A Practical Way to Go Green

NOVEMBER 4, 2016

By making use of the latest advancements in sustainable wastewater treatment combined with the creation of their own bacterial strains developed in-house, SewTreat is helping homeowners to add an eco-friendly solution for recycling of black and grey water to both new and existing homes with efficient, affordable and eco-friendly wastewater treatment solutions.

“Our approach is to treat nature with nature through sustainable engineering solutions that are evident in our superior proprietary biological technology. The modular design of our treatment plants mean that they can be installed in any home easily and efficiently,” says SewTreat spokesman, Theunis Coetzer.

“Many people assume that green solutions for the home – beyond the water and electricity saving measures that one can do in your day to day life – would include amenities and architectural features that are costly to install and difficult to maintain. We offer a way to tackle wastewater management through easy-to-install plants that are highly cost effective. This provides a way for to homeowners to incorporate a sensible and practical green feature into their home and recycle 100% of previously discarded water. The savings that is being realised through the recycling the black and grey water can be as high as 50% of the water bill,” Coetzer explains.

SewTreat’s approach is based on return activated sludge technology incorporating submersed aeration media. This enhanced bacterial action ensures a highly effective treatment process boasting a very low carbon footprint, minimal capital input and low maintenance requirements.

In terms of the South African scenario, clean drinking water is purchased from a municipality. Around 80% of this water ends up in the municipal sewer with the discard into a municipal sewer also being charged for by the municipality. In essence homeowners pay twice for the same water. By installing a SewTreat DIY wastewater treatment system, the discard cost is eliminated and all the water that is treated can be reused for irrigation, washing your car and other non-potable uses around the house.

SewTreat’s DIY plants are a very cost effective alternative solution to septic tanks and soakaways allowing the final effluent to be reused. Coetzer explains; “These plants are designed for small applications such as households and lodges. They are so easy to install that clients could it do it themselves which creates even more cost saving, although we can do the installations for them as well.”

Biological wastewater treatment is an accepted practice used worldwide. The process involves confining naturally occurring bacteria at a very high concentration in the treatment process. From here this bacteria, together with some protozoa and other microbes (collectively referred to as activated sludge), are treated in an anaerobic and an aerobic process. They are then returned to the anaerobic phase to eliminate sludge accumulation and waste generation.

“In a nutshell, the bacteria digest all impurities and the wastewater is then cleansed. The treated wastewater or effluent can then be discharged or alternatively used for irrigation, flushing of toilets or general non-potable uses,” explains Coetzer. “SewTreat has developed a highly effective multiple strain bacteria range that gets added to our plants. This specifically bred bacteria feed on the complex substances in the wastewater, converting them into simpler substances, improving final effluent on a reduced footprint.”

He notes that globally, the composition of effluents discharged to receiving waters, is regulated by the national environment agencies. The legislation is concerned with the prevention of pollution and therefore sets concentration limits on dissolved organic carbon (as BOD or COD), nitrogen, phosphates and other compounds which cause eutrophication in receiving waters. It also attempts to limit the discharge of known toxic chemicals by setting allowable concentration limits in the effluent. “If we consider that 100% of the effluent can be recycled, if done properly, there is no doubt that through this we are providing large bank of water that previously may not have been considered as ‘safe’ for the environment or community.”

SewTreat offers two types of DIY plants – above ground installation or below ground installation. Both plants are commissioned, constructed and fully tested off site at their 5000m² manufacturing facility. The above ground system is the most cost effective and can be installed with minimal excavation and construction. The below ground installation is more aesthetically pleasing but requires excavation and civil works which makes it more expensive. The modular construction of the plants means that expanding them in the future is easy. All mechanical equipment is installed with easy access.

The SewTreat team consists of civil and process engineers, microbiologists, project planners and a network of distributors with over 35 years of experience in the field.  They are able to offer turnkey services which incorporate consultation, design, manufacturing, installation, construction and operational support to their clients that meet all legal and industry related compliance.

Although the company is newly formed, SewTreat has already become an established name synonymous with international expertise in providing quality products and services to all sectors throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Coetzer credits their success to the fact that homeowners are becoming more educated when it comes to the installation of eco-friendly products in their home. “At the moment it would be fair to say that we are dealing with an educated public who can differentiate between ‘feel-good green’ and ‘practical green’. Our product represents the practical green measures that can be taken by providing an eco-friendly wastewater solution that is also highly energy efficient.”

Click on the link below to view a video that demonstrates SewTreat’s DIY plant: