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Tag Archives: reverse osmosis

Wastewater Treatment Plant and Reverse Osmosis System: Westgold Resources

A wastewater treatment plant and brackish water reverse osmosis system for Westgold Resource’s 200-man remote camp in Western Australia.

 

Client: Westgold Resources

Industry: Mining

Systems: EcoFarmer Wastewater Treatment Plant and Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis System

 

BACKGROUND

Westgold Resources, a top 10 Australian gold producer, recently began operations on their fourth Western Australian project – Cue Gold Operations. In order to manage the wastewater of their 200-man remote accommodation village at the Big Bell Underground Mine, Westgold approached RWTS to design and manufacture a wastewater treatment system. This same site also required a water treatment system to transform he local raw (bore) water into high quality drinking water as deemed by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

 

THE RWTS SOLUTION

EcoFarmer 250 Wastewater Treatment System

Westgold EcoFarmer 250

This project was an ideal candidate for the EcoFarmer 250 Wastewater Treatment Plant which utilises a Sequential Batch Reaction (SBR) process. Although this is a standard process throughout the water treatment industry, RWTS emphasised the functionality of the plant from the initial design stages. Through the seamless collaboration between our in-house engineering and electrical divisions, smart automation was integrated for enhanced productivity with less operator intervention.

How does the automation work?

The plant continually revises code as it observes the plant’s flow. When limited flow is achieved throughout the day, a standby code automatically seizes control of the plant and in peak periods the extended code will drive the plant.

In addition, Westgold Resources will reap the benefits of the EcoFarmer, that come as standard in this turnkey range, including:

 

  • Robust steel construction to withstand harsh, remote environmental conditions
  • Seamless transportability, attributed to the ISO shipping container design
  • Premium Allen Bradley HMI (interface) and PLC control system
  • Biological treatment process pre-approved by state regulatory bodies

 

Guaranteed & Certified Design

The design was accepted with process and structural certification by REPQ.

All stringent Western Australian department of health requirements where achieved, including a 20-year design life on the plant.

The structural steel shell was manufactured sandblasted, primed and painted with an International shipping coating internally. As part of our manufacturing process, spark testing was completed across the vessel to proactively identifying any potential issues with weld and coating. This ensured the integrity of the internal and external coating surface.

Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis System

Westgold Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment System

RWTS designed and manufactured a reverse osmosis potable water treatment system to meet the potable water requirements of the Westgold Big Bell remote workers’ village.

 

Built to Last

As the industry specialist in packaged water treatment systems, we decided to containerise the RO system. This allowed for ease of transportation and protection of the system from harsh rural environmental conditions.

For optimal insulation, the internal plant room was lined with 75 mm foam-filled panelling on the walls and ceiling, and air-conditioning system was integrated to ensure ideal operating temperature through the hotter and cooler months.

 

User-Centred Design and Automation for Streamlined Operation

The treated water recirculation monitoring and dosing control platform was our internal proprietary offering. This specialist feature is able to measure chlorine pH and conductivity, utilising the new range of Burkert flow fit cubes with gateway Ethernet, and display these levels in real-time on the PLC HMI plant platform.

Our internal programming and instrumentation division designed and custom-built the HMI to be single interface of all plant monitoring, streamlining plant observation and operation. This thoughtful feature allows Westgold to reduce operating costs and rapidly identify and respond to any potential issues.

As with all RWTS chemical injection systems, this Westgold system was fitted with Burkert Viton solenoids and Mazzi Venturi systems. Again, these offer fully programmable control through the HMI system, enabling the operator to take control at any time. A

The RWTS Brackish water reverse osmosis design also features flux targeting through flow metering with secondary pressure monitoring. This allows the RO system to maintain flux across the filter elements in permeate and concentrate streams through modulating v-notch ball valves. This is common on large scale membrane projects, however, in the price-driven remote camp market, it is often overlooked, and flows are set with manual tuning valves. This unfortunately is detrimental to the life of the membrane, resulting in more frequent membrane replacements and increasing the long-term operating costs of the plant.

 

Smart Technology for Flexible Monitoring & Control

RWTS uses the latest Allen Bradley HMI and PLC platform for full control of all our plants. These systems have a wireless router allowing for full remote dial-in access through site wifi. This is a must in the ever-changing water and wastewater servicing industry. It allows the plant performance and parameters to be viewed anywhere, anytime. Imagine the ease of troubleshooting over the phone with your site-based operator as you monitor the plant’s performance in real-time. That’s the RWTS difference.

Wastewater Storage vs. Onsite Wastewater Treatment For Mining

Are you curious as to whether it’s worth investing in onsite wastewater treatment for your project or simply storing wastewater before pumping offsite? We’ve been asked this question time and time again, so we’ve weighed up the pros and cons of each management method to help you decide.

