Sustainable wastewater treatment what has gone wrong and how do we get back on track?

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1 Sustainable wastewater treatment what has gone wrong and how do we get back on track? Heidi G. Snyman AM van Niekerk N Rajasakran

2 Overview of the wastewater treatment industry in SA Most WWTPs in SA are relatively small systems Ml/day 10% > 25 Ml/day 7% 2-10 Ml/day 21% Ml/day 11% < 0.5 Ml/day 50% No. of Plants: 986

3 Introduction Metros typically have a few large WWTPs and are generally well equipped and operated Specific challenges exist for smaller and poorer communities The challenges relate to the small scale of operation and having to establish new skills and competencies The infrastructural, mechanical and electrical maintenance of the plants also present challenges

4 National survey 51 plants in eight Provinces. micro plants (< 500 m 3 /day); small plants ( m 3 /day); medium plants ( m 3 /day) plant The technology utilized, resources deployed for operations and maintenance and overall performance was assessed at each plant.

5 Location of plants included in the survey

6 Generic evaluation protocol Capital infrastructure Resources deployed Human resources Financial resources Plant performance Information resources Flow and loads Unit process performance Effluent quality Sludge handling Stakeholder requirements Environmental Legal Socioeconomic Health

7 Resources deployed on wastewater treatment plants 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Capital infrastructure Human resources (Operational) Human resources (Maintenance) Financial resources Information resources Major intervention required Intervention required Adequate Ideal situation Over resourced Significantly over resourced

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9 Resources deployed The data shows that some form of intervention is required with regards to the following: Capital infrastructure investment is required at 35 % of the plants Additional skilled operational staff is required to operate the plant efficiently at 50 % of the plants Additional skilled maintenance staff is required to adequately maintain the installed mechanical/electrical equipment and instrumentation at 56 % of the plants Supplemental financial resources are required to support the routine operation and maintenance at 21 % of the plants Additional information resources are required to properly operate the facilities at 63 % of the plants

10 Resources deployed on wastewater treatment plants The need for additional or upgraded plant infrastructure or the need for additional funding is not the root cause of the poor performance at the majority of surveyed plants The most pressing need is the critical shortage of trained, skilled and experienced process controllers and mechanical/electrical maintenance staff Most plants operate with insufficient information to guide optimised operations, but this shortcoming can be partially overcome by trained and skilled process controllers

11 Plant wastewater flow and loads 16 % are hydraulically overloaded 22 % are overloaded in terms of the organic/nutrient load >35 % of the plants can accommodate higher flows and loads depend on the capacity of the operators to operate a plant that is running close to or at design capacity 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Flow received Load received Major intervention required Intervention required Adequate Ideal situation Over resourced Significantly over resourced

12 Treatment Process Performance More than half the plants experience problems with the following unit processes: Flow balancing facility is not available on the majority of surveyed plants. Secondary treatment Including oxidation pond treatment, trickling filters and activated sludge which has different levels of complexity and mechanical/electrical component content Poor performance plants were almost equally represented in all the main secondary treatment process technologies The complexity of the treatment technology is not a major differentiating factor in plant performance

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15 Treatment Process Performance Maturation ponds Many of the maturation ponds are filled with sludge and overgrown with reeds. Many plants bypass the maturation ponds and do not understand the important polishing and disinfection function of maturation ponds. Chlorination 67 % of the plants that disinfect final effluent are experiencing operational problems. Problems include inadequate design of disinfection systems, inappropriate disinfection technology employed, inadequate operation and management of chlorine stock.

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18 Residue and sludge management % of plants experience problems disposing of screenings and grit Most plants rely on the either the extended aeration or long resident time in pond systems. Most of the plants rely on solar drying in drying beds or sludge ponds/lagoons Although these are fairly simple processes, poor operational practices were observed at 39% of the plants Disinfection process for sludge is almost nonexisting Inadequate disposal and use of sludge were recorded at 81% of the plants None of the plants visited would comply with the new SA Sludge Guidelines

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23 Maintenance aspects Immediate intervention is required at 30 % of the plants Intervention required at > 60 % of the plants 10 % of plants are maintained to ensure sustainable functionality 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Preventative maintenance Routine electrical maintenance Routine mechanical maintenance Redundancy Turn around time Equipment replacement Availability of qualified staff Major problems Problematic Adequate Ideal situation

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26 Environmental Impacts and Regulatory Compliance The compounding effect of all the operational aspects evaluated as well as the general lack of maintenance: 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Environmental and health impact Authorization and compliance Major problems Problematic Adequate Ideal situation

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28 Environmental Impacts and Regulatory Compliance 30 % require immediate intervention to avoid crisis situations such as an outbreak of waterborne diseases In the short to medium term intervention would be required at more than 66 % of the plants The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry requires a 95 percentile compliance to the conditions stipulated in the authorisation. If these performance criteria are strictly enforced, only 4 % of the surveyed plants are adequately operated and maintained.

