New project revolutionises wastewater treatment

Back to News
South Africa’s wastewater treatment plants are facing increasing pressure due to urbanisation, population growth and aging equipment. Older facilities are struggling to keep up with the increasing inflows of wastewater, which has led to the development of a revolutionary new project called Sludge Process Reduction Activated Sludge (SPRAS).SPRAS has three key advantages over older treatment processes. Firstly, it does not use chemicals in the processing of domestic wastewater. Secondly, SPRAS does not produce any downstream organic sludge - instead, this sludge is broken down and removed. Thirdly, the entire process is energy efficient; the treatment plant uses just 0.5kW per cubic metre of wastewater. The plant is also able to run on a generator and solar power, and for up to eight hours when there is no power at all.“The overriding benefit is that the wastewater treated in our package plants meets [the requirements of the] Department of Water and Sanitation and international quality standards, plus it’s a plug and play solution, which means it’s a site-specific response that’s not reliant on centralised conventional infrastructure layouts that include sewer lines running for kilometres,” says CEO of Operations and Enhancements Consulting Services (OPECS), Siyabulela Fanie.

How the SPRAS wastewater treatment system works

Raw wastewater is fed into a holding tank which then regulates the flow at a constant rate into the SPRAS treatment tank. The wastewater is processed in this main tank, using a unique anaerobic-anoxic-aerobic process, followed by a final UV radiation disinfection of the water. Up to 90% of the treated water is suitable for reuse in the household or work environment, depending on the nature of the raw wastewater that is fed into the system. This means that the system can save a lot of water; an important factor in water-scarce countries like South Africa.“Going forward, we have to rule out using potable water for non-human consumption needs and SPRAS fills this gap. Reuse must become the norm for non-potable requirements like crop irrigation, toilet flushing, construction, and general cleaning,” explains Fanie.

Installed facilities have proven successful

The SPRAS system is already being used as a viable commercial wastewater treatment plant in South Africa. The two pilot projects have been operating successfully for several months in the Eastern Cape - both are 300 cubic metre per day systems, one in Addo and the other in Cradock.These two wastewater treatment systems have already had a direct benefit for the region's farms and rivers, supplying usable water for crop irrigation and keeping raw sewage out of the rivers. Due to this success, SPRAS is being ordered in other South African provinces and countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.“We believe SPRAS would be ideal for many new community developments that can now be developed with decentralised treatment facilities. SPRAS technology is compact and efficient, and odourless, plus its operation is silent, making it well suited to urban environments,” says Fanie.___Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment. ___By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, pipe inspection, CCTV, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries. ___Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the best tips on recycling and the latest industry news. See our Instagram and YouTube channels for more insights into environmental affairs and our work with local communities.