How to eliminate sewer surcharges with a simple, low-energy system

DATE POSTED: September 3, 2021

Pre-treatment of high-strength wastewater before discharging it to a municipal sewer can be challenging, especially if high levels of BOD, TSS and ammonia are present. But what if a simple, affordable, onsite solution was available to help meet pre-treatment requirements and avoid sewer surcharges?

Bishop Water combines two of its robust, easy-to-use treatment technologies—The Bishop Solids Management Solution and BioCord™ Reactors—to create a scalable solution for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications. The process can handle high solids and nutrient concentrations for a fraction of the capital and operating costs of more complex, energy-intensive alternatives.

How it works

Solids management and BioCord combined
Geotube dewatering

The wastewater first goes to Bishop Water’s Solids Management Solution. Unlike complex, energy-intensive mechanical dewatering equipment, the Bishop approach utilizes a passive dewatering process that achieves a high level of dry solids using only specially selected polymers, Geotube® filtration and gravity.

As the solids are pumped to the Geotubes, a polymer is added to retain non-soluble BOD, TSS, and other contaminants. The Geotubes also provide filtration and release clear water that is low in TSS, but may still contains soluble organics and nutrients.

This nutrient-rich filtrate is then transferred to a BioCord Reactor system for further treatment. BioCord Reactors provide a simple, robust process to remove soluble BOD and ammonia with very little operator oversight.

BioCord installation

A BioCord Reactor is simply a modular frame that supports densely arranged strands of polymer fibres. These fibres provide a massive surface area for the growth of aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms that are ideal for enhanced biological treatment and maintaining regulatory compliance – even in cold weather conditions.

This integrated solution can be customized meet the specific size constraints, treatment requirements, and growth plans for each site. The system also incorporates a modular design that can be easily expanded as treatment needs change.

Learn more about Bishop Water’s solids management and nutrient removal solutions.

Contact us to discuss treatment options for your facility.

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Ammonia discharge limits are tightening up for Canadian mines. Be ready with a BioCord system

DATE POSTED: January 27, 2021

By June 1, 2021 metal and diamond mines in Canada will need to comply with a new lower discharge limit for unionized ammonia. Over 100 mines will be affected by this revision to the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations (MDMER), which sets a federal effluent limit of 0.5 mg NH3/L. 

To achieve this new regulation, changes may be needed to a mine site’s wastewater treatment system. But the new ammonia target can likely be reached without the need for complex or costly technology upgrades. Many mine sites use simple lagoon systems for wastewater treatment—in part due to their ease of use and low operating costs—and there are upgrade options that can maintain this simplicity and affordability while also improving ammonia removal. 

More nitrifying bacteria = better total ammonia removal

A simple, fixed-film biological treatment system such as Bishop BioCord™ Reactors can dramatically improve total ammonia removal, without significant changes to the way a lagoon is operated. That’s because a BioCord system is designed to enhance the existing lagoon process rather than add another step or sidestream process to the plant. 

Unlike moving-bed or submerged-bed biofilm systems, which require additional tanks or cells, BioCord Reactors can be installed directly into the treatment lagoon to provide a massive surface area on which preferred, naturally occurring bacteria can grow. It’s like a condominium for bacteria; made from densely arranged loops of polymer fibers that are suspended from free-standing frames. This enables BioCord to establish a robust population of nitrifying bacteria that is many times greater than what can be maintained in an ordinary activated sludge lagoon. 

BioCord isn’t limited to upgrades only. This modular system can also form the foundation for new wastewater treatment plants that are designed as lagoons, tanks or even temporary containers. 

Effluent BioCord concentrations running in SBR (sequencing batch reactor) and CSTR (continuous stirred tank reactor) mode.

High oxygen transfer is critical

Each frame is also equipped with a micro-bubble aeration system powered by a low-energy compressor. This design enables the system to achieve high oxygen transfer to the biofilm for a fraction of the capital and operating costs of a typical blower-powered lagoon aeration system.  Oxygen is a critical, and often limiting, parameter for nitrifying bacteria to proliferate, so having high oxygen transfer at a low energy cost is a tremendous advantage. 

Once operational, a BioCord system acclimatizes and adapts to the range of pH, temperature and contaminants that it may experience in the mine’s wastewater lagoon, including high levels of ammonia, nitrogen and cyanide. 

BioCord testing shows that the system can achieve over 99% ammonia reduction in synthetic wastewater concentrations as high as 750 mg/L. Since the system is modular, the system can be sized to meet the required ammonia target and quickly expanded if conditions change. 