29 Status of Operating Staff at South Africa Wastewater Treatment Plants Major intervention required and practically no trained and competent operations staff available to plant (10%) Intervention required with a limited number of trained and competent operations staff available to plant (40%) Plant adequately resourced in terms of operations staff but further training of staff required (36%) Staff properly trained, qualified and experienced to competently operate the treatment plant. Ongoing training and education programmes are implemented (4%) Plant facility has more trained and qualified operational staff allocated to the entire operation of the plant than is required (10%)

30 Framework for Intervention Strategies Spheres of influence Urgent / immediate actions Short term actions Long term actions Governance and regulatory aspects Facility management and ownership aspects Facility planning and construction aspects Operations and maintenance of facilities

31 Key Components of Intervention Strategy Regulatory interaction with WWTP owners and operators. Institutional arrangements. Service delivery systems. Advancement of appropriate treatment technology. Capacity of operations staff resources. Capacity of maintenance staff resources. Financial support programs. Information systems. Collaborative actions.

32 Estimated number of process controllers required to effectively operate the micro, small and medium wastewater treatment plants in South Africa Class operator Number of operators required Number of registered operators in the DWAF data base Shortfall of registered operators Trainee I II III IV V (76) * (0)* TOTAL TOTAL (Correction for Class V)*

33 Maintenance It is assumed that any wastewater treatment plant requires access to a maintenance team consisting of at least the following staff and support: electrician; fitter and turner; instrumentation technician; mode of transport (bakkie); tool kits and basic spare parts. Require at least 105 teams Job creation opportunities!

34 SO what can be done to help the situation?

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36 PURPOSE OF THE GUIDELINE This guideline document deals with the requirements for undertaking an inspection at a WWTW. The purpose of the guideline document is to assist the Process Controller to: prepare for an inspection at the WWTW; and take corrective action where a problem is identified. Assist the Inspector to: undertake an inspection at a WWTW; and give guidance where a problem is identified.

37 Legislative Issues GUIDELINE FOR THE INSPECTION OF WASTEWATER TREATMENT WORKS Human Resources Budge t Records/Reporti ng PART I: GUIDELINE PART II: CHECKLISTS PROCESS CONFIGURATION PROCESS OPERATIONS PROCESS CONTROL Checklist 1: The WWTW in a Nutshell Checklist 2: Primary Assessment Checklist3: Comprehensive Inspection Preliminary Treatment Checklist 4: The Quarterly Inspection Primary Treatment Secondary Treatment Tertiary Treatment Sludge Treatment MAINTEANCE AND SAFETY LABORATOR Y Management and administration

38 Checklist When should the checklist be used? 1 The WWTW in a nutshell This checklist will help the person undertaking the inspection to get an understanding of the unit processes making up the WWTW and should be undertaken with the Process Manager. All Process Managers and Process Controllers should complete this checklist when commencing employment at the WWTW and again if any upgrades are done to the works. External Inspectors should complete this checklist prior to undertaking an inspection. Examples of flow diagrams of various configurations are set out in Appendix B and C. 2 Primary Assessment This checklist gives an overall evaluation of the WWTW. The inspection should be undertaken by an experienced person, preferably external to the WWTW who will make a decision on whether the comprehensive inspection needs to be undertaken or not. 3 Comprehensive Inspection This checklist includes individual checklists for each unit process. It should be used by the regulators and other Inspectors (both external and internal) when a WWTW has failed the primary assessment i.e all aspects have failed or certain parts of the WWTW have serious failures. This checklist will aid in the identification of the problems and will help to make improvements. 4 Quarterly Inspection This inspection should be undertaken quarterly once the WWTW has been subjected to a comprehensive inspection and/or primary assessment, and has been deemed to be running optimally. Ideally the regulator should undertake this inspection however, the Process Manager or Process Controller could also undertake this inspection.

39 PART I GUIDELINES FOR UNDERTAKING AN INSPECTION AT A WWTW

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43 CHECKLIST 2: THE PRIMARY ASSESSMENT Performance Area Aspects to consider Notes 1 Mechanical assessment 2 Final effluent Mechanical equipment Maintenance schedule and implementation Looks and smells good Results are displayed graphically Note: take a final effluent sample at this time and send to an independent laboratory for analysis; do field tests as appropriate (eg. residual chlorine using DPD tablets) and interpret the results once received; Biological treatment process Good housekeeping Disposal of solids Attached growth media (eg. stones, disks) is in good condition and does not have a bad smell; Activated sludge - mixed liquor looks good and smells earthy; Areas around unit processes are kept clean and tidy; Chemical storage areas are bunded; Screenings, detritus and sludge are correctly disposed of in accordance with relevant authorisations 6 Paper work Water use authorisation is in place and conditions stipulated are implemented; Contracts for sludge disposal are in place 7 Safety issues Obvious safety hazards

44 CHECKLIST 3 THE COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT Rating Description Observation of a physical item (eg. a pump; unit process) Note/comment on an issue (eg. documentation) 3 Major failure No/false 2 Problematic Yes, but inadequate/not applicable (n/a) 1 Ideal performance Yes/true

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46 CHECKLIST 4: THE QUARTERLY ASSESSMENT

47 APPENDICES: Reference documents that should be on hand at the WWTW Hand drawn flow diagram example Various configurations of WWTW throughout South Africa A A simple method to estimate the flow into a WWTW Example for recording water quality compliance Norms

48 Thank you

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