You are on page 1of 4



By Grant Beamish

The high
concentration of
biomass inventory
in the MBR process
provides resilience to
changes in influent

MBR Wastewater System is Housed in 27 High Cube Shipping Containers Comprised of

Distinct 3-Container Treatment Trains.

newterra helped a global mining company expand Decentralization is an approach to wastewater

its operations at an African mine site cost- treatment that offers tremendous advantages
Fast Facts
effectively by engineering and building a large, by bringing treatment right to the source. That
modular sewage treatment system. The pre- translates into less collection infrastructure, Location: Zambia, Africa
built, pre-tested system required minimal site reduced pumping requirements and lower Project Assigned by: Mining
work at the remote location and is scalable for operating costs. The use of advanced technologies, Company
Plant Operation Started in: 2013
future growth. The high quality treated effluent is such as membrane bioreactors (MBRs), allows
suitable for reuse applications. systems that are very compact - about one

120 December 2016 | EverythingAboutWater

Keywords: WTP, Decentralization, MBR, UV

Membrane Bioreactor Treatment Eliminates Need for Primary and Secondary Clarification.

quarter of the size of conventional activated response to the increasingly size of resource Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) system for the
sludge treatment. MBR technology also brings projects, where thousands of workers are located site. MBR technology is a simple, yet effective
the benefit of high quality treated effluent thats in remote sites, newterra has developed self- combination of an activated sludge biological
suitable for direct discharge or reuse in a wide contained systems capable of serving sizeable treatment process with membrane filtration. The
range of applications. populations. These modular systems are rapidly use of ultrafiltration (UF) membranes provides
deployed to these locations and can be fully a physical barrier against the passage of all
For resource companies with operations in assembled and undergoing commissioning within particulate solids, contrary to gravity settlement
remote locations, modular, decentralized days of arrival. They also offer the advantages of of mixed liquor in a conventional activated sludge
wastewater treatment is a necessity. The advent scalability to accommodate changes in population, process. As a result, MBRs can operate at a much
of packaged treatment plants has facilitated and can be redeployed at the conclusion of a higher mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS)
an environmentally responsible solution for these project, with minimal site remediation required. concentration (typically 8,000 to 18,000 mg/L vs.
locations. The sophistication of modular treatment 2,000 to 4,000 mg/L in conventional activated
systems for mining and oil and gas operations has Modularity was a key factor in the selection of a sludge system). The result is a robust, versatile
spawned the adoption of this same approach by newterra MBR wastewater treatment solution by a wastewater treatment system. In addition, the
municipalities and private developers - with the global mining company to address their needs at high concentration of biomass inventory in the
same inherent advantages. a large operation in Zambia, Africa. MBR process provides resilience to changes in
influent quality.
newterra is a Canadian-based, global The copper mine was undergoing an expansion
manufacturer of water, wastewater and that included the addition of a new conveyor to Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) Treatment
groundwater treatment solutions. The company transport ore to a nearby crusher. The result Process
has been a pioneer of modular systems for the would be additional mine tailings at the site. With The pre-engineered, pre-assembled and fully
resource and private development markets. In the current tailings pond approaching capacity, tested offering by newterra held numerous
and the existing Rotating Biological Contractor advantages over competing proposals - even
(RBC) wastewater treatment plant directly in ones that utilized MBR technology, according to
the expansion zone, the mine operator sought Robert Kennedy, newterras Chief Technology
When the costs of onsite construction, not a large scale treatment system to address Officer. Our systems are designed and factory-
to mention inevitable weather-related the mines growth and the 8,000-person built for very quick assembly at their end
challenges were factored in, newterras community supporting the project. Timing was location using our service team. In this case, we
self-contained wastewater plant was the also a key factor. The RBC was not operating to delivered a 1,500 m3/day (396,000 GPD) self-
clear choice from an economic and timing specifications and there was growing potential for contained wastewater treatment plant that was
non-compliance. fully assembled and undergoing commissioning
within three weeks of the equipments arrival. Our
Robert Kennedy Upon consideration of various options, the global modular approach not only expedited delivery of
Chief Technology Officer, newterra mining company selected newterras modular the system, it significantly reduced site work. The December 2016 | EverythingAboutWater 121


only thing required was a concrete pad and three When the costs of onsite construction, not to This design not only facilitated rapid deployment,
external surface-mounted tanks. mention inevitable weather-related challenges it allows additional trains to be added if the
were factored in, newterras self-contained mining community grows. They can be removed
Other proposals for the project were based wastewater plant was the clear choice from an later if capacity requirements decrease. The
on erecting a building to house the treatment economic and timing standpoint, says Kennedy. entire treatment plant can also be removed and
equipment - an approach that would have relocated elsewhere in the future without leaving
involved extensive on-site construction, as newterras solution for the project was a assets in the ground. Three additional containers
well as attracting skilled construction workers 27-container membrane bioreactor wastewater housed screening, sludge management and the
and housing them at the remote site for an treatment plant. The system was deployed in control system for the plant.
extended period of time. Further complicating eight, three-container treatment trains - with
these alternatives was the need to endure the each container in the trains housing equipment Making the mine a more sustainable operation
complications and delays of building through the for a distinct process function - anoxic treatment, was part of the criteria for the project. The
rainy season. biological treatment and membrane filtration. use of newterras innovative MicroClear UF

Large Capacity System Features Integrated Sludge Thickening and Dewatering Equipment.

122 December 2016 | EverythingAboutWater

Keywords: WTP, Decentralization, MBR, UV

1,500 M3/Day (396,000 GPD) System is Comprised of 27 Interconnected Containers to Allow Easy Movement within Modular Treatment Plant.

membranes was central to meeting that objective. Integrated sludge thickening and dewatering
The patented, ultrafiltration membranes have a equipment allows on-site management. With About the Author
porosity of 0.04 microns and treat sewage to the composting, the dry filter cakes may ultimately Grant Beamish is Marketing Communications
Director at newterra.
high standards established by the World Health be use as fertilizer for local agriculture. The
Organization (WHO) for irrigation, dust control and sophisticated system also incorporates newterras newterra is opening up new possibilities
other applications - or direct discharge to the advanced telemetry for monitoring, control and for decentralized water treatment with
local river. The MicroClear membrane cassettes trouble-shooting half way around the world. redeployable systems. Our modular plug
& play solutions can be located virtually
are configured in framed modules that feature
anywhere and be SCALED up and down
newterras roll-out access system for simplified Our ability to monitor and control our systems in parallel with capacity requirements. For
routine maintenance. remotely using SiteLinkTM telemetry means subdivisions, for resorts, for remote work
we can provide technical support in real time camps wherever a decentralized solutions
is required.
Further ensuring high quality permeates was to our clients, and be proactive in scheduling
the incorporation of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. maintenance procedures, comments newterras To know more about the author and contributor
Two units, running in parallel, provided tertiary Kennedy. For systems running in remote regions, of this case study, you can write to us. Your
treatment to eliminate potential discharge of like our plant in Zambia, it provides tremendous feedback is welcome and should be sent at: Selected responses will
harmful pathogens such as Cryptosporidium and peace of mind.
get a 1-year complimentary subscription of
Giardia. The UV units are capable of disinfecting EverythingAboutWater Magazine.
flow rates of 60 GPM. The plant has been operational since its installation in 2013. December 2016 | EverythingAboutWater 123