Federated Co-Operatives’ refinery wastewater recycling initiative recognized in international award

Wastewater treatment technology installed at Federated Co-Operatives refinery. Image: GE

Federated Co-Operatives Limited’s Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina was named Industrial Water Project of the Year at the annual Global Water Awards in Madrid this week.

The award recognizes the project, commissioned in 2016, that "represents the most impressive technical or environmental achievement in the field of industrial water."

The Co-op Refinery Complex became the first refinery in North America to treat 100 per cent of its wastewater on-site and then recycle the treated effluent for steam production. Steam is used for heating, hydrogen production, to power equipment and for cooling towers.

Several years ago, the refinery expanded its operations to produce 30,000 more barrels of oil per day taking it from 100,000 to a 130,000-bbl/d facility, which increased its water usage. The refinery’s current water source is a blend of well water and city water, and restrictions on water use mandated that the Co-op Refinery Complex find a new source of water.

GE Water & Process Technologies offered a solution combining ZeeWeed membrane bioreactor technology and a high-efficiency reverse osmosis system to recycle and reuse two million gallons of wastewater a day. Water & Process Technologies also provides the refinery with wastewater specialty chemicals and monitoring solutions to provide system optimization, the company said.

With a fully operational wastewater improvement project, the Co-op Refinery Complex’s reliance on raw water from the city of Regina aquifer will decrease by the equivalent of 3,100 households in Regina on an annual basis. By recycling 100 per cent of its wastewater on-site, the Co-op Refinery Complex significantly decreases volatile organic compound emissions from its wastewater ponds and reduces the associated nuisance odours.

“Water is a precious resource and our wastewater improvement project allows us to be efficient and sustainable by recovering every drop of water—two million gallons of wastewater daily. With GE’s technology, we now recycle all of our wastewater in a socially responsible and environmentally sound way to conserve water for Regina and the entire province of Saskatchewan,” Gil Le Dressay, vice-president, refinery operations, Federated Co-Operatives Limited, said in a statement.