03-03-2019 - Johannesburg, South Africa

20 Years in SA and counting for Veolia Water Technologies

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

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.

Launching in 1999 as Vivendi Water with a complement of 80 people, today Veolia South Africa employs over 700 people, making it one of the continent’s largest water treatment specialist organisations, all working towards realising the company’s Ambitions for Africa. Through cost-effective, reliable and compact treatment solutions utilising the company’s over 350 proprietary technologies, Veolia is improving access to water and sanitation, optimising water usage among industry, and ensuring environmental compliance.

From a strong initial focus on design and build projects – with an impressive portfolio of projects that includes the Ambatovy Mine crystallisation plant in Madagascar; the 15 ML/day Mossel Bay desalination plant; and the 55 ML/day Lower Thukela potable water treatment plant – today Veolia is a total water treatment partner to municipalities and industry. These include packaged plants (now branded Water Techno Packages), operations and maintenance and the supply of chemicals and spares.

Veolia’s water reuse technologies, such as Biobulk® CSTR, have enabled companies such as Distell 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.

A total technology portfolio

“As the demand for smaller-scale plug-and-play water and wastewater systems that can be supplied at short notice has increased, it is in the modular plant market where Veolia is experiencing concentrated growth,” explains Veolia’s Chris Braybrooke, General Manager: Marketing.

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.

From its Sebenza, Johannesburg, production facility, these plants cater for a complete range water treatment applications, from potable water and trickling filter plants to its high-specification Orion plants for ultra-pure water.

Veolia supplied the mechanical and electrical components for the 55 Mℓ/day Lower Thukela potable water treatment plant in the iLembe District in KwaZulu-Natal.

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 costs 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 achieve compliance; through continuous process optimisation, we can work towards lowering their overall costs of production over time,” Braybrooke explains.

In one of the largest municipal contracts of its kind, Veolia has recently begun an operations contracts for the 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 water treatment chemicals market, Veolia has increased production from 80 to 350 tpm of its Hydrex™ range of chemical, 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.

Looking ahead

Veolia is constantly innovating and introducing new tested technologies to market, and this year, it introduces its 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,” Braybrooke concludes.

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