Getting More Water Smart

As a business we want to become a more water-smart business that continually seeks new ways to reduce, reuse and "create water". One area where we can make a big difference is by treating the waste water from our processing plants, so that it can be reused on site and also discharged in a far cleaner state. Our Worcester Waste to Value plant is one example that made headlines this year – but there are other places where we are also making a difference. Take our Speciality Plant at Centurion for instance...it's not just producing cleaner water but a happier community too!

Our Centurion Speciality plant in Pretoria produces a variety of products for Woolworths, and water is a key part of the preparation and production process. In fact, an average of 4.5 million litres of water are used per month – that's 205 000 litres a day! After processing, all this water has to be treated before being discharged. To do this, we had a waste water treatment plant in place, along with an effluent dam to catch the treated runoff. The problem was that the existing processes simply weren't keeping up with the volume of waste water coming from the factory – and it was starting to affect air quality in the surrounding community too.

The site team put their heads together and came up with a two-phase solution that would clean the post-processing water enough to reuse for irrigation (and possible other uses) and to discharge via the municipality. The first part – a dissolved air flotation and flocculation (DAFF) unit – was commissioned on the site on 31 October. The DAFF is removing 81.2% of the organic waste from the waste water and is producing water quality that is four times better than the minimum level required for irrigation quality.

"Not only has this initiative positively strengthened our commitment to meeting all environmental requirements, it has also reduced odours and reinforced our agenda of wasting less and reusing more by reusing the treated effluent water as irrigation water. The next step is to investigate if more of the treated effluent can be used again in other downstream processes," says Hamzah Karim, Project Engineer, Consumer.

Well done to the team for seeing and doing things differently to do MORE for the environment and the community!
The new Centurion waste water treatment plant (DAFF on the left and Rotary screen filter with sludge tank on the right)