Ollan Herr, Manager Director of Herr Ltd.


The following is a synopsis of some of the main points made in a presentation by Ollan Herr to the Cooley Environment and Health Group on Sunday 6th September, 2015:

Everyone is probably aware of the pollution problems caused by untreated sewage, grey water and surface run-off finding its way into our rivers and lakes. The addition of nutrients, especially phosphates, from sewage, detergents and fertilisers to water bodies provides a rich environment for phytoplankton to flourish, resulting in algal blooms and eutrophication - a depletion in oxygen with disastrous effects for fish and other water animals.

However, pollution is only half of the story. Not only does untreated water cause pollution, it also results in a depletion of valuable nutrients. Gardeners and farmers will be familiar with the NPK rating of fertilisers, referring to the relative quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These are essential for food production, but there is a finite supply. It is estimated that we could globally run out of phosphorus in less than 40 years. Ironically one of the richest sources of phosphorus is urine which we are literally flushing down the toilet. To protect the future supply of phosphorus we therefore need to think in terms of recycling it by separating urine from other waste products.

Although water treatment on an industrial scale by municipal authorities can do much to ameliorate the negative impact of pollution, Ollan Herr is of the opinion that recycling and safeguarding essential nutrients for the future will depend upon a public-private partnership. In the future, each home will have to separate urine from other waste products to facilitate resource recovery. This likely to become a prerequisite for new buildings under national legislation or EU directives, but Ollan's company, Herr Ltd., is already pioneering various low-energy systems which can separate and recycle vital resources, such as phosphorus and potassium, in a way which is not offensive to the senses. Anyone who is refurbishing an older building should seriously consider future-proofing their investments by installing these systems now. Herr Ltd. also produces systems which reduce water consumption - which apart from being environmentally friendly may become economically beneficial if water charges become metered rather than flat rate at some point over the next few years.

Further information on the systems provided by Herr Ltd. may be viewed on their website, or you can contact Ollan directly by email at ollan.herr@herr.ie.