A new wastewater filtration technology, invented and commercialized by Edmonton-based Swirltex, is gaining significant traction with Alberta municipalities. The town of Thorsby is an early adopter of the innovative system, which will be used in the town's wastewater lagoon for the first time this summer.

Swirltex wastewater filtration system is housed in a portable 50 ft by 10 ft trailer

In a conventional wastewater system, lagoons are generally drained seasonally. The Swirltex system provides an alternative to releasing wastewater from lagoons to the environment. Instead, it treats wastewater and transforms it to clean water, which can then be sold for a range of industrial and agricultural applications, such as car washes, irrigation, and oil and gas.

"Our goal in Thorsby is to protect our drinking water when we can," says Thorsby town manager Christine Burke. "There's no need to use drinking water for many industrial uses. Cleaning our wastewater makes sense and is an investment for future generations."

It's also an economic development opportunity, notes Burke. It may be possible to attract projects to the town that can use clean wastewater instead of expensive drinking water. The town is open to ideas from entrepreneurs, she says. "If more volume is needed, there are a number of lagoons in the west end of Leduc Country. The total amount of water could be substantial."

Inventor of the system and Swirltex CEO Peter Christou is buoyed by the reception in Alberta municipalities. "Municipalities are looking for ways to green their operations," he says. "We're here at the right time." A pilot project is underway in Ponoka and three other Alberta communities (Crossfield, Leduc County, Two Hills) have signed on to the project.

* The Swirltex innovation is one of 49 projects supported by the Alberta Innovates Water Innovation Program.

Photo credits: Jana Hanova
Photo in header: Swirltex team, NorQuest College Lagoon Special staff, and Ponoka Public Works. At the launch of the Ponoka pilot project.