Award-winning Hybrid Activated Sludge (HYBACS) process- one decade in Bahrain

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Award-winning Hybrid Activated Sludge (HYBACS) process- one decade in Bahrain

Bluewater Bio will soon be celebrating their first decade based in Bahrain. Already recognised as being the fastest growing UK water technology company this year, they have their largest installation at Tubli Wastewater Treatment Works.

Utilising Bluewater Bio’s state of the art technology known as HYBACS, it has been pivotal in raising the environmental condition of Tubli Bay, which is an internationally important habitat for wading birds.

The Executive Chairman and Chief Executive, Richard Haddon said, “We see Bahrain as our second home, and it is our ambition to create a long-term base here serving the Middle East and beyond. We are most grateful for the support we have had from the Bahraini institutions and its friendly people. This of course will improve the local economy and create jobs as well.”

In November 2016, His Royal Highness Prince Charles visited Bahrain and spent some time learning about what the HYBACS technology had achieved and the magnificent improvements being made to the bay area. Being a strong supporter and leader with environmental improvements, he made this an essential visit in his busy agenda.

HYBACS – A novel solution for a common problem

Throughout the Middle East region, rapid population growth has resulted in many wastewater treatment facilities becoming overloaded and failing to meet environmental discharge standards. Conventional solutions, such as the construction of additional aeration lanes is expensive and requires large areas of land. These were the main challenges facing Bahrain’s Ministry of Works in the upgrade at Tubli.

In 2011, Bluewater Bio was awarded a contract to upgrade the treatment works using their hybrid activated sludge (HYBACS) process. Part of the existing activated sludge plant was upgraded from a capacity of 40 million litres per day (MLD) to over 100 MLD, thereby reducing the overloading and improving the quality of treated wastewater.

Completed in 2013, the landmark award-winning project has operated successfully for 7 years, producing a high-quality source of treated sewage effluent (TSE) for reuse. Indeed, the wastewater treatment works is now known as a Reclaimed Water Production Centre.

Through Bluewater Bio’s long-term commitment to supporting the Kingdom of Bahrain in meeting their environmental goals for Tubli Bay and the success of the original project, Bluewater Bio was awarded, in 2019, a subsequent contract to upgrade more of the treatment plant to HYBACS.

The second phase of HYBACS upgrade will see a further increase of 120 MLD in capacity. The project is now under construction to be completed in 2021.


The HYBACS process uses a unique biological pre-treatment reactor to accelerate the hydrolysis step within wastewater treatment. This enables an existing activated sludge plant to treat typically double the flow and load.

The patented process has been applied successfully around the world and has proven to be robust and highly cost effective.  Capital cost savings of over 50% have been achieved and a HYBACS plant typically uses up to 30% less power than alternatives.

Environmental Objectives

Whether designing a brownfield expansion or a greenfield facility, Bluewater Bio works with Clients to develop sustainable solutions with a particular emphasis on reducing CAPEX and OPEX, footprint and energy consumption.

Bluewater Bio’s depth of experience comes from more than 40 HYBACS references across the globe. Proven at scale and consistently performing to the highest international standards, HYBACS is rapidly gaining recognition as an ideal solution for upgrading and expanding wastewater treatment plants in the MENA region.

(Article originally published in Utilities Middle East, November 2020)

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