Learn more about the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations.

Learn more about BioCord Reactors for high strength wastewater treatment.

Contact us  to discuss your high strength wastewater treatment needs.

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Top 5 things to consider for a lagoon upgrade

DATE POSTED: December 22, 2020

Wastewater lagoons provide simple, reliable and relatively low-cost treatment for small and medium sized communities. In Canada and the US, there are nearly 10,000 municipal lagoon systems and many more when industrial, agricultural and commercial lagoon systems are included. 

But eventually a community needs to improve the treatment capacity and performance of its lagoon system to accommodate growth, meet more stringent regulatory requirements, or both. We’ve compiled a list of important considerations to help you plan a lagoon upgrade that can provide the performance and capacity your community needs at affordable capital and operating costs.

1) Post-lagoon or in-situ treatment process

Moving-bed and submerged-bed systems typically add tanks or in-ground cells to accommodate the new treatment process. Not only does this add to the plant footprint, it also requires additional equipment such as tanks, pipes, pumps and blowers, which can substantially increase capital costs. In-situ systems can be installed directly into the lagoon to enhance treatment capacity without expanding footprint or adding a large amount of supporting equipment. 

2) Energy demand

Blowers can provide lots of air quickly, but the equipment is costly and has high energy demands. Some systems such as MBBR also rely on coarse bubbles from blowers to circulate the carrier media and keep it in suspension, in addition to supplying air to the microbial population. But larger bubbles are also less efficient at transferring oxygen to microbes – much of the air simply bubbles up and out of the process tank. Instead, consider a system that uses low-energy compressors and micro-bubble aeration for significantly higher oxygen transfer and lower, more efficient energy usage. 

3) Ease of operation 

One of the big advantages of wastewater lagoons is that they require little operator attention compared to more advanced mechanical treatment plants. In-situ systems can also share this advantage since they align well with the way wastewater lagoons are typically managed and don’t add complexity or additional processes to manage. 

4) Capital and long-term operating costs

Tanks, media beds, blowers and other equipment can all add capital and operating costs to a lagoon upgrade. Alternatively, in-situ systems use the existing lagoon cell, which can reduce capital costs by as much as 50%. Energy demand for in-situ systems can also be up to 50% lower by eliminating the need to pump wastewater to sidestream process and replacing blowers with low-energy compressors

Installing Bishop BioCord Reactors

5) Customizability 

Like any wastewater system, lagoons can experience variable loading, changing flows, upset and more. Upgrade technologies should be easily adaptable to respond to short- and long-term operating conditions, including anticipated changes to population and regulatory requirements. To achieve this, consider modular systems that can be brought online as needed or easily expanded to accommodate the needs of the community or business. 

BioCord Reactors check all the boxes

BioCord™ Reactors biological nutrient removal gives lagoon operators a simple and efficient way to dramatically increase capacity and performance of a wastewater lagoon or conventional activated sludge plant without expanding footprint. This low-energy, self-regulating process is ideal to help a plant achieve up to 99% ammonia reduction in difficult treatment conditions such as during cold weather or when experiencing high-strength or variable loading. The fixed-film, modular process is like a condominium for bacteria on which preferred, naturally occurring bacteria can thrive. BioCord reactors offer a flexible, modular design that can be customized to fit virtually any secondary treatment process and handle anticipated flow and loading parameters. 

Learn more about BioCord Reactors for lagoon upgrades. 

Contact us to discuss your wastewater treatment plant upgrade. 

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Learn how BioCord and baffle curtains are enhancing performance at Limoges WWTF

DATE POSTED: October 6, 2020

Flow of WW through baffle curtains and BioCord Reactors at Limoges WWTF

Baffle curtains now surround two cells of BioCord™ Reactors that were installed as part of an upgrade for the Limoges WWTF in The Nation Municipality. The baffle curtains are an important component to maximize contact between the raw wastewater in the lagoon cells and the BioCord biofilm that breaks down the ammonia.

The baffle curtains achieve this by forming a raceway that directs the flow of wastewater through a series of 180 degree turns. This arrangement not only provides the most intensive arrangement for the 30 BioCord Reactors that make up each cell, but also a compact footprint. The two cells will operate in parallel with the incoming flow spilt between them. Each cell is designed to reduce influent ammonia from 30 mg/L to 1 mg/L in the summer and 5 mg/L in the winter.

