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An environment-friendly solution for water problems

1 septiembre 2011

The treated wastewater from the Bionest system can be disposed through onsite infiltration or directly into the environment

Everyone knows that water is an extremely scarce resource in the Gulf countries. But it is not widely recognized that with only limited groundwater resources that are being depleted by overuse and scarce rain, the Gulf region is facing a potential water shortage.

A white paper by The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts that the next 10 years will see rising water demand as the Gulf Co-opeartion Council states’ expanding middle class adopts an increasingly water-intensive lifestyle, featuring private swimming pools, gardens requiring big sprinkler systems and a growing interest in golf.

Over the next decade, the Gulf countries will be among the world’s highest per-capita users of water. Industrial demand for water is also likely to rise faster than overall economic growth would suggest. What does this mean for Qatar? Answer: water demand is outstripping supply. Desalination is a widely used technology in the region to meet the increasing demand for fresh and clean water. However, desalination carries with it many environmental repercussions. According to a report on the eHow website, “desalination is not a perfected technology and desalinated water can be harmful to human health as well. By-products of the chemicals used in desalination can get through into the “pure” water and endanger the people who drink it. Desalinated water can also be acidic to both pipes and digestive systems”.

Another problem is that desalination plants require large amounts of power.

Amid these serious concerns, it is of utmost importance that Qatar looks into water conservation as well as new alternatives for desalinated water.

Water treatment could be a positive answer here. In areas like the Middle East where fresh water is expensive, reuse of treated water can generate a payback of the investment in a short period of time.

The treated effluent can be used for a variety of onsite uses such as irrigation, commercial laundry, washing equipment, aggregate washing, car washing, fire-fighting, etc.

Bionest Tecnologies Inc has developed a Bionest system for water treatment. The  treated wastewater from the system can be disposed through onsite infiltration or directly into the environment. Typical installations of the system are in camps, large construction sites, residential units and commercial offices.

Through its head office and plant in Canada, Bionest has installed over 15,000 of its systems around the world. The company has offices across Canada, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, France, Caribbean, Costa Rica, Dubai and the USA.

What is new about Bionest treated water is the “environment-friendly” technology used in the treatment.

The system is simple:

  • Wastewater arrives in settling tanks. Solids are separated from liquid through settling.
  • Supernatant overflows to the Bionest reactor.
  • Constant aeration of the Bionest reactor first compartment allows the billions of microorganisms fixed to the Bionest media to start eliminating wastewater pollutants.
  • Aerobic micro-organisms then break down pollutants into carbon dioxide, water and other odorless compounds.
  • As organic pollutants concentration decreases, nitrifying biomass increases. Such bacteria can convert ammonia NH4, found in urea, into nitrates (NO3).
  • Wastewater then moves to second compartment, non-aerated, where micro-organisms complete the treatment.
  • Part of the treated water is routed back into the inlet of the reactor to improve contact time and denitrification performances.
  • Up to 60% of total nitrogen can be eliminated by denitrifying bacteria which convert nitrates into nitrogen gas (N2). Such bacteria can be found in lower biofilm layers on the Bionest media where no free oxygen is available.
  • Water leaving the Bionest reactor presents a remarkable quality, allowing its safe disposal through: infiltration in the ground; direct discharge into a water course (when allowed), reuse for toilets, surface irrigation, dust suppression, etc. What is the secret of Bionest ? Its unique patented media which allows the development and high retention of huge amounts of treating bacteria.

The Bionest technology can be fitted within virtually any tank. The need for the system is to treat waste discharge from the camps and generate recycled water, thus to effectively reduce regular disposal of sewer water and to reduce external purchase of sweet water. This recycled water is used for internal, as well as external purposes, including:

  • Dust Suppression
  • Curing
  • Compaction
  • Aggregate Mixing
  • Irrigation
  • Commissioning Roof/Tank Testing

The environmental benefits of Bionest system are numerous. The system allows reduction of carbon emissions caused by desalination plants. It is a way of water preservation through recycling of waste water as well as waste management as it results in a reduction of sewage waste. Moreover, the system eliminates risk of raw sewage contamination and eliminates significant odors.

At the same time, it reduces demand of desalinated water and complies with the Ministry of Environment Policy, helping fulfill the goals of Qatar’s 2030 vision.

Bionest system in application:

  • A BIONEST wastewater treatment plant has been in operation at a Gulf Contracting Company (GCC) camp for 970 workers at Umm Salal since October, 2010
  • An additional BIONEST wastewater treatment plant in operation at a GCC camp for 630 workers.
  • The system in operation at an office block in the New Industrial Area, operating since November, 2010.
  • Gulf Contracting Company is working in collaboration with Bionest to meet Qatar Vision of 2030 objectives.