A new, resilient and efficient approach to sanitation resource management is required to overcome the national backlog confronting South Africa’s sewage treatment infrastructure, says water solutions specialist Veolia Water Technologies South Africa marketing GM Chris Braybrooke.
He adds that the plight of South Africa’s sewage treatment infrastructure is relatively well documented. Severe challenges both in maintaining South Africa’s existing sewage treatment works as well as its expansion to accommodate a growing population, means less than 10% of the country’s sewerage plants currently comply with relevant standards.
“With over 50 000 ℓ of untreated sewage estimated to flow into our rivers every second, an underperforming sewerage infrastructure poses a significant health hazard that threatens the ecology of our natural water sources, as well as increases the cost of water treatment plants to produce potable water from rivers and dams,” says Braybrooke.
He explains that, over the past few years, Veolia Water Technologies has supplied packaged wastewater treatment plants for a number of different sewage treatment applications across South Africa and to countries such as Ethiopia and Tanzania.
From meeting the needs of isolated communities, to supplying facilities like hospitals, airports and remote mining camps with adequate sewage treatment services, modular sewage treatment plants (STP) have proven a reliable, cost-effective alternative to in-ground plants, and can be supplied in a fraction of the time.
“These packaged plants are based on trickling filter technology, a simple but extremely versatile technology that is both robust and easy to operate,” notes Braybrooke.
He mentions that its ability to accommodate highly variable inflows is an additional benefit, and the sludge, which is digested to about a third of its original volume, only has to be removed every two to three years.
Braybrooke notes that the major treatment components of the STP are screening, anaerobic digestion, carbon removal and nitrification, sludge removal and disinfection in a chlorine contact tank.
Preassembled and factory-acceptance tested at the company’s water techno products production facility in Sebenza, Johannesburg, the STP can be manufactured to order in as little as 12 weeks, to treat domestic sewage to South African general standards for discharge.
The plants are available both as fully containerised systems, or as a hybrid system, which includes a civil-based septic tank, in a range of treatment capacities from 25 to 600 m3/d.
“Plug-and-play, rapidly deployable, and with minimal installation and maintenance requirements, these off-the-shelf packaged plants are now a critical component in our ability to meet the sewage treatment requirements of our communities in both permanent, temporary and emergency applications,” Braybrooke explains.
He adds that the STP is among a complete range of packaged treatment solutions that Veolia Water Technologies now supplies as part of its standard products portfolio.
These innovative products also include municipal and industrial water treatment solutions for potable water production, reverse osmosis, filtration, distillation, dissolved air flotation, evaporation and more.
These packaged solutions draw from the company’s propriety technologies that have been developed over a 160-year history and, this year, the company celebrates 20 years of success and innovation in Africa, he concludes.