Treatment lagoons typically struggle to achieve ammonia removal in the winter months, when cold temperatures reduce the population and activity of nitrifying bacteria. The BioCord system, along with other upgrades to the facility, will enable the Limoges WWTF to improve cold-weather performance and alter its operation from intermittent to continuous discharge. These process changes will also provide a dramatic increase to its treatment capacity, increasing it from 1,500 m3/day to 3,500 m3/day.

Limoges BioCord Installation
BioCord Reactors shown during installation. Once the BioCord Reactors were set in place and connected to the aeration system, the baffle curtains were raised into place to create the raceway.

As a result of this $10 million project, which also includes screening, grit removal, disk filtration and UV disinfection the Nation Municipality can extend the life of its wastewater lagoon system and avoid the need to replace it with a costly mechanical treatment plant.

BioCord Reactors are a made-in-Canada solution that is tested and proven to provide low-energy, self-regulating nutrient removal throughout the wide range of seasonal operating conditions that a plant experiences. The easy-to-operate system aligns well with the way wastewater lagoons are typically managed. With an optimized BioCord system, wastewater lagoons can accept greater nutrient loading, decrease retention times and improve effluent quality—especially in cold-weather conditions.

Watch our webinar series or visit our website to learn more about Bishop BioCord Reactors for enhancing cold weather performance in municipal and industrial wastewater lagoons and conventional activated sludge systems.

Contact us to discuss a BioCord system to achieve year-round enhanced ammonia removal in your wastewater lagoon or CAS plant.  

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Spring is coming. Get ready to remove your lagoon’s sludge blanket

DATE POSTED: January 29, 2020

It won’t be long before spring weather arrives and wastewater lagoons begin to thaw and return to more efficient operation. But as this happens, non-aerated lagoons can experience benthal feedback—a process where the turbulence of the warming water stirs up the sludge blanket and releases hydrogen sulfide gas along with nutrients that have accumulated in the settled sludge. 

The result is not only wafting odours, but also potentially high concentrations of TSS, BOD, phosphorus and ammonia in treated effluent. In some cases, the concentrations of some wastewater constituents can be higher in the treated effluent than the influent.

An excessively thick sludge blanket can often be the cause of these symptoms. Too much sludge also reduces lagoon capacity, retention time and can change the flow path of the wastewater. 

Removing some, or all, of the sludge blanket can quickly restore lagoon capacity and eliminate performance issues. In some cases, the installation of baffles, aeration and/or fixed-film biological treatment can also provide a significant, cost-effective improvement to lagoon performance.

Map the blanket to fully understand the problem

Creating a sludge map is an important first step to measure the thickness of the sludge blanket and how it’s distributed throughout the lagoon cell. Once the measurements are complete, Bishop Water can discuss important sludge management considerations and actions including: 

  • Current lagoon capacity vs. design capacity
  • Depth and distribution of sludge
  • Location and volume of recommended sludge removal
  • Budget and long-term planning for sludge removal

Bishop Water Technologies can provide comprehensive services to measure, plan, remove and dewater sludge from wastewater treatment lagoons of all sizes. Our advanced hydraulic dredge enables lagoon cleanout to occur while the facility remains in operation and the Bishop Solids Management Solution—using Geotube® dewatering containers—dramatically reduces the cost of sludge disposal and truck traffic.

Contact us to discuss your lagoon’s sludge blanket and a sludge management plan. 

Learn more about the Bishop Solids Management Solution

Proving BioCord cold-weather nitrification under highly variable conditions

DATE POSTED: December 11, 2019

St Henry pilot

What happens when a BioCord™ pilot system experiences operating conditions that are much different than what was expected? Is the data still useful? Is the pilot project considered a success? 

These are some of the questions we asked ourselves after looking at the results from a BioCord pilot study performed under highly variable conditions. In the end, we learned that the data was very valuable and proved not only that BioCord can achieve nitrification at temperatures below 1°C, but it can do it under some pretty tough conditions. 

The BioCord pilot project was conducted at the wastewater treatment lagoons serving the small town of St. Henry, Ohio, USA. The village was facing serious operational challenges at its four-cell lagoon system, which treats municipal wastewater and effluent from a food processing plant. Despite adding aerators and a mixing unit, the plant was struggling to maintain sufficient ammonia removal during the winter months. 

With little space to expand the treatment plant, the community was also concerned about potentially complying with more stringent ammonia limits (1 mg/L) and handling increased hydraulic flows of up to 2x the plant’s rated capacity. 

St Henry pilot

A 1.4 m x 1.4 m x 1.4 m BioCord Reactor was used in the St Henry Pilot Project.

