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Gwinnett County and Ostara partner to protect precious water resources

In a leading example of stewardship in water management, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, in partnership with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, today officially opened a nutrient recovery facility at their F. Wayne Hill Water Reclamation Center (WRC), the county’s largest wastewater treatment facility.

Continuing Gwinnett County’s resource recovery program, Ostara’s Pearl® nutrient recovery process at F. Wayne Hill WRC will help protect freshwater lakes such as Lake Lanier by recovering phosphorus and other nutrients from the wastewater streams and transforming them into an environmentally responsible fertilizer, marketed as Crystal Green®.

Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte J. Nash and Environmental Advocate and Attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. officially opened the facility following a brief ceremony.

“This incredible technology recovers nutrients that shouldn’t be in our waterways and turns them into an environmentally responsible fertilizer made from a renewable resource,” said Nash. “We were already treating our wastewater to extremely high standards and returning it to Lake Lanier, our source of drinking water and a key recreational asset for the entire metropolitan Atlanta region. Now we are recovering even more resources from the wastewater treatment process.”

“Today we have an inspiring example of water stewardship,” said Kennedy in a keynote address, “The installation of the Ostara system will be a catalyst for change in effectively dealing with nutrient pollution in the state of Georgia. Having a solution to clean up the nation’s watersheds, and without economic burden, is progress for the environment, taxpayers and generations to come.”

“We are very pleased to partner with Gwinnett County to provide a cost-effective and innovative water treatment technology which will progress their continuing environmental stewardship,” said Phillip Abrary, president and CEO of Ostara.

Following the treatment cycle, F. Wayne Hill WRC discharges high quality reclaimed water to Lake Lanier. Gwinnett County operates under one of the most stringent phosphorus limits in the United States in an effort to protect vulnerable waterways.

Ostara’s nutrient recovery process will help the County maintain phosphorus levels below nutrient loading limits and protect local waterways, mitigating one of the planet’s most critical environmental challenges: the proliferation of algae blooms that debilitate waterways and destroy aquatic life.

The Crystal Green fertilizer – and its unique mode-of-action, releasing nutrients only when the roots need them, meaning lower application rates, and reduced nutrient loss through leaching and runoff – also has a positive impact for the County. “The benefits of the fertilizer, both in the way it is produced and applied, supports Gwinnett County’s stewardship goals of nutrient recovery, energy capture and water conservation. We are excited to partner with Ostara to take our resource recovery program at the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center a step further,” concluded Nash.

Enhanced Plant Reliability
By recovering potentially polluting nutrients from the treatment facility’s wastewater stream and converting them to slow-release fertilizer, Ostara’s technology helps the County increase operational inefficiencies by avoiding struvite build up. Struvite is a concrete-like mineral deposit that builds up in pipes and on equipment in wastewater plants, leading to decreased efficiency of the entire wastewater treatment process. Although chemical additives can temporarily relieve struvite problems, it is a costly solution that also generates solid waste requiring disposal.

Overall the Ostara system, known as the Pearl process, will recover more than 85 percent of the phosphorus and 40 percent of the nitrogen from nutrient rich process streams before they accumulate as struvite on pipes and equipment.

Using two of Ostara’s Pearl 2000 reactors, Gwinnett County’s nutrient recovery facility has an annual Crystal Green production capacity of up to 1400 tons. The County will receive revenue for every ton of fertilizer it produces. In addition, the nutrient recovery facility will create annual cost savings in chemicals, solid waste disposal, maintenance and power.

The opening of this facility at Gwinnett County also marks Ostara’s fourth implementation of WASSTRIP®, a process that turbo-charges the nutrient recovery process and increases the amount of phosphorus recovered by more than 60 percent, enhancing the efficiency of the Pearl process and regulating the magnitude of struvite scale formation.

About the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center:
The state of the art F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center is Gwinnett County’s flagship wastewater treatment plant. It uses highly advanced technology including membrane filtration, activated sludge bioreactors and ozonation to produce high quality water to return to Lake Lanier. As one of the fastest growing areas in the United States, Gwinnett County relies on the facility to treat up to 60 MGD of wastewater, serving a population nearly 900,000 people. The treatment process is continually monitored to ensure safety in all operational stages through the analysis of electronic controls, monitoring devices and computers. Ostara is part of the County’s resource recovery program that includes production of energy from methane; use of FOG and high strength waste from local industries and restaurants to increase gas production; use of waste heat from the generator to heat the digesters; production of a useful fertilizer; and production of high quality reuse water that is returned to its source, Lake Lanier.
About Ostara & Crystal Green:
Ostara helps protect precious water resources by changing the way cities around the world manage nutrients in wastewater streams. The company’s Pearl® technology recovers phosphorus and nitrogen at municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants and transforms them into a high-value, eco-friendly fertilizer, Crystal Green®. The process greatly reduces nutrient management costs and helps plants meet increasingly stringent discharge limits while improving operating reliability. Crystal Green is an enhanced efficiency fertilizer comprised of phosphorus, nitrogen and magnesium (5-28-0 10% Mg), and is marketed through a global network of blenders and distributors to growers in the turf, horticultural and agriculture sectors. Its unique plant-activated mode of action improves crop yields, enhances turf performance and significantly reduces the risk of leaching and runoff, thus protecting local waterways from the nutrient pollution. Ostara operates multiple facilities throughout North America and Europe and recently partnered with the City of Chicago to build what will be the largest municipal nutrient recovery facility in the world when launched in 2016. The company is the recipient of numerous awards including a World Economic Forum 2011 Technology Pioneer, the Global Cleantech 100 and Deloitte’s Technology Green 15. For more information visit and