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Innovative decentralised wastewater system offers massive water and energy-saving benefits

Maskam Water’s premises in Brackenfell Industria was the venue for the launch of a highly-innovative decentralised wastewater treatment system, which could revolutionise the approach to providing dignified sanitation to disadvantaged and rural communities. In addition, the system will save the country millions of litres of precious potable water by substituting treated water with recycled water for sanitation, industrial or irrigation use all at a fraction of the cost.

These are the claims made for the Clarus Fusion Sewage Treatment System, which features 50%+ local manufacture by Maskam Water through a joint venture (JV) with licence holders, the Zoeller Pump Company in the USA.

The occasion commemorated the success of the JV and the unveiling of the largest single unit yet supplied to the local market, which will treat 15,000ℓ per day of black or grey water and serve a community of up to 100 people.

Gerhard Cronje, Founder and CEO, Maskam Water outlined the advantages of decentralised wastewater systems and the differences compared with large conventional systems.

“The traditional approach to treating sewage or wastewater has been through water borne sewage systems and large energy hungry wastewater treatment plants that more often ‘waste’ this valuable resource,” he said.

“The Clarus Fusion system is a grassroots 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 R1.88 per kℓ.

“This radical but entirely appropriate solution addresses the sanitation needs of developing countries and from the first time I was exposed to it I realised that a complete change of mind set is required to solve the pressing sanitation needs in formal, informal and remote rural areas.”

Cronje continued that the conventional approach has been to provide water borne sanitation through a network of underground piping, sometimes requiring pumping stations, into a wastewater treatment plant. The treated wastewater is then discharged into rivers and water courses with a limited amount being used for irrigation or industrial use.

“Many smaller formal communities simply discharge the treated wastewater or raw final effluent into rivers thereby wasting millions of litres of recyclable water. This is shamefully wasteful in the drought situation we find ourselves in today.”

The company has sold more than 120 units since acquiring the licencing rights from Zoeller in 2010 across sub-Saharan Africa, the UAE and Mauritius. More than 20 units have been supplied to customers in the Stellenbosch area, who have installed units where wastewater is used for irrigation purposes.

As the system is modular, capacity increases can be accommodated by simply adding another unit to accommodate demand.

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