Norway is a leading country on wastewater treatment comprising chemical precipitation processes. This is because Norwegian effluent standards to the North Sea have traditionally focused on phosphorus removal. In most cases, chemical treatment therefore has been considered to give lower investment and operating costs than biological treatment. Norwegian wastewater policy and management is based on the EU guidelines resulting from the EEA (European Economic Area) Agreement. According to the 1991 Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, this will in most cases require secondary treatment. However, primary treatment can be accepted for plants larger than 10,000 PT with effluents to less sensitive coastal areas, if no negative environmental impacts can be proved.

The main objective of the Regional Water, Sewerage and Waste Company (IVAR) is to comply with the prevailing effluent limits at lowest possible cost. During the past four years, IVAR has therefore undertaken comprehensive optimising of the precipitation process including full-scale experiments with different coagulant dosing control systems and different types of coagulants. IVAR also accomplished a feasibility study of introducing biological treatment as an alternative to chemical treatment. Under the prevailing frame conditions of discharge requirements and sludge deposit costs, it is not economically feasible to change to organic coagulants or biological treatment. This conclusion might have to be altered later resulting from the implementation of new EU regulations and increasing sludge deposit costs.

This paper presents results from full-scale experiments, extracts from the feasibility study and a comparison of costs. Furthermore, the practical consequences of implementing the EU-guidelines are discussed.

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