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Windhoek gets flagship wastewater plant from Veolia

Veolia Water Technologies executed the electrical design and mechanical installation of the ZAR 125 million Ujams industrial wastewater treatment project near the City of Windhoek’s northern industrial zone. The plant was designed to treat u p to 5,000 m3/day of industrial wastewater for re-use and irrigation, and is one of the city’s key water infrastructure projects aimed at complying with Namibia’s national water regulations.

The Ujams Wastewater Treatment Company, a Special Purpose Company, contracted Veolia alongside VA Tech in 2012 to design, build, install and commission the wastewater treatment plant. The Ujams Wastewater Treatment Company raised finance for the project and will operate and maintain the plant for 21 years.

The Ujams wastewater plant is designed to accommodate additional effluent from future industrial developments in the greater catchment area. This plant enables reliability, efficiency and compliance with the country’s standards for reclaimed water used for irrigation.

The plant’s incoming wastewater is screened and de-gritted before entering the latest-generation MBR (membrane bio-reactor) system. Before being released from the plant, the water is disinfected with UV treatment, and the various treatment areas are linked to an odour removal process.

Improved water for the Elisenheim and Brakwater communities
The wastewater treatment plant replaced the region’s older UJAMS wastewater treatment plant, located roughly 20 km north of Windhoek. Originally commissioned in 1966, the plant had gradually become overloaded with the northern industrial zone’s expansion. With a large tannery, a brewery and an abattoir discharging effluents into the catchment area, peak flows often resulted in poor treatment quality, which caused odours within the nearby Elisenheim and Brakwater communities.

The new plant features some of the water industry’s latest technologies, and we’re able to remove high levels of E. coli and other pathogens, grease and salts, which will make the water ideal for re-use as irrigation water. During the rainy season, when the demand for irrigation water is low, the high-grade reclaimed water is discharged into the Klein Windhoek River, where it enters the groundwater system or the Swakoppoort Dam as a high-quality water stream.

The city’s main drinking water reclamation system at Goreangab is a world-first in water re-use by upgrading municipal sewage for direct re-use in the city’s potable water reticulation system. To protect this system from industrial inflows, Windhoek’s wastewater systems have been set up in such a way that effluents coming from industrial areas are kept separate from domestic sewage, and treated separately. This, as well as the fact that the Swakoppoort Dam is a main source of drinking water for the city, makes the Ujams plant a critical part of the city’s infrastructure.