Apr 7, 2011 in Blog Articles

South Africa’s 850 municipal water treatment plants treat 7.6 billion litres of waste (industrial, sewage etc) per day…that amounts to more than 150 litres per person daily…almost all wasted. This country cannot afford to allow this water to be wasted, instead, it should be viewed not as waste but as a resource. As an example the Durban Water Recycing (DWR) project, purifies 40 000 m3/d of biologically treated municipal wastewater daily and sells the water to major industrial users for industrial processes. Although this is just 0.50% of wastewater treated by municipalities, the process has been shown to be technically and financially viable. But the problem can be addressed by industry before the waste enters the municipal sewers. Stricter controlS of what enters the sewage system are to be expected, and industry and other water users are being forced to clean up their act. One of Filcon Filters’ partners is a leader in mIcro biological systems for treating waste water, email tony [at] filconfilters [dot] co [dot] za for information.It’s horrifying to find out what does enter the waster water system. Take abattoirs (or slaughter houses) as an example…the latest figures available showed that in 1989 the annual water consumption of the red meat industry was approximately 5.8 million m3 of which approximately 84% was discharged as wastewater containing high organic loads including suspended matter. You can imagine that discharges from these facilities significantly contribute to the organic load of raw sewage treated at sewerage treatment plants. These pollutants can consist of animal faeces, blood, fat, trimmings, paunch content and urine.Ideally abattoirs should operate on a closed water system but because of the high levels of pollutants, none does, as it is generally prohibitively costly to treat to a water quality standard fit for recycle or re-use. You may be interested to know how blood is disposed off. In a survey conducted of Freestate abattoirs 42% of respondents used the municipal drainage system, 17% ran it off or sprayed it onto fields, 13% buried it, 8% turned it into by-products, 6% used oxidation dams, 4% fed it to pigs and the remaining 4%  classified it as other means of disposal.