Windhoek gets flagship wastewater plant from Veolia

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies South Africa is currently installing a new ZAR125 million industrial wastewater treatment plant near the City of Windhoek's northern industrial zone. The plant is designed to treat up 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 updated national water regulations. Veolia was contracted alongside VA Tech Wabag in 2012 by the Ujams Wastewater Treatment Company, a Special Purpose Company, to design, build, install and commission the plant.

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.

The new wastewater treatment plant replaces the region's older Ujams wastewater treatment plant, located roughly 20 km north of Windhoek. Originally commissioned in 1966, the plant gradually became 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, removing high levels of E. coli and other pathogens, grease and salts, making 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 will be discharged into the Klein Windhoek River, where it will enter 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, as municipal sewage is recycled 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 built such that industrial effluents are kept separate from domestic sewage. The Ujams plant is a critical part of the city's infrastructure in this regard.