HybArkt – Passive hybrid treatment solutions to remove nitrogen and heavy metals from different types of waters in arctic region

Project background

In Finland, many processes, including mining, municipal wastewater treatment, urban runoff, agriculture, forestry and peat extraction, lead to nitrogen and/or heavy metal loads to recipient water bodies. Often it is not cost-effective to build active water treatment units for many of these operations. This is true e.g. for mining operations (especially after mine closure), municipalities producing small amounts of wastewater (e.g. in holiday resorts), urban runoffs, peat extraction and agriculture. When active treatment options are not economically feasible, passive treatment options like constructed wetlands, bioreactors, moss pools can be (and in part are already) used to treat the water in a cost efficient manner. However, individual passive treatment options often cannot remove all contaminants in the water with the same purification efficiency. Eg. some applications are efficient in phosphorus removal, but do not remove nitrogen well enough. By combining different passive treatment modules, it would be possible to build hybrid water purification systems that are individually designed and optimized to each target place, taking into account the quality of the water to be treated as well as the state of the receiving water body.

Project aim and task

The aim of the project is to plan and construct such hybrid passive water treatment systems that allow year-round removal of nitrogen and heavy metals from waters in arctic conditions by combining existing knowledge about the individual modules and to test the hybrid treatment systems in selected pilot applications. On the basis of the obtained knowledge a tool for sizing and constructing hybrid passive treatment systems will be created.

The project is divided into 4 work packages

1. Evaluation of treatment modules that are fit for different types of waters based on existing information

2. Sizing and construction of hybrid water treatment systems; creation of a tool for planning hybrid water treatment systems

3. Building and monitoring of pilot treatment systems

4. Interactive planning and communication

In this project, cooperation is established with both companies and municipal parties, in order to obtain as much useful knowledge and experience about hybrid passive treatment solutions as possible. The cooperation partners can use the experience gained in the project to either optimize their water treatment by using hybrid passive treatment systems or by commercializing materials, building units or planning expertise.

HybArkt project will run for a period three years (1.1.2018-31.12.2020) and the budget is 470 000 €. The project team is composed of researchers from two research units from the University of Oulu: Water Resources and Environmental Engineering and Ecology and Genetics and from Finnish Environmental Institute. The project is mainly funded by European Regional Development Fund via the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for North Ostrobothnia. Other funders and partners are: Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy, Pajupojat Oy, Vapo Clean Waters Oy, Kallon vesi- ja viemäriosuuskunta, Levin Vesihuolto Oy, Tunturi-Lapin Vesi Oy, Lakeuden Keskuspuhdistamo Oy, Pohjois-Suomen Suunnittelupalvelu Oy, Agnico-Eagle Finland Oy, Mushroom Agent, Turveruukki Oy, Owatec Group Oy, Boliden Kevitsa Mining Oy, City of Pyhäjärvi, Municipality of Kittilä, Outokumpu Chrome Oy, Finnish Water Utilities Association, University of Oulu and Finnish Environmental Institute.

Project web pages

Contact information

Heini Postila
Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Research group
P.O. BOX 4300
90014 University of Oulu
E-mail: heini.postila (at) oulu.fi


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