Affordable & Sustainable Water Management for Housing Developers & Waste Water Companies

Robert White, co-founder of PWS, on phosphates and nitrogen removal and feeding the world in 2100.

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Robert White

5th October 2021
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At 85, it’s safe to say I’ve been around a bit.  I’ve seen a lot of change; but I’ve also seen a lot of things stay the same that shouldn’t. Halfway through my fourth decade in the water industry, I know that one of the most significant and effective opportunities for change – Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) – is only just being tapped.

I have been convinced of the need to do things better for years. I am more convinced than ever now that we have the means to achieve it.

BNR process has been around for years but has been both cumbersome and expensive. NUTREM® brings the whole process into the 21st Century at a very competitive cost.

Biological Nutrient Removal is an innovative wastewater treatment solution which removes phosphates and nitrogen from wastewater before it is discharged to the water system.

Water companies and developers alike understand the importance of BNR but have found implementation to be too expensive and intrusive on space with unacceptable downtime periods detrimental to the running of the plant.

We at Plantwork Systems have adapted these processes to retain and improve the environmental benefits, whilst reducing the cost and footprint.

Our technology, NUTREM®, brings the whole process into the 21st Century at a very competitive cost.

After some years in the defence industry, I co-founded Plantwork Systems in 2009 with my son Adam. It was our driving motivation to develop existing wastewater processes and bring innovative products to the market that achieved better results for less.

There was a genuine passion behind this – to be of benefit to the planet’s future and to people’s lives now through improvement of wastewater management.

Water companies and developers can be assured that there is no huge capital outlay or need for extra space with Plantwork Systems methods. This is effective technology that can be installed within tight timescales.

Industry Leading Results

The beauty of BNR is that it hits so many buttons for a range of stakeholders – Waste and Sewerage Companies, commercial enterprise, developers and house builders. All of these are under increasing pressure from government, regulators and customers to meet the challenges of climate change, as well as provide solutions to cope with the increasing population, deliver improvements in service and price reduction.

And all this against a backdrop of lack of capacity in the current wastewater infrastructure and significant planning constraints.

With NUTREM®, these customers get industry-leading nutrient removal in an environmentally sustainable way, at the same time as offering a number of cost benefits. NUTREM® has an innovative modular construction, requires a 90% smaller footprint than other options, consumes less energy than more traditional BNR systems, with lower capital expenditure and lower operating costs.

All this makes NUTREM® ideal for new waste and sewerage developments, expansion of existing plants, new housing schemes, garden villages and a range of larger developments.


Higher water quality at lower cost

The recovery of phosphates is one of the biggest global issues for sustainability. Without phosphates we cannot feed the world. It is one of the most important market influencing factors in waste water management right now.

PWS Technology addresses global Phosphate Shortage

Planet and Pocket

We hear a lot – quite rightly – about water quality and supply, resource efficiency and environmental pollution. But one of the biggest challenges for the world’s sustainability right now, which we hear much less about, is the recovery of phosphates essential for food production. Most of the world’s phosphates are acquired from Morocco and it is estimated that we have only 80 years supply of phosphates left.

Without phosphates we are totally reliant on organic farming.

So why not go 100% organic? The problem with totally organic methods is that only two thirds of today’s food could be produced annually with these alone, yet we have an ever increasing population – estimated to be 11 billion by 2100.  Whilst there will be a welcome shift back to organic farming, we shall still need phosphates if we are to feed the world. So this is one of the most important market influencing factors in waste water management right now.

The good news is that it is a challenge that we can meet. With Plantwork Systems technology we will be able to separate and RECOVER the phosphate and nitrates from wastewater.


Working Together

We are working on BNR and future ideas right now as a joint venture with Severn Trent Connect. We have the opportunity to install complete BNR systems and I hope to be able to say more about that at some point soon.

I am excited for the future with these opportunities to do things better. I am sometimes asked what I would do with the next 50 years. I was born in 1936, I don’t think I am going to have that luxury!  But one of the joys of sharing this passion with my son Adam is that I know that, in the work we have done at Plantwork Systems and the ideas we have in development, I have done my bit to pass on a decent legacy for future generations.

The opportunities are here for the water industry and commercial developers to do the same.

Plantwork Systems can work jointly with water companies and commercial developers to deliver sustainable solutions for the future, which are good for the pocket as well as the planet.

Article by Robert White, PWS Managing Director

PWS NUTREM environmental and economic benefits