Veolia Water Technologies South Africa turns 20

Veolia Water Technologies celebrates 20 years of business in South Africa this year. The company behind some of southern Africa’s most important, forward-thinking water and wastewater treatment plants welcomes this landmark year with a renewed strategic focus serving newfound markets across a rapidly expanding geographic footprint. 

Launching in 1999 as Vivendi Water through the acquisition of local water treatment company Chematron with a complement of 80 people, today the company employs over 700 people, making it one of the continent’s largest water treatment specialist organisations.

Supported by some of the world’s pre-eminent water treatment specialists in France, Veolia, united by its Ambitions for Africa strategy, is leading the technological response to improved access to water and sanitation, optimised water usage among industry, and ensuring environmental compliance, across the continent.

It does so by offering the complete bouquet of water treatment technologies and services. Drawing on the company’s over 350 proprietary technologies; 160+ years’ experience; and an agile, efficient and modern manufacturing and distribution network, Veolia South Africa meets the continent’s water treatment needs through solutions that are efficient, cost-effective, reliable and require a small footprint.

Through a complete portfolio of modular treatment plants; increased capacity to manufacture the highest-specification water treatment chemicals; and the ability to provide full operations and maintenance services, anywhere in Africa, we’re improving the wellbeing and sustainability of cities, towns and communities across Africa.

Organisational agility to meet market requirements

Whatever the water treatment needs of municipal and industrial markets over the last 20 years, Veolia has been able to constantly evolve and adapt its solutions to help operators meet their requirements with maximum profitability.

This began with a strong initial focus on design and build projects – especially since its 2005 merger with Weir Envig – with Veolia responsible for several landmark large-scale projects, including:

  • The Ambatovy Mine crystallisation plant in Madagascar - Over 210 000 tons of ammonium sulphate is harvested each year from Ambatovy mine’s wastewater with Veolia’s crystallisation plant, converting an otherwise hazardous waste into a saleable product as agricultural fertiliser.
  • Mossel Bay desalination plant - The largest desalination plant in South Africa, it can supply 10 megalitres of potable water to the Mossel Bay Municipality, and 5 megalitres of process water to PetroSA.

  • Petrochemical WWTW, Sasol Synfuels Factory, Secunda - Veolia designed, constructed and commissioned a water treatment facility for Sasol Synfuels to boost the plant's total available water by re-using cooling tower blowdown water to the point of ZLD (Zero Liquid Discharge).
  • Lower Thukela potable water treatment plant - One of our largest municipal potable water treatment plants, supplied a 55 ML/day potable water treatment plant in the iLembe District in KwaZulu-Natal, which will eventually supply approximately 340 000 people.
At the Bellville wastewater treatment works, Veolia’s membrane bioreactors process 20 ML/day of sewage in a footprint one fifth of the size of the conventional plant.

Our large-scale projects are characterised by highly efficient water treatment technologies that enabled the lowest possible footprint and greatest profitability for these plants. Our ability to design, construct, optimise, maintain and refurbish some of southern Africa’s largest in-ground plants has cemented our legacy in the design and build market.

Rising demand for modular water treatment solutions

The trend towards smaller-scale plug-and-play water and wastewater systems that can be supplied at short notice has seen Veolia’s modular plants production achieve consistent growth.

Supplied since 2005 initially as made-to-order, customised plants, Veolia now supplies these plants as standard, off-the-shelf solutions. The benefit is even greater fabrication speed, with complete Factory Acceptance Tested plants being produced in 10 to 12 weeks according to ISO 9001 quality standards.


Bambisana Hospital

Veolia recently supplied Bambisana, a state hospital in a remote area within the Eastern Cape, with a potable water treatment plant (PWTP™) and a sewage treatment plant (STP™).

Veolia’s PWTP will supply produce 120 m3 of SANS-quality potable water each day, while the STP will treat 60 m3 of sewage per day, according to RSA General Standard for Discharge.

From its Sebenza, Johannesburg, production facility, Veolia supplies a complete range of these Water Techno Packages, from containerised or even truck-mounted potable water and trickling filter plants to its high-specification Orion plants for ultra-pure water. Their mobile and reliable construction has enabled these plants to be supplied as far afield as Nigeria and Ethiopia across a range of industries, from mining and oil and gas to tourism.


