The Cederberg Municipality has awarded a R17 million contract to the Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies subsidiary, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies South Africa, to design, build and commission a 1.7 Mℓ/d seawater desalination plant in Lamberts Bay.

This infrastructure upgrade will help alleviate growing pressure on the region’s water system and improve availability of high-quality water for the region’s nearly 40 000 residents.“A steady increase in water consumption by the town and surrounding farmers has resulted in an overall drop in groundwater levels,” says Cobus Olivier, engineering manager at Veolia in Paarl. “This new plant is part of the Cederberg Municipality’s drive to correct this problem and improve water sustainability.”

A very tight budget requires Veolia to optimise standard plant designs to maintain a high design and build quality. To ensure significant energy savings and reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the plant will be fitted with a state-of-the-art energy recovery system as part of the plant’s initial capital investment. Specifications also require the plant to accommodate a future upgrade to 5 Mℓ/d.

Due for commissioning in October 2013, the plant will source seawater from boreholes drilled nearby the shore – close to Muisbosskerm. “This will provide a relatively clean source of feed water to the pretreatment phase,” says Olivier.

Pretreatment will involve passing seawater through a number of dual media pressure filters, which removes particles and other material in preparation for treatment by reverse osmosis (RO) membranes. During the RO phase, the salt water will be forced through semi-permeable membranes, which retain salts and allow fresh water to permeate.

“Once desalinated, the water will be stabilised with limestone and CO2, and fed into the town’s existing freshwater network,” continues Olivier.

Veolia’s manufacturing subsidiary in Spain will supply the plant’s standard compact seawater desalination skids. “The details of the operation and maintenance contract is currently being finalised with the municipality,” concludes Olivier.

The Lamberts Bay contract falls on the success of six seawater desalination plants installed by Veolia along the Cape coastline since 2009 at Canon Rocks, Bushman’s River Mouth, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay and Saldanha.

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies is the Veolia Water subsidiary specialised in technical solutions and design & build projects for water and wastewater treatment, for industrial and municipal clients. Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies recorded revenue of €2.4 billion (R32 billion) in 2012.www.veoliawaterst.com

Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environment, is the world leader in water and wastewater services. Specialised in outsourcing services for municipal authorities, as well as industrial and service companies, it is also one of the world’s major designers of technological solutions and constructor of facilities needed in water and wastewater services. With 89 094 employees, Veolia Water provides water service to 100 million people and wastewater service to 71 million. Its 2012 revenue amounted to €12.078 billion. www.veoliawater.com