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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  22 Jul 2010

ENGINEERING: SSI's Desalination Plant For PetroSA


Recent Western Cape Business News

THE continued drought conditions in the southern Cape have had serious consequences for several local municipalities within the Eden District Municipal region.

The affected areas include Knysna, Sedgefield, Plettenberg Bay, George and Mossel Bay.

In addition to the water swop initiative pioneered by SSI Engineers and Environmental consultants whereby polished final effluent from the town’s wastewater treatment works will be used to substitute potable water in the PetroSA refining process, the Mossel Bay Municipality and PetroSA will jointly finance a 10Ml/day desalination plant to augment the dwindling town’s water supply.

The desalination plant is thought to be one of the largest yet specified in South Africa and its size indicates the severity of the water shortage problem being experienced in the Mossel Bay area.

For this reason the project has been fast tracked and tenders issued for the equipment. SSI has been at the forefront of measures to alleviate the prospect of water shortages ever since Sedgefield actually ran out of water in late 2008.

Whilst acknowledging that the long term solution will be to create additional storage capacity for towns in this region, SSI engineers have provided a basket of short term measures that will bring immediate relief to the drought problem and can be introduced or combined on a demand basis, starting with the cheapest surface water supply solution and then gradually increase the supply as demand rises to include ground water resources, water reuse measures and finally the most expensive, desalination.

This solution provides the towns with high levels of flexibility and options, which caters for the vast seasonal fluctuations in demand caused mainly by the tourist based economy” says an SSI spokesperson. “Solving the immediate and medium term supply problem also creates a respite where proper long term planning and financing options can be evaluated” he says.

SSI’s water reuse initiative for Mossel Bay, which runs concurrent to the installation of the 10Ml/day desalination plant, will eventually swop potable, treated water used in PetroSA’s refinery for a supply of treated final effluent in the industrial process, thus saving valuable, drinking-quality water for residential demand.

Planned to eventually supply the refinery with 15Ml/day, the first phase of 5Ml/day draws final effluent from the Mossel Bay Regional WWTW through a reverse osmosis advanced treatment process. This treated final effluent is then pumped to the refinery’s raw water storage dam for use in the refining process.


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