The ongoing drought conditions together with other problems in the Western Cape Province of South Africa have necessitated innovative ideas for saving potable water.
One of these innovations is the Clarus Fusion sewage treatment system that was recently launched by water solutions provider Maskam Water in Brackenfell Industria, in the Western Cape. The system substitutes treated water with recycled water for sanitation, industrial or irrigation use.
This is the largest unit supplied to the local market, and it is set to treat 15 000 ℓ/d of black or grey water, serving a community of around 100 people. The unit was manufactured by Maskam Water in joint venture (JV) with licence holder US-based Zoeller Pump Company.
This innovative, decentralised wastewater system holds advantages and differences over large conventional the systems and exhibits environmental, social and economic benefits of bilateral cooperation between South Africa and the US.
According to Maskam founder and CEO Gerhard Cronje, “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.”
This is a modular system, which means that it can be expanded very easily; it is also simple to install and maintain; the system only requires sludge removal once every 4 – 6 years, and a mere 1 hour of routine maintenance every 6 months, for which unskilled labour can be used.
Another advantage of the system is the low energy requirements; the units require only 60 W for the smallest unit and 340 W for the largest unit. The ability to operate on solar power and the fact that it can recycle treated wastewater on-site at less than R1.88/kℓ are also huge advantages.
Cronje added that, “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 mind set was required to solve our pressing sanitation needs in formal, informal and remote rural areas. 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.”
Maskam had achieved 46% local content on the Clarus system and aimed to increase local content to 50% soon by adding accessories to the basic concept to cater for local conditions and will also offer turnkey solution to customers.