Environmental management products and services provider Procon Environmental Technologies expects to complete a multi- million-rand wastewater treatment plant contract associated with a pipeline project in mid-June, company MD Kuno Kerlen tells Engineering News.
“We have supplied five wastewater treatment plants along the pipeline that will run from Johannesburg to Durban, using our hydro- cyclone technology, including associated equipment for the multibillion-rand pipeline project,” he says, adding that the plants will manage the effluent discharge into the surrounding environment.
A key aim of the company is to prevent oil-contaminated water discharged by industrial users from being fed into the municipal or storm- water systems, Kerlen says, adding that the company specialises in the removal of oil and other hydrocarbons from wastewater in the oil and gas, iron and steel, food and beverage, and mining industries.
As part of its service, Procon Environmental Technologies implements hydrocyclone tech- nology – which effectively separates oil suspension from the wastewater stream, based on strong centrifugal forces created in the hydrocyclone, which is more than 1 000 times the force of gravity, Kerlen explains.
The heavy-duty oil separator system com- prises an oily water skimmer, a low shear pump, a control panel, backup strainer and a powerful hydrocyclone de-oiler, Kerlen notes.
Additional features of the hydrocyclone system include a small footprint system for high- water volume, no use of chemicals or consumables and a low operating cost.
Further, the company also supplies the oil removal Mycelx filtration technology or polishing system, which was developed in the US, to various industries. The system entails the permanent capture of oil in wastewater using oil absorbent cartridges, Kerlen explains.
“We are focusing on the Mycelx product, as it is unique to South Africa and offers high discharge-quality standards,” Kerlen says, adding that, owing to the current stringent effluent discharge standards that South African municipalities are imposing on industries, the market can benefit from the efficient filtration qualities of the product.
He adds that the Mycelx hydrocarbon matrix is designed to remove hydrocarbons such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, crude oil, chlorinated hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, sheen, organic solvents, pesticides and organic-bound metals from wastewater.
Procon Environmental Technologies chair- person Andy Miller notes that, with the National Water Act of 1998 still under review, municipalities are exerting more pressure on industry to conform to the effluent discharge standards, which can often present compliance challenges.
The Act, which aims to ensure that the country’s water sources are developed, used, conserved and managed in a sustainable manner, is under review to improve on various regulations, including wastewater treatment requirements, as stated by the Department of Water Affairs in its strategic plan for the fiscal years 2013 to 2018, he explains.
“Industries in different municipalities currently have to conform to different requirements, owing to the varying degrees of per- missible limits of hydrocarbons discharged into the sewage systems, which can vary from 0 ppm to 500 ppm for the different municipalities,” he points out.
Nevertheless, monitoring the amount of hydrocarbons in the discharged effluent has also become an increasing concern for industry, Miller says, adding that many industries are more motivated to ensure compliance with general environmental legislation and municipal regulations and therefore apply better hydrocarbon removal technologies to their wastewater before discharge.
Meanwhile, Miller also notes a decrease in use of the traditional system technologies, such as rope oil skimmers and plate pack separators to separate the hydrocarbons from the water, owing to the technologies’ high maintenance requirements and often not meeting environmental discharge standards.