WEC Projects, a local EPC water and wastewater treatment solutions provider, has completed the installation of a NEWgeneratorTM at Khanyisani Primary School in Lubunde, near Bizana in the Eastern Cape. This project marks the first commercial installation of the NEWgeneratorTM system in South Africa after extensive pilot testing at various sites around South Africa.
“The deployment of the NEWgeneratorTM system, which connects the school’s toilet block to a water and waste treatment and recycling system, represents an important step forward for delivering proper sanitation to remote and underserved areas in the country. The region suffers from a serious water shortage due to its remote location and, as a result, a solution was required that drastically reduced water consumption,” says Ntwanano Mandlazi, Project Manager at WEC Projects.
NEWgeneratorTM was developed by the University of South Florida (USF) in the USA and built under license in South Africa by WEC Projects. It is a compact, off-grid, and modular sewage treatment solution that can be housed inside a refurbished shipping container. It incorporates an anaerobic bioreactor to treat biological matter and breakdown solids, ultrafiltration to remove solids, sequential nutrient capture tanks, and chlorine disinfection. Up to 98-99% of the water can be recycled for reuse in the system and the biogas produced can be captured and used for applications such as cooking and heating.
This project was funded through the Water Research Commission’s (WRC) SASTEP programme, a national system of innovation (NSI) platform that fast-tracks the adoption of innovative and emerging sanitation technologies in South Africa through fostering local manufacturing and commercialisation.
Mandlazi continues, “We customised the system to include the waste from four unisex urinals which will be redirected back to the plant to supplement the liquid content of the wastewater for treatment and recycling. The treated water, which is not suitable for human consumption, is fed back to flush the toilets, resulting in a significant reduction in water consumption by the school, which relies mainly on rainwater for drinking water.”
The system is monitored and controlled both locally and remotely via an interface connected to a PLC. A school staff member has been trained to maintain and operate the system with the support of WEC. Samples of the recycled water are taken monthly for analysis by an accredited laboratory to ensure that the treated water meets DWS general discharge standards. WEC will continue to operate the system with the WRC until April 2024.
Adds Mandlazi, “NEWgeneratorTM is an effective solution for replacing dangerous pit and chemical toilets, particularly in areas where water is scarce, making it ideal for deployment across Africa in a broad range of applications including the domestic and commercial sectors.”