Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  09 Jul 2009

ENVIRONMENT: Engen's New Plans For Service Stations


Recent Western Cape Business News

Engen is conducting preliminary investigations into the efficiency and effectiveness of UK ‘reedbed’ technology at its local service station network. Whilst reedbeds have been used to treat waste water through the ages, a UK company has come up with design improvements to maximise efficiency. The company has installed successful operations as far afield as Australia and Africa - including one in Sudan that treats the waste water of an entire oil refinery and irrigates surrounding crops with the outflow.

The first Rib Box reedbed installation has just been completed at Engen’s False Bay 1-Stop near Cape Town, as a pilot. Three other prototype sites are being considered. All four pilots will use small-unit reedbed technology for the treatment of water discharged from oil interceptors.

Reedbed technology is also being investigated for use at twelve 1-Stops for the treatment of waste water, as these service stations are self-contained (not linked to municipal mains). Surveys have been completed and initial design drawings are being prepared. The initial intention is for these systems to be installed as back-up for overload to the existing mechanical treatment plants, and to provide final polishing of the discharge water. They will be monitored with a view to phasing out the mechanical treatment plants altogether.

If both kinds of pilots prove successful, reedbed technology will be used to treat service station sewage at future Engen 1-Stop sites and on existing sites in the Engen network wherever appropriate. Water discharged from oil interceptors at its neighbourhood service stations will be handled similarly at new and existing sites. Plans are for the first sewage treatment reedbed pilot to be installed at the 1-Stop in Tugela.

The cost of reedbed technology will vary between R635 000 and R4.5 million, and in size from 255m² to 2500m², depending on throughput. “It is a huge, costly exercise to keep fuel from polluting ground or water around service stations,” says Pat McKune, Engen’s Retail Engineering & Construction Manager. “But it is one the company takes extremely seriously.”

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