Water solutions provider Maskam Water launched the Clarus Fusion sewage treatment system, which substitutes treated water with recycled water for sanitation, industrial or irrigation use, in October.
The decentralised wastewater treatment system, launched at the company’s premises in Brackenfell Industria, in the Western Cape, was manufactured by Maskam Water in joint venture (JV) with licence holder US-based Zoeller Pump Company.
The launch commemorated the success of the JV and the unveiling of the largest unit supplied to the local market, which will treat 15 000 ℓ/d of black or grey water, and serve a community of up to 100 people.
Dignitaries in attendance included Western Cape Agriculture, Economic Development and Tourism Minister Alan Winde and the US consul general Teddy Taylor.
Both stressed the environmental, social and economic benefits of bilateral cooperation between South Africa and the US in their address to the audience, which included local municipal councillors and retired mayors from surrounding municipalities.
Maskam founder and CEO Gerhard Cronje outlined the advantages and differences of decentralised wastewater systems, compared with large conventional systems.
“The traditional approach to treating sewage or wastewater has been through waterborne sewerage systems and large energy-hungry wastewater treatment plants that more often ‘waste’ this valuable resource,” he said.
Cronje highlighted that, as the system is modular, it is easy to expand and simple to install and maintain; it also boasts low energy requirements and the ability to operate on solar power and recycle treated wastewater on site at less than R1.88/kℓ.
The energy requirements are between 60 W for the smallest unit and 340 W for the largest unit.
“This radical, but entirely appropriate solution addresses developing countries’ sanitation needs and, from the first time I was exposed to the Fusion system, I realised that a complete change of mindset was required to solve our pressing sanitation needs in formal, informal and remote rural areas,” he said.
Cronje added that the conventional approach had been to provide waterborne sanitation through a network of underground piping for a wastewater treatment plant, which then discharged the treated wastewater into rivers and water courses, with a limited amount being used for irrigation or industrial use.
“Many smaller formal communities simply discharge the treated wastewater or raw final effluent into rivers, thereby wasting millions of litres of recyclable water, which is shamefully wasteful amid the current drought.”
Meanwhile, Cronje pointed out that Maskam had achieved 46% local content on the Clarus system and aimed to increase local content to 50% next year. “By adding accessories to the basic concept to cater for local conditions, we have extended the product’s capabilities and applications, and can offer a turnkey solution to customers,” he explained.
The system’s technology also addresses two of the most significant challenges faced by conventional wastewater treatment plants – the lack of maintenance and the shortage of skilled people to do maintenance.
The Clarus system requires sludge removal only once every four to six years, and only one hour of routine maintenance every six months, for which unskilled labour can be used.