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Recycled glass proves its worth as a filtration medium

Trials into recycled glass filtration medium (RGFM) have shown that the application consistently outperforms sand, removing up to 80% of suspended solids from water.

Results of commercial-scale trials funded by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and conducted by water treatment specialists Aqua Enviro suggest that using RGFM for filtration of wastewater could cut the costs of treatment as well as being kinder to the environment.

Aqua Enviro consultant Mark Lowe said: “The tests have shown the medium is more effective than sand at removing suspended solids in the effluent and delivers better performance in backwashing. As a result, less frequent backwashing is required, leading to cost savings.

“Unlike sand, the recycled glass has shown no tendency to clog up or ‘blind’, when faced with high loadings of suspended material, leading to fewer blockages.”

With the Environment Agency regulating the amount of suspended solids that are permissible in discharge into watercourses, RGFM could help companies meet targets, preventing excessive growth of blanket weed and detrimental impact on the fish habitat and river flow.

Lowe added: “If the interim findings are confirmed in the final report, they will have implications for a wide range of industrial sectors treating wastewater including heavy engineering, car manufacture, food and beverage factories and paper and pulp mills.

“The results will be of particular interest to manufacturers of filtration equipment and media, as well as managers responsible for effluent quality requiring a more consistent and sustainable solution to their treatment problems.”

Croda Chemicals Europe found that RGFM reduced solids discharged into the water course by 80%, while it could also help cut operating costs through reduced cleaning and maintenance bills and lower capital outlay. In contrast, sand reduced solids by just 32%.

In the trials, similar results were found by packaging manufacturers Georgia Pacific UK, vegetables distributor JE Hartley and Yorkshire Water.

WRAP materials development manager Bronnie Allen said: “We’re delighted with progress to date. So far, trials indicate RGFM, which is manufactured to BSI PAS 102 specifications, is viable commercially and offers economic and performance benefits compared to traditional filtration materials. It is also a way for companies to demonstrate commitment to the environment.”

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