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The city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has opened a new commercial nutrient recovery facility in partnership with Canadian-based company Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc., allowing the nutrients removed during the city's wastewater treatment to be used for the production of a highly efficient fertilizer.

The $4.7 million facility is the first commercial nutrient recovery plant in Canada and it is expected to produce between 240 and 350 tons of the fertilizer, known as Crystal Green, every year.

Crystal Green is not only good for the environment, it is also very cost-effective, Ostara stated. The process will also add years of service to the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saskatoon, the company said.

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The process starts when wastewater is brought to the plant for treatment. Excess amounts of nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen are picked up and are then processed to be transformed into Crystal Green — a highly efficient and environmentally friendly fertilizer with slow release. In contrast to conventional fertilizers, Crystal Green is capable of meeting plant demand by releasing nutrients only when the roots need them.

Donald Atchison, mayor of Saskatoon, commented that Ostara's technology allows the city to be proactive in dealing with one of the key water treatment issues – nutrient overload. Utility Services general manager Jeff Jorgenson added that protecting the community and the local environment was a top priority for the city and the new plant would facilitate this by reducing pollution and providing renewable resources.