Demonstration of Wastewater Treatment Technology Shows Full Nitrogen Removal in Less Than Two Hours

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Oro Loma Tour

September 7, 2018 — The Oro Loma Sanitary District in San Lorenzo, CA, has partnered with Microvi Biotech, Inc. and WesTech Engineering, Inc. to showcase a large-scale demonstration of the Microvi MNE™ solution for Oro Loma’s wastewater treatment plant.  

The demonstration’s primary objective is to tackle increased nitrogen discharge limits that are expected to be implemented over the next decade in the San Francisco Bay Area. The district is using the demonstration to proactively evaluate cost-effective, innovative technologies to meet these projected effluent limits, possibly as low as <6 mg/L total nitrogen (TN).

Read the full case study here. (PDF)

Installed in April 2018, results from the demonstration show that the combined nitrification-denitrification process can achieve effluent levels consistently below 3 mg/L and even as low as 1 mg/L TN from influent ammonia (NH3) concentrations as high as 45 mg/L. These results occur with a retention time of under two hours, and little to no biosolids are produced. This result is unprecedented, compared to available technologies for nitrification. The next phase of the Oro Loma demonstration will focus on side-stream treatment of ammonia concentrations as high as 500 mg/L.

“Microvi’s technology is compelling because it allows us to meet potential future nitrogen limits while making the most of our existing treatment facilities at Oro Loma. In the Bay Area, treatment requirements are expected to tighten, and many plants have no room to expand. We need to find solutions to make existing facilities meet our future needs,” said Jason Warner, General Manager of Oro Loma. “We are excited to partner with Microvi and WesTech to implement innovative technologies to help improve the quality of the water in the San Francisco Bay.”

“Applying WesTech’s wastewater treatment expertise with Microvi’s technology is proving to be a breakthrough solution to Oro Loma’s upcoming wastewater regulations,” said Rex Plaizier, CEO of WesTech Engineering. “The project shows the clear and unprecedented advantages of using this unique biological treatment for this and similar applications.”

“Oro Loma has been a great partner for Microvi and WesTech as we continue to showcase the power of our MicroNiche Engineering (MNE) technology,” said Dr. Fatemeh Shirazi, CEO and CTO of Microvi. “These results demonstrate a step change toward the future of wastewater treatment globally.”

Pictured at top: At a recent open house at the Oro Loma Sanitary District, visitors look at a container of biocatalysts that have been pulled out of the bioreactor tank in front of them. This reactor was demonstrating the system’s ability to fully nitrify more than 40 mg/L of NH3-N in less than 1.8 hours with no TSS production.

Microvi MNE is the next generation biological process for water and wastewater treatment. The solution combines groundbreaking Microvi technology with proven WesTech process equipment for a cost-effective approach to biological treatment.

This demonstration is a single pass system that requires minimal operation time and maintenance, while eliminating the need for biosolids treatment and disposal. Customized integrations of the process for various applications have provided consistent BOD/COD removal, nitrification, and denitrification. The process has a significantly smaller footprint, minimal biosolids production, reduced pumping requirements, and reduced energy costs. The solution is operator-friendly, stable, robust, and can be used in existing infrastructure.

The Microvi technology uses novel biocatalytic composites (biocatalysts) that intensify biological processes, while maintaining a controlled population of targeted microorganisms at a much higher density than existing technologies. Despite the complexity of the MNE biocatalysts themselves, the design and operation of the systems are simple. Microvi’s technologies have been implemented in the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. for drinking water, municipal wastewater, and industrial applications.

WesTech has an alliance agreement to commercialize this breakthrough Microvi MNE solution for the water and wastewater industries.

About Our Alliance
An alliance between WesTech Engineering, a seasoned industry leader in water and wastewater solutions, and Microvi, a cutting-edge green technology company, offers customers next generation biological treatment solutions.

Microvi offers commercial technologies around the world to reduce waste, increase productivity, and provide disruptive economics across the value chain for the water, wastewater, and renewable chemical industries. WesTech is an employee-owned company, founded in 1973, with over 500 employees in nine countries. The company offers upstream and downstream technologies, process control, customized integration, and customer support of the Microvi MNE solution.

Read more about Microvi MNE:
Read more about the Microvi technology:

About Oro Loma Sanitary District
Oro Loma Sanitary District, formed on August 7, 1911, is one of the first agencies in Alameda County, California. As a special district, Oro Loma provides wastewater collection and treatment, solid waste, and recycling services. The District serves several communities, including San Lorenzo, Ashland, Cherryland, and Fairview, as well as 40% of the City of San Leandro and small portions of Castro Valley and the City of Hayward. Oro Loma’s service area is located about 13 miles south of Oakland, on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay.

For media inquiries, please contact WesTech Communications Specialist Michele McFee at or by phone at 801-265-1000.

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