Brazilian bacteria help Severn Trent cut energy use

A strain of ammonium-devouring bacteria imported from Brazil has helped cut power use in Severn Trent’s largest water treatment plant by 15%, the company has said.

The naturally occuring bacteria can convert ammonium and nitrate into nitrogen in oxygen-starved environments - in a process known as ‘anammox’, and were identified as a powerful tool for the water treatment sector since their discovery in the 1990s. 

Severn Trent is the first UK water company to import such bacteria from Brazil, reducing the energy required to remove ammonium from wastewater in its Minworth facility, which is currently undergoing a multi-million pound upgrade.

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