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environment with very little natural water respurces and very low levels of annual rain fall. Most of the water is either bottled (local and imported) or desalinated. Qatar also has one of the world‟s highest ratios of vehicles to population. This has compounded pressure on the infrastructure, which has seen a huge increase in traffic, and a huge increase in carbon emissions; not to mention the resulting congestion problem. Engineer Saad al Joudi, director of the Commodore Qatar Contracting Co., has a background in civil engineering and his aim is to raise awareness amongst construction professionals about the importance of the conservation of water. He hopes that this will contribute to the reduction of the negative effects that water treatment has on the environment. He spoke at the recent Water Interest Group (WIG) seminar organized by the Qatar Green Building Council‟s (QGBC) held on 28 June 2011. The first in a series of seminar was entitled „Water Usage in Qatar's Built Environment. According to Al Joudi because of the current boom in construction across the region water conservation has a special significance in the MENA region. This is mainly due to the fact that water plays a large role in construction; hence it needs to be managed carefully due to its scarcity in the region. He reiterated that water treatment plants are large contributors to carbon emissions and treating sea water consumes remarkable amounts of energy. After graduating from Baghdad University where he majored in structural engineering he worked in SE Asia and has spent some time in the Middle East and now the Arabian Gulf. He is a member of many Engineering and Construction Societies, including the Project Management Institute, the American Concrete Institute where he is an honorary member He has found that not much effort is made to use sea water directly as a resource. In areas where there is less fresh water sea water has been employed in a number of different ways. Most recently it was used as a coolant in Japan after the nuclear plant disaster in April 2011. The efficacy of this has not been proven. Desalination and reverse osmosis continue to be the main processes used to provide potable water. Water is a direct component of products like cement and concrete. It is a key part of the earthworks process. However, a product called plasticizer can be used to reduce the amount of water that is used during the production of concrete. Lots of water is used to wash concrete and it has to be potable water. In cases like this recycling water can be highly useful as it a closed loop process wherein the water can be contained and recycled as part of the concrete production process. Water is used to wash the concrete, the cement mixers and tools and machinery involved in the process. At the same time that the water is being recycled the aggregate can also be recycled and reused. Al Joudi emphasized that this would have to be enforced by Government regulations to ensure compliance. Al Joudi advocated the use of sea water particularly on areas where building is taking place at or near the sea. The compounds in the sea water will not be foreign as it will already be mixed into the soil and are not being introduced into the area. In some areas, Al Joudi reported, it is being used in
agriculture. He feels that with a bit of effort the same can be done in the construction industry. Al Joudi continued to explain that the use of water in the building of superstructures like tower buildings where only concrete is used consumes a huge amount of water. Not only in the mixing of the products but also to cure the concrete. This is traditionally done through „flooding‟. This is where the slab is kept wet by keeping it covered with a layer of water for a period of time. Al Joudi said that this was clearly wasteful as studies have proven that using a curing compound produces the same result as water. Cement block walls are currently cured with water and a curing compound can be used for this as well. With regards to cement blocks, Al Joudi said that even these do not have to be used as a range of new materials have been developed that can be used instead that do not need to be cured and can be coated almost immediately after installation with far less mess and less dependency on water. Human consumption of water According to statistics the consumption of water almost equals emission of sewage. He advised that the recycling of water needs to be encouraged in projects particularly when the project can accommodate septic tanks. One factor that he mentioned with regards to the high consumption of water in the construction sector was that companies paid the water bills and not the individuals working or operating the plants. The lack of responsibility shown by employees and residents of labour camps with regards to water conservation is clearly lacking. Al Joudi said that it would help if all construction employees were educated about the use of water, recycling and its conservation. He said that labour camps especially can take a positive step and put in place rules to prevent wastage. Towards creating a balance: Consumption and recycling One company that has taken this thought and turned it into action is the Gulf Contracting Company. Mr Andy Ford shared the idea behind the Bionest technology with the seminar attendees. Ford has been the Operations Manager for the Gulf Contracting Company since 2005. He has been instrumental in the promotion and implementation of many examples of good environmental practices within his organization. He is the company‟s named delegate for the QGBC and a QSAS Certified Green Professional. According to Ford it is estimated that 500,000 people in Qatar (approximately 1/3 of the population) are not connected to mains drainage. A Canadian company called Bionest has patented an innovative on-site waste water treatment solution that will reduce carbon emissions, preserve water, manage sewage effluent, create sustainable development by helping us to live within our environmental limits, reduce noise pollution and eliminate the risk of contamination. Bionest Technologies has developed and convincingly demonstrated that the use of its treatment technology can produce an exceptionally clean effluent, one that is very close to fresh water quality. This technology can also generate a short term payback on the investment required for its installation by reusing the treated effluent for a variety of on site uses such as commercial laundry, washing equipment, dust abatement, firefighting, toilet flushing,
