Motorway Service Station Wastewater Treatment

It is a common issue for wastewater treatment plants at motorway service stations to be undersized or overloaded due to increasing traffic, greater numbers of visitors or expansion of the facilities. Additionally, stricter regulations on discharge licensing by the EA may warrant an upgrade to an existing treatment plant to meet new higher effluent standards. Specific issues can arise with regard to compliance with ammonia and BOD. The COD can also be extremely high due to the elevated concentrations of oil and grease in the wastewater.

A combination of the use of kitchen, cleaning and washroom facilities produce the wastewater at a motorway service station. It is characterized by highly variable flows, high ammonia content and high FOG content due to catering and food prep. There are various tried and tested methods for treating service station wastewater – the most suitable will depend on the unique requirements of the project itself. Grease management and the removal of emulsified oils must be considered before any biological treatment step. Attached growth systems such as MBBR, FBR and RBC can have an advantage over other activated sludge systems due to a longer sludge age.

In addition to consent standards, site requirements and limitations must be taken into consideration prior to supply and commission of a new treatment plant. Factors such as access, land space, gradient, the presence and location of drains, sludge management, and health and safety risks must be taken into account. 


When upgrading an existing service station treatment plant it is often a requirement to continue effluent treatment throughout the installation works. This is to allow the service station to continue to operate without disruption to business. An on-site temporary wastewater treatment plant will resolve this issue. Once the temporary plant is operational, installation of the new treatment plant and decommissioning of the old plant in part or in full can commence. To reduce capital expenditure, part of the existing equipment can be incorporated into the new treatment plant if possible. Often, a wastewater treatment plant upgrade may be required where an existing system is not complying with the current discharge limits. Specific add on modules are available to target certain parameters, such as phosphorus, nitrogen, ammonia, BOD and suspended solids. These modules can be added onto an existing wastewater treatment plant.

Motorway Service Station Wastewater Treatment Processes and Technologies

Treatment processes commonly used for motorway service station waste water include screening, buffering, SBR, DAF, settlement, and sludge treatment. Biocell Water can meet these unique challenges and provide the best available treatment technology for the unique requirements of a project on time and within budget. If you would like to know more about the solutions we provide, please get in touch. We have extensive experience working with some major motorway service station brands, including Applegreen, Circle K and the plaza group (supermacs).

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