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Building Better Bugs: Canadian Facility Studies Biological Nutrient Removal

Research performed at a wastewater treatment facility in Calgary, Canada, might one day help develop better processes for removing contaminants, save billions in infrastructure upgrades, prevent toxic effluent from entering a treatment plant and provide clean water for everyone on the planet.

“We tend to think of pathogens as the bacteria we’re most concerned about in wastewater treatment plants, but for BNR [biological nutrient removal] processes, bacteria are the key,” says Lee Jackson, Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets scientific director and professor of biological sciences at the University of Calgary. “If we can understand how to optimize nutrient removal processes, that could translate into potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in delayed infrastructure upgrades.”