Cetaqua Chile will lead a project to control the formation of bulking

Cetaqua Chile, together with Aguas Andinas and the Cuaruma Biotechnology Nucleus (NBC) of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) will develop the project “Development of a technology based on bacteriophages for the biocontrol of filamentous bacteria that cause bulking In activated sludge plants”.

Part of the financing of the project, which has a total cost of 261,000€ aproximately, will be made through the public funds of the Technological Contracts for Innovation Program (CORFO), with a total contribution of 120,00€ over a period of two years. This is the first public financing program that Cetaqua Chile obtains, less than a year after starting its activity. On the other hand, it is the first project in which Aguas Andinas has won as a beneficiary entity, since on other occasions the beneficiary had always been a university or external technological center.

Bulking is the main problem of activated sludge systems. This process is originated from the proliferation of filamentous bacteria, causing problems in sedimentability of the sludge, which has consequences such as increased operating costs, decreased effluent quality, odor events and post-process operational problems both in the water line as sludge.

The objective of the project is to develop a product based on bacteriophages that allows the biocontrol of filamentous bacteria causing bulking in activated sludge plants, in order to control and prevent their formation. In a first experimental stage, the researchers will try to identify the species that generate the bulking problem and to isolate the bacteriophages already present in this ecosystem. Subsequently, the effectiveness of the developed solution and its stability in an experimental activated sludge system will be evaluated. The second stage will consist of scaling and evaluation in real environment of the product.

The project will have the participation of Yves Lesty and Carlos Berroeta, from Aguas Andinas, as Project Manager and R&D responsible respectively, and with Diego Olivares from Cetaqua Chile and Rolando Chamy from the Biotechnology Center of Cuaruma (NBC) of the PUCV, as Contract Project Managers.