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Client: Ovivo

Project: BioAlgaNyx Pathogen Equivalency
Project Type: Regulatory Permitting AND Research and Innovative Projects
Industry: Engineers
Location: Austin, Texas
Waste water treatment plant.


Aerobic digester performance is a challenge for thousands of small wastewater treatment plants that land apply Class B biosolids due to the difficulty in consistently achieving Process Vector Attraction Reduction (PVAR), either due to increasing solids volumes or cold weather. This challenge is often addressed by increasing aerobic digestion tank capacity. This solution is costly, both in capital and operating costs. Ovivo has developed a phagotrophic algae technology that improves aerobic digester performance and expands existing aerobic digestion unit capacity. When aerobic digestion is operating effectively, the Ovivo process accelerated the digestion time required to meet Class B fecal coliform standards.
As with any new technology, certifications and/or performance guarantees are to gain market share and provide assurances to early adopters of the technology. Ovivo contracted with Material Matters to explore opportunities for certification and/or validation of the BioAlgaNyx (BAN) process, as well as to engage potential piloting partners.

Ovivo Algae


In Phase 1 of this project, Material Matters reviewed previous studies and pilots that utilized the BAN process, and generated fact sheets for the technology that explained the technology, provided example process flow diagrams, and previously generated data. These sheets were used to help illustrate the new technology during meeting with potential stakeholders. Meetings were then scheduled with United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to evaluate the process and potential certification pathways.

The USEPA includes a Pathogen Equivalency Committee (PEC), a federally sponsored technical group that provides technical assistance and recommendations on process equivalencies for Pathogen Reduction (PR) in sewage sludge. A technology provider with a new technology that does not currently fit an existing process-based pathogen reduction method can apply for a pathogen equivalency for either Class B or Class A treatment. Once granted, this equivalency can be used to demonstrate pathogen reduction by process, without the use of fecal coliform testing. At the conclusion of Phase 1, Ovivo decided to move forward with equivalency for the BAN technology.

A tractor in a field.

Outcomes and Benefits

Material Matters assisted Ovivo in finding a suitable pathway to validate their process and generate a process-based pathogen reduction method. In Phase 2 of this project, Material Matters is generating a Quality Assurance Project Plan, which is the guiding document for the USEPA pathogen equivalency process. MM will continue to support Ovivo through validation and gaining formal equivalency.

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