In the run-up to the next Asset Management Period, ensuring the implementation of solutions for the management and removal of phosphorus has never been more pertinent. Here, Matt Langdon from Veolia Water Technologies UK (VWT UK) looks at the steps that should be taken to guarantee a sustainable and long-term solution.

The current environment is exceedingly challenging for water companies, with pressure mounting from both the public and regulators over the use of stormwater overflows and the challenges of prolonged dry weather. However, alongside this remains the issue of phosphorus (P) removal.

Phosphorus is a key component of industrial fertilisers and in large quantities can have a devastating effect on natural water courses, stimulating algae blooms and depleting oxygen levels. This can result in the death of aquatic wildlife and block sunlight from water-based plant life.

With the next Asset Management Period (AMP8) approaching in 2025, Ofwat’s final determination with regard to a phosphorus consent level is expected to tighten and be a significant drop compared with AMP7’s requirements.

With issues like the pandemic and the war in Ukraine impacting materials costs, many water companies have not yet implemented a P removal solution capable of delivering these consent levels. As such, companies will need to optimise or replace existing assets as soon as possible to avoid being penalised by Ofwat. However, the prospect of even stricter determinations in the coming years poses the question of how water companies can futureproof technologies.

VWT UK has several options that can cater to both current and future P removal requirements. For example, VWT UK’s Actiflo® is a sand ballasted flocculation system capable of reducing P to as little as 0.08 mg/L. Manufactured in the UK from recyclable stainless steel, the standardised package is simple to install and has a small footprint. It offers operational flexibility as the ballasted flocculation process allows for varying influent total Phosphorus (TP) and total suspended solid (TSS) levels to be effectively treated. It can also handle lower output TP requirements through adjustments to the chemical dosing with no need to add or upgrade equipment.

Alternatively, VWT UK’s Hydrotech Performance Disc Filter (HPF) provides a high level of filtration for a smaller footprint than many other standard cloth or disc filters. Using a durable polyester woven cloth filter system, it is capable of reducing P to as little as 0.1 mg/L. The media is easy to clean and maintain and it is also unsusceptible to fouling. This combination of performance and its compact size makes it an ideal solution for new and retrofit purposes.

Both of these technologies represent a safe investment, capable of delivering over a long period of time. However, optimisation is key when it comes to P removal, enabling plants to drive down chemical use while reducing P even further. For example, VWT UK’s cloud-based digital monitoring system Hubgrade™ is compatible with all new and existing water treatment technologies and can enable engineers to gain valuable insight into the workings of their water treatment systems. With this knowledge, steps can be taken to increase biological and hydraulic capacity, cut chemical use.

Continued support from our UK based Process and site teams has meant at one Actiflo® plant in the UK, analysis highlighted that it would be possible to recirculate Actiflo® sludge to remove the need for a primary ferric dose, significantly cutting chemical use and saving the client money.

Regardless of the method used, there is little doubt that in the run up to AMP8, the water industry needs to change its approach to phosphorus removal. With targets and determinations set to tighten, investing in capable and adaptive technology is the only way to secure sustainable, long-term results and keep up with the expected rate of change.

To find out more about Veolia Water Technologies UK and its range of solutions, visit