New sewage system making green living easier

Ozone Services Industries (OSI), a South African water, air and sewage treatment specialist, has commercially launched its Biozone Nokak Sewage Treatment Plant, a compact and affordable alternative to septic tanks and French Drain sewers aimed at golf estates, housing developments, game lodges, shopping centres, and mining villages.


The Biozone Nokak Sewage Treatment Plant is designed to recycle sewage effluent into water that can be reused in toilet flushing systems, irrigation systems and even as drinking water for livestock.


Ozone Services Industries says that it is targeting the estimated R1.26bn South African water treatment and waste water treatment market (2008), which, according to business research & consulting firm Frost and Sullivan, is forecast to grow by 69% to R2.13 billion by 2014.


This growth comes as a result of increased legislative and environmental pressures, a historical lack of investment in water treatment and the fact that demand for clean water is outstretching its supply in South Africa.


According to Ian Wright, Managing Director at OSI, the Biozone Nokak Sewage Treatment Plant is a 100% South African designed and developed product, utilising a completely natural process that requires no chemicals or regular emptying to treat sewage.


“The process involves utilising a series of tanks and a combination of oxygen, naturally-occurring bacteria and an Ozone generator, to quickly and effectively eliminate effluent from sewer water and purify the water to within government standards that can be reused indoors and out,” he says.


Sewage makes its way into a collection tank where non-biodegradable solids are separated from the rest of the effluent. Then, through a series of subsequent tanks, bacteria and other micro-organisms – which occur naturally in the effluent – are fed oxygen to promote their growth and multiplication and feed off the biodegradable solid waste in the water.


The process is accelerated in the final stages of treatment as the bacteria are then starved of oxygen and sent into a ‘feeding frenzy’ to eliminate the final solid waste in the water.


Any residual solids are then collected and sent back to the first collection tank to start the process again along with any new effluent that is collected, while the recycled water is sterilised with Ozone and then pumped back into the water system for reuse.


The recycled water meets strict industry and government standards for reuse, and an additional optional purification plant can ensure that the water is of a drinking standard.


“The system itself has very little effect on the environment because the entire process is contained within the recycling tanks and the only by-product of the system is usable water. This means that the system has no unpleasant smells and does not attract flies or other nuisances normally associated with sewage treatment,” explains Wright.


While septic tanks do offer an alternative to traditional sewage systems, they still require a significant amount of maintenance, which is both unpleasant and costly.


The Biozone Nokak Sewage Treatment Plant is ideally suited to rural use, mines, agricultural land, game lodges, golf estates and housing developments where traditional sewage collection and treatment is either non-existent or expensive to install.


In addition, these sites are very heavy water users and can utilise millions of litres of municipal drinking water on what are considered business-critical applications, like keeping lawns and crops irrigated, or cleaning equipment.


Grey water treatment methods are well known in SA but Wright asks the question as to “why not treat all of the water and sewage out of the home and utilise this rather than the washing and bathing water alone?”


A single plant can treat up to 300 cubic metres of sewage daily and can comfortably handle a medium-sized hotel, a cluster of small houses or a large game farm. Depending on its size and capacity, a plant can cost between R50,000 and R1.8 million.


Water: The next potential crisis


A combination of polluted water sources and poor management of sewage works and treatment plants within South Africa has led to a situation where the country is amongst the most water stressed nations in the world.


“It is estimated that a mere 3% of South Africa’s water treatment systems operate to an acceptable standard, placing water firmly in line to be the next major utility crisis after electricity,” says Wright.


“And while acid mine water is rightly getting the majority of the headlines in national newspapers as a major crisis waiting to happen, the threat of sewage water entering the drinking water systems has been largely ignored to-date and presents as much of a danger.”


This, he says, is where systems such as the Biozone Nokak Sewage Treatment Plant can help solve one part of a larger problem.


“The beauty of the system,” explains Wright, “is that with no toxic by-products, water can be recycled to acceptable standards, cutting costs and reducing the overall demand on South Africa’s already-stressed water utilities.”


Ozone Services Industries is seeing a significant increase in demand by the likes of the hospitality, construction, and mining industries to find alternative sewage treatment methods, where water treatment is considered business critical or where water comes at steep a premium.


“We’ve already rolled out plants in South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique and are currently in negotiations with various mines, hotel groups and government departments for large-scale rollouts across sub-Saharan Africa in the near future,” he adds.


For more information on Ozone Services Industries and the Biozone Nokak Sewage Treatment Plant, please visit

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