Potable Sludge Marketplace Project

Isle Utilities have successfully gained funding as part of GFIL Future Frontiers Fund (Cranfield University) to initiate the creation of a circular economy trading platform and marketplace for water treatment sludges. They hope that with the introduction of this platform, the whole UK water sector will be able to effectively reuse and recycle this waste, avoiding landfill or sending sludge to the sewer.  By navigating regulatory hurdles, facilitating the trading and logistical hurdles, the new platform will make it easy for companies to participate in this new sustainable market.

As part of this work, they need to quantify the volume of waste available in the UK from all potable water producers. This is in particular reference to Al potable water sludges from the clarification of water, although it would be useful to receive records for both Al and Fe. 

They are aware that some water companies keep detailed records of sludge production, characterisation and disposal routes, and so they are hoping that it will be a fairly easy task to collect this information. They will be anonymising and aggregating data for the platform, but I’m happy to have a chat about how the data will be stored and used.

This marketplace will be open to water utilities, technologies that process or refine sludges into useful materials, and the end users of raw and refined materials. Isle Utilities will act as a broker and matchmaker to bring together those that have a ‘waste’ to dispose of, and those that reuse the waste. 

A similar marketplace has been successfully created and operated in the Netherlands for a number of years, and all water treatment wastes are valorised rather than disposed of. If effective, the UK marketplace will enable water utilities across the UK to market or valorise their waste streams and avoid the environmental and financial cost of disposal.

They aim in future to expand the network to more types of waste including Fe water treatment sludge, and all other wastes from the treatment of potable water, once achieving proof of concept.

All information supplied will remain anonymous at this point, and any information disclosed will remain confidential. We are also able to complete NDAs if required. Once the project starts moving, all data will be aggregated and anonymised.

If you are interest in participating in this project, please contact:

Dr Heather Kerr

Technology Consultant

Isle Utilities




Announcement: New Chair of the UK Wastewater Network

Ana Soares, Professor of Biotechnology Engineering at Cranfield Water Science Institute, becomes the new Chair of the UK Wastewater Network. She is succeeding Prof Bruce Jefferson who was chairing the UK Wastewater Network since June 2020.

Ana is an IWA Fellow and leads the Cranfield Grand Challenge in Green Technologies and the Resource Recovery Community of Practice at Cranfield University. Her research focuses on the behaviour and manipulation of bacterial communities under dynamic conditions, leading to new technologies, process optimisation and valuable product recovery. Ana’s research is applied to municipal as well as industrial wastewater, proposing innovative and economically feasible solutions to produce high quality effluents and product recovery. Her scientific findings have resulted in leading-edge processes and technological innovations that contribute, worldwide, to sustainable solutions for effluent treatment. These contributions are underpinning the implementation of circular economy solutions, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and enhanced effluent quality. She is particularly successful in bridging the gap between science and application, working in close collaboration with industrial and institutional stakeholders. She is also involved in the training of master students, especially the MSc in Water and Wastewater Engineering at Cranfield University and water professionals from companies such as Scottish Water, Yorkshire Water, Shell, United Utilities, WPL, etc. through bespoke course delivery. 

We thank Bruce for the fantastic job he has done for the UK Wastewater Network over the past few years and wish a warm welcome to Ana Soares.


United Utilities begins £50m investment to improve River Bollin through innovative wastewater treatment process

In order to meet stricter consents on phosphorus and ammonia discharged to the environement to be introduced from the end of 2024 by the Water Framework Directive (WFD), United Utilties will be installing for the first time at one of their wastewater treatment works – in Prestbury – an innovative Nuvoda Mobile Organic Biofilm (MOB) technology. This system, representing a £50 million investment, and currently in the design phase, will use a highly renewable plant material to digest the sludge produced in the treatment process. It has a number of benefits, helping to optimise the wastewater treatment process, increase capacity, and improve nutrient removal, as well as being friendlier for the environment, and therefore will help improvinf water quality in the River Bollin.

>> Read more here


Water Breakthrough Challenge 2 awards £5m to accelerate tech solutions to leaks, pollution and water quality.

On World Water Day, Ofwat announced the 13 winners of the Catalyst stream of Ofwat’s second Water Breakthrough Challenge. Ofwat has awarded £5.2 million to innovative, water company-led projects using new technology and cross-sector collaborations to improve water quality, reduce pollution, and enhance services for customers:

  • A HERU for Screenings – Led by Severn Trent – £198,144
  • Catalysing a NET-ZERO future – Led by Severn Trent – £762,447
  • Defusing the nitrate timebomb – Led by Portsmouth Water – £154,800 
  • Designer Liner – Led by Yorkshire Water – £173,880 
  • Pipebots for rising mains – Led by Thames Water – £230,930 
  • Support For All – Led by Northumbrian Water – £632,270 
  • SuPR Loofah (Sustainable Phosphorus Recovery) – Led by Northumbrian Water – £445,577 Tap Water Forensics – Led by Severn Trent – £371,215 
  • Sub-Seasonal Forecasting to Improve Operational Decision Making – Led by Thames Water – £678,750
  • Incentivising community-centric rainwater management – Led by Thames Water – £225,000
  • Unlocking bioresource market growth using a collaborative decision support tool – led by Anglian Water – £314,316
  • Unlocking digital twins – Led by Thames Water – £334,800
  • Water Quality As-A-Service Treatment-2-Tap – Led by Northumbrian Water – £714,880


Achieving Water Neutrality.

Thames Water to reward housing developers who commit to building new properties fitted with low water using devices and use rainwater or greywater for toilet flushing and garden irrigation.

Read more here


DWI Research: Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOP) – Disinfection By-Products (DBPs) Phase II

Led by Dr Emma Goslan, Lecturer in Water Chemistry at Cranfield University, the aim of this study was to confirm whether a set of nine DBPs idenfied as having he potential to form when water is treated using AOPs are formed under controlled conditions and if so whether these DBPs can be effectively removed by GAC post AOP. The project developed analytical methodologies for the nine DBPs, completed a bench scale study assessing their removal by GAC and reported on the conditions which favoured their formation during AOP.

Find out about the outcomes of the project, in the report available here.

Learn more about these project here