Bundled operation and maintenance a growing trend in SA

Increasingly, manufacturing and industrial-sector companies are turning to Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies South Africa to manage the day-to-day operation and maintenance of their on-site water treatment plants.

The trend, according to Veolia's MD, Gunter Rencken, can be attributed to companies' needs to cut costs and reduce the risk of downtime, while ensuring compliance with water purification standards at the same time: "Our experience in the southern African water industry has shown that many companies do not have the skills and know-how available to suitably manage their own water treatment plants. Unplanned downtime and process-wide inefficiencies can be costly, making it increasingly viable to outsource water and wastewater treatment plant operation and maintenance to suppliers who have the necessary skills, infrastructure and footprints in the region," he explains.

Improving efficiency to cut water treatment costs

One of the contracts Veolia recently secured requires full operation, maintenance and chemical supply from Veolia's locally-manufactured Hydrex™ range to improve the quality of discharged wastewater coming from a global food company's plant near Johannesburg. The plant's discharge into the municipal sewer system wasn't meeting municipal quality standards, resulting in the company having to pay penalties to the municipality. Simply by assuming the management of the plant's day-to-day operations - without any upgrades to the physical plant - the plant's wastewater quality was enhanced to exceed the municipality's minimum discharge standards, drastically reducing operational expenditure.

A second global food company has contracted Veolia to manage operations at its Cape Town and Johannesburg factories. Veolia initially managed the company's wastewater plants, but is now also responsible for their on-site water utilities, such as boiler feed water and cooling water circuits. Veolia's services bundle its Design & Build, Engineered Systems and Operations & Consumables divisions into a neat, fully-comprehensive operations and maintenance package, offering the complete spectrum of water treatment services.

Throughout the Western and Eastern Cape, Veolia has been operating and maintaining industrial and municipal desalination plants that produce potable water, including the large-scale desalination plant in Mossel Bay, and other plants in Plettenberg Bay, Cannon Rocks, Albany Coast, Knysna and Saldanha Bay. The company also manages the Mossel Bay Re-use Plant for PetroSA and the Mossel Bay Municipality.

Veolia also operates and maintains nine plants throughout KwaZulu-Natal, including the flagship Durban Water Recycling plant, which treats up to 47 ML/day of domestic and industrial sewage to near-drinking standards for direct re-use by industry. Other projects include the two containerised wastewater treatment plants at King Shaka International Airport, which has special wastewater discharge requirements due to its location in an environmentally sensitive area.