Dignitaries pose in front of the largest Clarus Fusion unit yet manufactured in RSA. Jane Reddick – Green Cape, Gerhard Cronje – CEO Maskam Water, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, Virginia Blazer, USA Consul General and Jason Meyer, International Sales Manager, Zoeller Pump Company.

A recent presentation staged by Maskam Water – exclusive distributors and local manufacturers of the revolutionary Clarus Fusion Sewage Treatment system – celebrated the company’s largest single unit supplied to the local market – a 15 000ℓ/day unit that will serve a community of up to 100 people.

The decentralised Clarus Fusion Sewage Treatment System which features 50%+ local manufacture is the result of a joint venture between Maskam Water and licence holders, the Zoeller Pump Company of the USA.

Maskam’s founder and CEO, Gerhard Cronje, outlined the advantages of decentralised wastewater systems and the differences compared with large conventional systems.

“The Clarus Fusion system is a grass roots product that is modular, easily expandable, simple to install and maintain, has very low energy requirements, can operate on solar power and recycles treated wastewater on site at less than R2.00/kℓ.  Treated sewage can be re-used on site for non-potable applications.

“This radical but entirely appropriate solution addresses our and developing countries sanitation needs in formal, informal and remote rural areas” he said.

Local manufacture creates jobs – expands product capabilities

“The internal parts of the Fusion are imported in kit form from the USA” explained Cronje.  “Shells are locally manufactured as are the electrical panels and piping used in the system leading to a local content of +50%”.

Local manufacture substantially lowers the price compared to fully imported units, reflected in the number of units sold growing exponentially; sales of units in the first eight months of 2018 have already exceeding the total number of units sold in 2017.

The growth in sales has resulted in the creation of a number of permanent jobs in the manufacturing, sales, installation and servicing of these units.

“By adding accessories to the basic concept we cater for our local conditions while extending the product’s capabilities and applications, thus offering a turn-key solution to our customers” he said.

Besides addressing the pressing issues of dignified sanitation to millions of people and saving billions of litres of water, the Fusion technology addresses two of the biggest problems with conventional and packaged plants – lack of maintenance and space.

The Fusion system only requires sludge removal once every four to six years, and 1 hour of routine maintenance every six months, accomplished using semi-skilled labour. The low energy requirements of the system – typically between 60W for the smallest unit and 340W for the largest, can be supplied by solar PV.

On-site treatment and re-use of waste can eliminate the need to expand existing waste water treatment plants and given that the Fusion is installed underground, it can be easily incorporated in public open spaces, installed under walkways, etc. 

The company have sold more than 230 Fusion units across sub Saharan Africa, the UAE and Mauritius since acquiring the distribution rights from Zoeller in 2010. More than 20 units have been supplied to customers in the Franschhoek valley, (where the first plant was installed in 2010).

As the system is modular, capacity increases can be accommodated by simply adding another unit, unlike conventional treatment plants which have to be constructed – at great cost – to cater for planned expansion at the initial stage, Fusion units can simply be added to accommodate demand as and when needed.

Although Zoeller’s products are sold in over 50 countries, Maskam is the only company outside of Zoeller’s home base in the USA, to be trusted to manufacture the company’s products locally.

“On-site treatment and re-use is one of the most sustainable, if not THE most sustainable, way of saving water.

“The Clarus Fusion enables every person, every community and every business to treat waste water for re-use on-site. That can save billions of litres of water per year.  The same applies in the agricultural industry, where treated waste water can be used to top-up irrigation dams.

“Dignified, conventional sanitation can be offered to citizens in informal settlements and low-cost housing as treated effluent can be used for toilet flushing without any need for costly infrastructure. Furthermore, surplus treated effluent can be used for irrigation purposes” he advised.

Financing

Nedbank has agreed to financing the purchase of the Clarus Fusion WWTP to businesses on condition that the treated water be re-used, thus saving potable water. Saving on the water bill will cover the monthly instalment, which means the customer is cashflow neutral. Once the system is paid for, the customer becomes cashflow positive.