Atlanta DWM announces new nutrient recovery efforts

The City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (DWM) has launched a partnership with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, Inc., to install and operate a nutrient recovery facility at the DWM’s R.M. Clayton Water Reclamation Center (WRC), delivered under a design-build agreement and financed through a unique operating lease model.

“We are very proud to partner with the City of Atlanta on this project to provide a cost effective and environmentally progressive solution to support the City’s Watershed Management Wastewater Master Plan,” said Dan Parmar, Ostara’s president and CEO. “It’s good to be part of a solution that solves operational issues, helps meet nutrient limits, and protects local waterways.”

The R.M. Clayton WRC is required to meet regulatory limits on nutrient discharges. Extensive engineering review along with onsite pilot testing validated nutrient recovery as a solution to address these compliance concerns as outlined in the City of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management Master Plan in 2014. Excess nutrients such as phosphorus in waterways cause algae to grow and bloom, creating toxic conditions that destroy aquatic life and severely limit recreational enjoyment of lakes and rivers.  Phosphorus is considered a major contributor to nutrient pollution, entering bodies of water from numerous sources including urban water treatment facilities.

By recovering nutrients from the treatment facility’s wastewater stream and converting them to continuous release fertilizer, Ostara’s technology helps R.M. Clayton WRC increase operational efficiencies through struvite avoidance – a cement-like scale in pipes caused by an excess of nutrients – and also serves to protect the local watershed from nutrient pollution.

Ostara’s Pearl® process can recover 80 percent or more of the phosphorus and up to 15 percent of the ammonia-nitrogen from wastewater streams before they accumulate as struvite in pipes and equipment.  Ostara’s nutrient recovery system at the R.M. Clayton Water Reclamation Center will be a two Pearl® 2K reactor system, housed in a new solar-roofed building, with an installed production capacity of around 900 tons of fertilizer per year.  Through a long-term fertilizer purchase agreement, the City of Atlanta will receive revenue for every ton of fertilizer produced.

The facility will be funded utilizing a unique operating lease model where operational savings and fertilizer revenue generated from the implementation of the Pearl nutrient recovery system provide a net positive cashflow to the City.  Further, the facility will be operated by Ostara.

One of the key differences with the fertilizer produced from Ostara’s process – marketed and sold as Crystal Green® – is that it will further protect waterways through its unique “Root-Activated™” mode-of-action, only releasing nutrients according to root demand and therefore significantly reducing leaching and runoff into surrounding waterways.

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 reduces nutrient management costs and helps plants meet increasingly stringent discharge limits while improving operating reliability. Crystal Green is the first continuous release granular fertilizer to provide Root-Activated™ phosphorus, nitrogen and magnesium (5-28-0 with 10%Mg), and is marketed through a global network of blenders and distributors to growers in the turf and agriculture sectors. Its unique Root-Activated™ mode of action improves crop yields, enhances turf performance and significantly reduces leaching and runoff, thus protecting local waterways from nutrient pollution. Ostara operates multiple facilities throughout North America and Europe. For more information, visit and

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