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. 

Bishop Water brings Biocord Reactors to New Zealand

DATE POSTED: July 30, 2019

Biocord Reactor

Bishop Water Technologies has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Southwater Ltd. to provide distribution, installation and technical support for BioCord™ Reactors throughout New Zealand. 

About Southwater Ltd. 

Southwater is a rapidly growing company that specialises in water and wastewater treatment and dredging services in New Zealand. The addition of BioCord Reactors expands the company’s portfolio of products with a simple, low-energy biological wastewater treatment process for a range of clients in the municipal, industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors. 

Pilot Testing Opportunities

The company has already identified several sites that are interested in performing pilot testing with BioCord reactor to remove high concentrations of nutrients from waste streams. In some cases, the BioCord reactor systems will treat filtrate from Geotube® containers that are capturing, dewatering and consolidating process solids. For other projects, the BioCord reactors will be installed directly into wastewater treatment lagoons to enhance the biological removal of ammonia and ensure compliance with regulatory discharge limits for treated effluent. 

Why pair Geotube® containers with BioCord Reactors?

The combination of Geotube® containers with BioCord Reactors creates an affordable, easy to operate and highly efficient wastewater treatment system that is ideal as a rapidly deployable packaged offering. Geotube® filtration and containment provides excellent TSS and BOD reduction while also retaining contaminants such as metals and phosphorus. Where further treatment is needed for the Geotube® filtrate, BioCord fixed-film technology provides a high-density, vertically oriented medium on which to establish a stable, concentrated biofilm. Once established, a BioCord system is self-regulating, requires little electricity for aeration, and is resistant to high hydraulic and organic loading. 

Learn more about simple, low-energy Geotube® dewatering and BioCord Reactors for wastewater treatment. 

Contact Southwater:

021 480 141

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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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Valuable data gained with the help of OCWA

DATE POSTED: April 25, 2018

With the help of OCWA, Bishop Water used a pilot project to optimize BioCord™ Reactors for consistent ammonia removal

Bishop Water technicians started a pilot project at the Renfrew Wastewater Treatment Plant in April 2014, with great hospitality from the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) plant operators. The pilot project tested the ammonia reducing capabilities of BioCord Reactors under various stresses such as reduced HRT, low and high aeration, reduced surface area, and cold temperatures throughout the four-year project. Results of the pilot project enabled Bishop Water to optimize their design over the years, and gain valuable insights into the best practices for operation parameters that will lead to successful projects.

Renfrew pilot system

This pilot project also validated the results of an earlier pilot project in Eganville, Ontario which found that the BioCord Reactor system’s performance as a highly effective, low-energy IFAS process in aerobic conditions. Both of these projects contribute to the overall knowledge base that can be applied to full-scale installations of the BioCord Reactor system, and led to the design of the BioCord Reactor pilot system currently being used in Canada and the US.

BioCord Reactor system can improve ammonia removal without changing the treatment process

BioCord reactors can be installed directly into an existing treatment lagoon, eliminating the need for additional buildings or infrastructure to support sidestream processes. A BioCord Reactor is a modular frame that supports densely arranged strands of polymer fibres. These fibres provide a massive surface area for growth of naturally occurring microorganisms that are ideal for enhancing the treatment process and maintaining regulatory compliance at your plant – even in cold weather conditions.

Bishop Water completed the pilot project and removed the BioCord Reactors from the Renfrew WWTP in November 2017 after gathering valuable knowledge from the site for nearly two years. We owe a special thanks to OCWA, the Renfrew OCWA operators, and the Town of Renfrew for allowing us the use of the facility. By completing this project, we are able to redirect our focus to furthering our other research which includes a study at the Greenway Plant in London, Ontario through collaboration with Western University.


Mobile containerized pilot system

Learn more about the BioCord Reactor system.

Contact us to discuss a BioCord Reactor system for your facility.