A BioCord pilot system was installed to test its ability to provide a scalable, low-energy, fixed-film technology that could upgrade lagoon performance and increase treatment capacity without expanding plant footprint. 

The BioCord pilot system was designed to handle influent ammonia concentrations of about 20-25 mg/L and BOD of 50 -75 mg/L, drawn from Cell 2 of the lagoon system. The pilot ran from September 2017 to May 2018. 

BioCord deals with unexpected conditions

But influent concentrations of ammonia and BOD often exceeded the design specifications, especially in the colder months – between November and February. Ammonia was often above 40 and BOD climbed as high as 300 mg/L at times. Our team was concerned that the BioCord system was undersized to handle the higher influent levels. 

Yet despite the higher than anticipated influent concentrations and undersized reactor, the BioCord system performed very well. Nitrification was achieved at temperatures as low as 0.5°C and BOD levels were also dramatically reduced. Based on the data and BioCord performance, the team concluded that additional BioCord reactors would have enabled the pilot system to handle the higher-than-expected loading rates and provide desired nitrification. 

St Henry BOD reductionsSt Henry BOD Reductions

Learn more about simple, low-energy BioCord Reactors for cold-weather ammonia and BOD removal.

Contact us to discuss your wastewater treatment needs. 

A new twist to optimize biofilm treatment for lagoon augmentation

DATE POSTED: July 2, 2019

As published in Western Canada Water

Biofilm, or fixed-film processes, are not new to wastewater treatment—the approach has been used successfully for decades — and long before activated sludge was introduced. 

Left: BioCord media prior to installation at a WWTP.
Right: Layers of microorganisms developed on the BioCord Reactor media.

However, not all biofilm technologies are the same and many experience challenges in achieving low operating costs and optimizing system performance in difficult conditions such as sudden increases in loading, cold water conditions and year-round removal of nitrogen. 

Recent developments in fixed film media, system design and aeration have produced a low-cost, low-energy, low-maintenance process that is installed directly into a treatment lagoon to increase capacity and performance without expanding plant footprint.  

Developed by Bishop Water Technologies, the BioCord™ Reactor system is a fixed-film biological treatment process that is like a condominium for bacteria. Each reactor supports densely arranged, twisted loops of polymer fibres that provide a massive surface area on which preferred, naturally occurring bacteria can thrive.

Read the full article to learn how an optimized BioCord system can help operators overcome many operational challenges.

BioCord™ pilot system proves mettle for cold-weather nitrification

DATE POSTED: March 26, 2019

biocord pilot, biocord, cold weather nitrification

A BioCord pilot system has successfully demonstrated its ability to easily and affordably achieve high ammonia removal for an industrial wastewater lagoon during the cold winter months. Winter and early spring typically pose significant challenges for treatment lagoons to remove ammonia and meet regulatory limits in treated effluent.

This site, a petrochemical manufacturing plant in western Canada, operates a three-lagoon treatment plant, designed to reduce high ammonia and organic loads in the wastewater.

For the pilot project, a containerized, plug-and-play BioCord system was set up to treat raw wastewater from the second pond in the lagoon system—the point where nitrogen is highest.

After 14 weeks of operation, the BioCord system demonstrated significantly better performance than the lagoon for reducing ammonia concentrations and other key treatment parameters such as BOD, cBOD, TSS and COD. Even when the temperature of the wastewater fell as low as 2.8C, BioCord was able to achieve 97% reduction of ammonia.

On average, the BioCord Reactor pilot system was able to reduce ammonia concentration in treated effluent to about 13 mg/L, vs. influent concentration of about 38 mg/L. By comparison, treatment pond 2 was only able to achieve an average of 2% ammonia reduction during cold conditions, reducing the concentration from an average of 38 mg/L to 37 mg/L, well above the site’s regulated discharge limit of 30 mg/L.

biocord pilot, biocord, cold weather nitrification

Data from the study can also be used to design a full-scale, modular BioCord system for the site. Unlike alternative approaches that require additional tanks and energy-intensive blowers, a BioCord system is installed directly into the treatment lagoon, helping to minimize capital costs and eliminating the need to expand plant footprint. This design, along with low-energy compressors, rather than costly blowers enables a BioCord system to consume about 50% less energy than an MBBR system designed to achieve the same level of nutrient removal. The compressors, combined with an integrated aeration diffuser, provide an optimized level of oxygen and mixing to develop a robust, highly efficient biofilm.  

Learn more about BioCord Reactors for cold-weather ammonia removal in treatment lagoons.

Contact us to discuss a BioCord Pilot System for your treatment plant.