Water management plays an integral role in the seamless day-to-day operations of any remote site, particularly an accommodation camp within the mining sector.

Water is an essential resource when it comes to:

 

  • cooking,
  • cleaning,
  • operating amenities such as showers, taps and toilets,
  • vehicle wash bays,
  • and most importantly, providing safe drinking water.

It’s no mystery then, that wastewater is an inevitable by-product of the extensive water usage on remote sites. In the early stages of planning any accommodation village, the pressing question of how this wastewater will be dealt with arises.

There are two primary options on the table:

1. Integrating an onsite sewage treatment plant

2. Storing wastewater for offsite treatment

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing which option is best suited to your site, but we’ve discussed a few key factors to consider. The table below very generally captures the best option based on these factors.

 

Water Storage vs. Water Treatment Matrix

1. TIME

How long is your site realistically going to be in operation?

Short-term

A short-term site with a lifespan of just 1-8 months will likely see greater benefit in water storage.

Why?

 

  • Reduced capital investment – Any water treatment plant will likely not in operation for long enough to offset the greater investment of such a system.
  • Rapid deployment – Water storage options such as tanks or the WaterBox, offer the advantage of rapid deployment. These are pre-packaged products that can be transported to site on short notice.
  • Environmental approval takes time – A tailored wastewater treatment system requires environmental approval from the state’s environmental regulatory body in order to discharge effluent onsite. This is often a time-intensive process and, depending on the terrain of your site, may not be feasible for your site or project timeline.

Long-term

If your site will be in operation for longer than 8-12 months, looking to an onsite wastewater treatment plant will likely be worth your while.

Why?

 

  • Pump-out fees will be too expensive – Although a more costly investment upfront, by integrating a wastewater treatment system you will be forgoing the costly pump-out fees of transporting your wastewater to an approved discharge location. This may be justified on a short-term project, but over time this will chew through the budget significantly.
  • Treated wastewater can be reused – Depending on your site, the treated wastewater can be used for local irrigation, reducing the demand on potable water.

 

2. Environmental Regulation

Environmental bodies have rigid regulations when it comes to discharging treated wastewater to the land. This can make the process of having a wastewater treatment plant approved a difficult endeavour, and even impossible when the terrain is not permissive of irrigation (e.g. close proximity to a bore, watercourse, wetland or spring).

Should your plans not comply with regulation, wastewater storage may be your only option.

REFERENCE / FURTHER INFORMATION:

 

3. MOBILITY

Mobile

Is your camp likely to be relocating on a regular basis? If so, a wastewater storage solution will be the better option. The WaterBox has been optimised for such circumstances and can be relocated with a 12-tonne forklift or crane. It’s shipping container design also lends it to easy compatibility with any truck/train transport.

Fixed

Wastewater treatment systems tend to be far more difficult to relocate, and commission and decommission. Taking all other factors into consideration, these are far better suited to camps that will be in a fixed location for a prolonged period.

If you are looking for a turnkey wastewater treatment system that can move with your camp, discover the EcoFarmer.

 

4. CAMP SIZE

Similar to the factor of time, the size of your remote camp will impact the volume of wastewater produced.

Small

For a small camp consisting of up to 100 people, less wastewater will generally be produced and therefore, wastewater storage may be more feasible.

Large

For a larger camp accommodating over 100 people, the volume of wastewater produced would likely be in excess of what mere storage could handle. This increased load would lend itself to a wastewater treatment solution being integrated.

 

5. COST

At this point, you’ll understand that many factors will impact the cost of a wastewater management system, but generally:

 

  • for a short-term or mobile project, wastewater storage will be more cost-effective.
  • for a long-term, fixed project, onsite wastewater treatment will be more cost-effective.

Below we’ve outlined the primary costs (other than the cost of the system itself) associated with each option:

Wastewater Storage

 

  • Wastewater pump out – Only licensed liquid waste transport operators can legally transfer wastewater to an external facility. Due to the environmental, public health and workplace safety risks of transporting such high volumes of sewage, the cost of liquid waste removal services can be extremely high.

Wastewater Treatment System 

 

  • System maintenance – A wastewater treatment plant will require regular maintenance to ensure the ongoing efficiency of the system. Neglected plants with built up residue will eventually break down and require expensive repairs or replacement. We recommend a cleaning-in-place (CIP) system to ensure the long-term health of your plant.
  • Chemicals and consumables – In order to treat the wastewater, chemical dosing is generally required. Therefore, there is an ongoing cost of ensuring there is sufficient inventory to keep the system in operation.

 

We’re here to support you

The experienced team at RWTS is always available to guide and support you in developing the best wastewater management system for your project. For a truly tailored approach, get in touch with us today. We’ll handle the complexities of system design, leaving you with a streamlined, user-centred solution.

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