Transforming communities with bulk water provision

Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies South Africa (Veolia) have been contracted to supply and install a new water treatment plant and abstraction weir addition to Umgeni Water's current bulk infrastructure system in the Lower Thukela region in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The treated water will be distributed to the region's district and local municipalities for potable use.

The project is part of the Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme (LTBWSS). Veolia is responsible for the design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the plant's modules, mechanical and electrical componentry, and ancillary civil infrastructure.

The plant will abstract 63 megalitres/day of water from the Thukela River through a low lift pump station. The pump is equipped with boulder & gravel traps to prevent large particles from being deposited into the water treatment works. The water stream is then screened as it is diverted into four canals designed to allow finer sediments and sand particles to settle. Additional filtering for sediment, grit, organic matter and heavy metals then occurs using hydrocyclones, clariflocculators, Pulsators® and disinfection.

As part of the contract, a Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies South Africa design engineer will train Umgeni Water staff to ensure they have the necessary process knowledge and skills to perform the service and maintenance requirements of the installation.

Veolia will also be involved in fostering relevant professional and technical skills among the region's communities, to utilise in the plant's operation and maintenance. A coordinated recruitment plan has been devised to identify local students from tertiary institutions in KwaZulu-Natal who have graduated as engineers, acquired training as mechanical and electrical fitters, boiler makers, or have other qualifications and credentials relevant to the plant's operation.

Veolia will remain involved with the plant during the trial operation period to ensure a smooth, seamless handover to Umgeni Water.