Mobile Water Treatment Plant (MWTP™)

A 4x4-mounted water treatment plant, that is completely mobile, providing SANS241 potable water wherever it’s needed.

End-to-end water treatment services

Another key growth area is in the increasing demand for operations and maintenance services, as companies seek to rationalise and improve overall efficiency and profitability of their water cycle.

Structured O & M agreements benefit companies not just by ensuring plants are professionally maintained and can guarantee compliance; through continuous process optimisation, we can work towards lowering their overall costs of production over time.

Since 2001, Veolia has supplied O & M services to the Durban Water Recycling Plant, recycling 47.5 ML/day of wastewater to near-potable standards for reuse by large-volume industrial customers. More recently, Veolia has assumed management of a number of plants and over 100 km of potable and sewerage infrastructure for the Overstrand Municipality in the Western Cape.

In the industrial sector, outsourced O & M has allowed companies to focus their energy and resources on their core production business, improving operational efficiency. From food & beverage and manufacturing to mining and steel, Veolia executes O & M contracts for all major industries in southern Africa. 

The Durban Water Recycling
Plant recycles up to 47.5 ML of wastewater to near-potable standards
The Durban Water Recycling Plant recycles up to 47.5 ML of wastewater to near-potable standards, every day. For almost 20 years, Veolia has managed the operations and maintenance of this landmark plant.

Growth in the water treatment chemicals market

A core part of Veolia’s services is its Hydrex range of chemicals, which has increased production from 80 tpm in 1999 to 350 tpm today, courtesy of the company’s new 6 600 m2 production facility in Pomona that opened in 2018.

Expanded production capabilities have led to shorter lead times for orders, and, as the primary chemical manufacturing hub for the entire continent, the facility services plants all over South Africa, as well as in Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Kenya and Ghana. Recent geographic expansion has established the company’s presence in North Africa and the Middle East through contracts in Morocco and Qatar.

Realising the circular economy in Africa

With all the technologies required to convert even the dirtiest wastewater to potable water and ultrapure standards, as well as harvest valuable by-products from wastewater, Veolia is helping Africa move towards more circular economies.

With specialist technologies like Biothane, AnoxKaldnes and MBBR and MBBR systems, Veolia can supply reuse and recycling solutions that extract maximum value and important resources from various wastewater streams, whether municipal or industrial.

Treating high COD wastewater produces biogas, that can be used for boilers and heat systems. Under the right conditions, if done properly, these plants can achieve 100% self-efficiency. Biomass is also produced. Dried, it can be used as a fuel and as fertiliser.


Veolia’s water reuse technologies, such as Biobulk® CSTR

Distell, Western Cape

Veolia’s water reuse technologies, such as Biobulk® CSTR, allow companies to recycle their process water, lowering their consumption of bulk water, while also harvesting the biogas for use as fuel for the plant’s boilers.

Water recycling in industrial operations helps companies reduce their reliance on bulk water supply, providing a more reliable water supply that can ultimately improve your plant uptime. With the per-unit cost of recycled water far cheaper than conventional bulk supply, companies also lower the costs of their water requirements.

In municipal applications, water reuse is becoming more and more critical in water scarce regions. Whether direct or indirect recycling, Veolia offers Africa the full spectrum of highly efficient water reuse technologies.


The Goreangab plant recycles up to 21 000 m3 per day

Goreangab Reclamation Plant

The Goreangab plant recycles up to 21 000 m3 per day to provide up to one third of the city's total potable water supply – serving almost 300 000 people. 

Looking ahead

Veolia is constantly innovating and introducing new tested technologies to market, and in 2019 year, we introduce our new AquaVista™ digital platform to African markets.

This award-winning, Internet of Things-based technology allows customers to implement real time monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to their water works. It delivers in-depth plant intelligence that via Veolia’s secure cloud technology that allows Veolia’s engineers in South Africa and from around the world to provide real-time support, predictive maintenance and optimisation avenues. The software will be standard in Veolia’s Water Techno Package in the future.

Constant innovation and the ability to adapt our technologies to market requirements are some of the key factors that have allowed Veolia to become South Africa’s leading water solutions supplier, and will continue to form the backbone as we look to a future of exciting water treatment opportunities across the continent.

Whatever your water treatment requirements, Veolia has the solution for you.

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