlay, nominal operating costs, minimal maintenance, and minimal replacement costs.

The most important aspect of the MBBR technique is the choice of carrier.

The Levapor MBBR media is made of reticulated PU foam impregnated with activated carbon along with other numerous proprietary compounds which provide an extremely high specific surface area, 15,000 m2/m3. This provides a very high adsorption capacity and high inner porosity.

The specific properties of the Levapor MBBR Media biocarrier enable colonization within 120 minutes to 189 minutes, enabling growth of highly active and efficient biofilms which create a remarkably higher process performance compared to plastic media or conventional activated sludge and conventional attached growth processes.

WT: And the Electronic Frequency Pulse?

Parke: The Electronic Frequency Pulse technology is a process that creates free radicals to destroy contaminates within the wastewater. The proprietary aspect of this technology is the life extension of the free radicals to provide a destruction of the contaminate by fragmenting the contaminant molecule and converting it to H2O, CO2 gas and N2 from amino/ammonia waste.

WT: What contaminants can be treated?

Parke: Highly concentrated wastewater can be treated to a zero liquid discharge through an instantaneous process that destroys:

  • Common Industrial Waste: Phenol; glycol; amines; emulsified oily
  • High COD Chemical Waste: solvents (example: methanol, IMS, chloroform, PVA); strong acids & alkalis; polymer base wastewater; synthetic latex base wastewater; organic acid waste leachate / PFAS
  • Organic Incinerated Waste: polychlorobutadiene (PCB); wood rinse; organic acid; marine bunker
  • BOD Related Waste: food & beverage; edible oil wastewater

With a small footprint, 10’ x 40’, the EFP technology provides an instantaneous wastewater treatment process capable of treating 2,400 cubic metres per day.

This capability affords numerous opportunities that may currently require hauling to treatment facilities, or in municipal environments a surcharge when disposing directly into the sewage system.

Treatment of wastewater on site with the capability of reuse not only decreases the cost of hauling wastewater but in many situations reduces the cost of water by recycling treated wastewater.

WT: Does Wet Tech have the answer for PFAS?

Parke: Our founder/ inventor of the Electronic Frequency has provided Wet Tech Environmental with proprietary information that PFAS is a contaminate that can be destroyed with the EFP technology.

We are currently in a discussion with a company that is requesting this technology for the purpose of destroying PFAS and we are in the process of arranging a pilot unit to provide verification regarding the destruction of PFAS.

WT: How can municipalities benefit from the Wet Tech systems?

Parke: Many municipalities face diminishing capacity at their treatment plants, increased energy costs, high BOD, COD, TSS, nitrogen levels, odour complaints, etc. Expanding an existing infrastructure is not only costly but also requires a lengthy process to obtain provincial and federal grant funding. An MBBR process can be implemented into an existing infrastructure without incurring a large capital cost and results can be realized within a few short months.

Our Electronic Frequency Pulse technology, although being well suited for highly concentrated wastewater can also be effective for municipalities when faced with seasonal fluctuations, remote communities, or industrial businesses discharging into the municipal wastewater infrastructure.

Pretreatment by commercial or industrial entities can remove a significant load from the municipalities WWTP. Alberta along with other Western provinces lag behind other regions within Canada and certainly the U.S.

Many municipalities of any significant population maintain bylaws which restrict or surcharge the release of certain types or concentrations of wastewater into their sewer system. Enforcement of these bylaws, however, is another matter altogether. Unless monitoring and enforcement of industry’s wastewater discharge is in place there is minimal incentive for companies to voluntarily implement their own pretreatment.

Wet Tech’s wastewater treatment technologies provide much more than merely effective economical ways to treat wastewater. We provide critical support for communities to exist, to support their economy, to prosper, and grow.

Water is the source of life! We have been using and abusing water for generations. We must implement solutions that can provide sustainable solutions for a growing population and industrial presence. Transforming wastewater to water re-use capabilities will provide a beneficial impact on our current water situation.


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