urinals, and other uses, or disposing of any surplus wastewater through infiltration. The payback is generated by reducing and possibly eliminating transport and disposal costs to an approved installation and reducing costs for fresh water through the reuse of a large proportion of the treated effluent. Thus, savings that produce the payback continue onward for the life of the work project. Elaborating on a Qatar first for ecofriendly wastewater treatment, he explained that the Gulf Contracting Company is turning 1.4mn gallons of sewage from one of its labour camps into as much recycled water per month and saving about QR2.4mn a year. Technical Description The BIONEST System is a biological process consisting of an extended aeration submerged fixed film bioreactor. The biomass (good bacteria) develops and firmly attaches to both sides of the ribbon shaped plastic media. With a tremendous amount of bacterial growth and the support offered by the media for their growth, provides the reactor its high performance and resistance to hydraulic shocks (peak flow). The other key factor is the retention time. This ensures sufficient time for the bacteria to remove pollutants as well as minimizing the biological sludge production. While other biological treatment systems require settling tanks and sludge handling, the relatively low food/microorganism ratio as well as high detention time in the BIONEST reactor create low sludge production. According to Ford, the sludge produced does not require more than one removal per year. “We have not had to remove the sludge from the Bionest system in one of our camps housing 1,600 workers for the past 10 months, in contrast to the 10 times daily cleaning of the tanks earlier,” Ford pointed out while highlighting the efficiency of the system. Ford continued to explain that the Bionest bioreactor is aerated in the first section which is kept turbulent to ensure better treatment without short-circuiting. There is a high level of dissolved oxygen which assists the oxidation process but in a calmer environment. This calm zone ensures that no solids will escape the bioreactor and the effluent will be extremely clear (no color). A key factor in the system is the constant recirculation of the treated water back to the head of the Bionest treatment tank, which makes this system a multi pass treatment system. The aeration of the system is done using multi-unit low power consuming linear air pumps. Several pumps are used to supply air to each module. This allows for redundancy which ensures treatment performance even during maintenance, replacement or failure of one or more of the air pumps. The constant aeration of the reactor with cool air from a building assures constant and optimal biological activity independently from the outside temperature. Bionest final effluent is combined with Tablet Chlorination Disinfection to disinfect the treated water prior to reuse in Toilets and urinals. He then went on to explain to the seminar participants what the purification process entailed. The Process
The treatment train takes place in two tanks installed in series. The primary treatment is composed of a conventional two-compartment septic tank equipped with an effluent filter. The second two compartment tank is called the „bioreactor‟. The waste water flows to the bioreactor by hydraulic displacement from the primary treatment tank. Treatment of bioreactor is achieved using a biological process of microbial culture, fixed to a synthetic media, in an aerobic condition. The media is a non-toxic polymer ribbon, engraved to facilitate the fixation of microbial culture, having a relative density of 1.04. A specific quantity of Bionest media is placed into each of the two compartments. Continuous aeration of the first compartment of the bioreactor is provided by a linear air pump and fine bubble air diffusers. A recirculation pump is installed in the last compartment of the bioreactor and part of the treated effluent is returned to the septic tank to provide denitrification. Certifications Bionest advanced waste water treatment systems have been certified to standards set by internationally recognized standard setting organizations. For certifications and water test results go to www.bionest.ca Testing of the BIONEST Technologies was conducted under the provisions of ANSI/NSF Standard 40 for Residential Wastewater Systems (November 2004 revision). NSF/ANSI Standard 40 was developed by the NSF Joint Committee on Wastewater Technology. The treatment quality of the final effluent will meet or exceed the performance requirements established by NSF/ANSI Standard 40 for Class 1 effluent. Bionest Advantages Proven: 15,000 units sold to date worldwide. Low operating costs No skilled operator needed Each BIONEST module of 45m³(300 men/day) replaces one 10,000gal sewage tanker truck. High level of treatment Clear and odorless effluent (below ground or containerized) The disinfected treated water exceeds international bathing water standards. The disinfected treated water can be reused for many applications including toilets, urinals, irrigation as well as other permitted uses. No hazardous chemicals (only chlorine tablets) 3 simple components (settling tank, bioreactor, tablet chlorinator) Superior performance (up to 10 x the active surface area of MBBR biofilm carriers) Media never to be replaced Reliable and long- lasting components Low maintenance costs Minimal sludge removal (once per annum) Organic and hydraulic shock resistant The modules can be configured in many ways to fit your available space.
The modules can be designed to be installed above ground and are re-locatable.
Bionest, represented by the Gulf Contracting Company in Qatar, also offers the Oasis mobile wastewater treatment solution, housed in standard 40ft containers. “The mobile unit is being deployed on a trial at Qatar University,” he said. There are three fully operational Bionest systems in Qatar. Ends Wordcount: 2048
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