In western Canada, contact DWG Process Supply: biocord pilot, biocord, cold weather nitrification

Bay 110, 44 Riel Drive
Riel Business Park
St.Albert, AB, T8N-3Z8
Phone: 780-460-8433

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Try before you buy — a simple, low-cost BioCord upgrade for your lagoon

DATE POSTED: February 27, 2019

biocord pilot system

Now’s the time to install a BioCord pilot system and test the ability of this simple, easy-to-operate biological process to dramatically improve year-round ammonia removal in your wastewater lagoons.

Modular BioCord Reactors are like condominiums for bacteria, incorporating a customizable design that rises up through the water column to suit virtually any treatment conditions and plant design. The reactor frame supports densely arranged loops of polymer fibres that provide a massive surface area on which preferred, naturally occurring bacteria can thrive.

Unlike other attached growth systems, BioCord can be installed directly into the treatment lagoon and does not require costly tanks or blowers to operate. Instead, the system uses energy-efficient compressors that consume only a fraction of the power required by processes such as MBBR.

BioCord requires little operator attention and quickly establishes a large, healthy colony of desirable microbes that effectively remove ammonia and other wastewater constituents such as BOD, COD, TSS and phosphorus.

Test BioCord performance at your lagoon


A BioCord pilot system can be easily installed at any wastewater lagoon to test system performance under site-specific conditions. Following a site assessment, a team from Bishop Water Technologies can install a BioCord pilot system that is capable of treating about 32 m³ (8,400 gallons) of wastewater per day to evaluate its effectiveness at producing treated effluent that will meet the regulated ammonia limit for the site.

A compact BioCord pilot system can be brought to site fully assembled in a standard shipping container or installed in a building or on a pad. The pilot system is fully equipped with all pipes and electrical connections to be quickly connected to an electrical supply and a feed and discharge line for wastewater and treated effluent.

Once connected, microbial growth will begin almost immediately and the system typically achieves results within two to four weeks of commissioning. The Bishop Water team will provide comprehensive installation and commissioning services and will conduct regular sampling, monitoring and maintenance of the system. Within two to four months, the system can provide sufficient operational data to demonstrate its capabilities for cold-weather biological ammonia reduction.

Click here to learn how Bishop Water’s BioCord Reactor system is helping improve ammonia removal at a site in Dundalk, Ontario.

Click here to learn more about Bishop Water’s pilot project in Ohio.

Contact us to arrange a BioCord pilot test for your wastewater lagoon.


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Happy Holidays from the team at Bishop Water Technologies

DATE POSTED: December 17, 2018

On behalf of the team at Bishop Water Technologies, we’d like to wish you all the best this holiday season.

We’re thankful for the support that we’ve received from you – our partners and clients – over the last year.

As the new year approaches, we’re looking forward to working with you and building on our successes.


To celebrate the new year, let’s look back and review some of our top stories from 2018:

Stormwater sediment repurposed as landscape material 

stormwater sediment bag, top stories

Bishop Water’s solids management solution has allowed an Ottawa community to more simply and reliably remove its stormwater sediment. Consolidating the solids into geotextile bags furthermore eliminates the need to transport dredged sediment to a disposal site. As a result, hauling costs were also significantly reduced. The onsite reuse of stormwater sediment also complies with the MECP’s best management practices for excess soil management.


Click here to read the full story.


Polymer injection system simplifies mixing, maximizes dewatering

vepas, polymer injection, top storiesBecause of inefficient mixing and equipment maintenance, chemical costs can play a significant role in sludge handling. To help reduce these costs, Bishop Water Technologies offers a specialized polymer dosing system.  The Venturi Emulsified Polymer Activation System (VEPAS) is designed to fully activate liquid polymer emulsions in a single pass, without the use of mechanical agitation or mix tanks. As a result, polymer mixing and handling are dramatically simplified, allowing for hassle-free dewatering.


Click here to read the full story.


Research study aims to validate BioCord™ Reactor system for high-strength ammonia treatment

Many industrial producers fahigh strength ammonia, industrial, top storiesce potentially hefty sewer surcharges for discharging of high-strength ammonia wastewater. For that reason, Bishop Water conducted a research study to validate the ability of the BioCord™ Reactor system to effectively remove ammonia in high-strength wastewater applications. By testing its ability to treat concentrations of ammonia up to 1000 mg/L, the study explores a potentially low-maintenance solution for industrial users. In contrast to existing technologies, the BioCord™ Reactor can be an effective, low-cost, and customizable way to treat high-strength ammonia wastewater.

Click here to read the full story.