Ambio has worked in a variety of applications in North America including wastewater treatment plants, food processing plants, organics processing facilities, and composting operations for odour control and on soil vapour extraction systems for BTEX control (see application list). We have specialized in wastewater treatment, composting and organics recycling applications.
Ambio usually works with local engineering firms on specific applications. At the lower air flows, up to about 2500 cfm, we use a modular type of construction, manufactured by us in Eastern Ontario and then moved to the site. For larger installations, the filter beds are usually built in situ using local contractors. Our installations include very low and very high air flows, from 300 to 60,000 cfm.
When the company first began operations in 1993, there were few biofilters in North America, and very few that actually worked up to the potential of the technology. The simplicity of the underlying principles was taken to mean that anybody could design and build biofilters. The result was that most of these home-made installations did not work well or at all, giving the technology a poor reputation and making it difficult for serious players in the field to sell the technology and their expertise. One of the main problems, that still persists in the field today, was that there was little transfer of practical design features from the long European history in the field to North America when the technology made the jump across the Atlantic. As a result, the same errors that were made and corrected in Europe decades ago were repeated again in North America; the wheel had to be re-invented here. Ambio’s links to the German biofilter establishment meant that we started a good distance up the learning curve; and hence, from the beginning, our installations have performed well.
We believe that biofilters have three major advantages over competing odour control technologies:
- The underlying principles are known and straightforward;
- Capital and operating costs are always lower than competing technologies;
- A properly designed and commissioned biofilter is relatively easy to operate and maintain, with almost no moving parts, and manageable monitoring.
We have bucked the recent trend to so-called structured or engineered filter material. Although offering supposedly longer filter life, these products are much more expensive, often more than 10 times the cost of Ambio filter material, require more maintenance and nutrient monitoring, and generally take away from the simplicity and low-cost nature of biofilter design and operation. The material we use is, in fact, structured and engineered in the literal sense, although we always maintain a significant organic component in all applications, as this material has proven itself over the years to simply be the best filter material. We also tailor the filter material to the application and air stream.
Our systems are designed to be simple and virtually maintenance free, apart from greasing the fan bearings and changing the filter material every 5 years or so. We guarantee a filter life of 4 or 5 years, but depending on the application, it may be much longer. And this is not based on speculation or extrapolation, but on actual operating experience of over 15 years.
There are virtually no odours originating from the wastewater treatment environment that cannot be handled by a properly designed biofilter. Ambio systems tend to be smaller, lower cost per cfm of air, and with fewer maintenance requirements than any of our competitors.
We have made it a cornerstone of our business to provide after installation service and follow-up. No technology is fool-proof, especially biological systems. When upsets do occur, and this is rare, or issues arise relating to biofilter performance, we work with the staff of the installation to keep the biofilter running and deal with the issues as they arise, even long after warranties and service guarantees have expired. This can easily be verified by talking to the staff of our installations (references provided on request), and we urge you to do this.
Ambio has biofilters treating virtually every source of odours in the wastewater treatment environment, including sewer lines (Ottawa and Edmonton), pump stations (San Mateo, California), headworks and septage receiving (Kingston, Long Sault, Ontario, Friday Harbor, Washington), aeration basins (Long Sault, Cardinal, Ontario), biosolids storage tanks (Kingston, Ontario), biosolids treatment processes such as ATADs (McMinnville, Oregon, Princeton, Indiana, Long Sault, Ontario), sludge liming and drying operations (Sarnia, ON; Halifax, NS; Summerside, PEI) and a composting and organic recycling facility (Toronto, ON).