One of the Australia’s major mining enterprises is benefitting environmentally and in terms of water recycling and conservation from new plug-and-play wastewater treatment systems installed by CST Wastewater Solutions. The two modular Smith and Loveless FAST (Fixed Activated Sludge Treatment) systems were delivered to the world class outback mining operation to produce an effluent water quality class of A.
The A grading performance means the water can be recycled for processes around the site, in accord with the company’s ethos of improving quality of life and effectively managing impacts.
The successful installation at this mine follows previous successful installations globally at remote locations such as mining and energy installations and commercial and recreational facilities operating in areas where water is a precious shared resource and where there may be water quality issues.
“The challenge for this project was the remote location,” says CST Wastewater Solutions managing director Mike Bambridge. “The FAST system is the perfect solution for projects like this, because it can be built into standard shipping containers.”
“The plant arrives on site essentially as a complete system requiring only a concrete pad and some relatively minor mechanical and electrical works. Class A effluent is achieved by the addition of a filter and UV sterilisation after the FAST system.”
One of the FAST systems installed is used for the plant workshop, which has a maximum daily flow of 110m3. The second system is installed at the village, for the camp and accommodation block, which has a maximum daily flow of 345m3.
Not only does the system achieve higher loading rates within a smaller footprint, but effluent produced can be recycled into suitable industrial, public facility and commercial processes.
“The FAST system allows this major entity to reuse the effluent water for dust suppression and lubrication water, which helps with their environmental footprint,” says Mr Bambridge.
“The modular format of the FAST System also allows an easy bolt on for any expansion in workforce. For any future major increase of staff numbers, it is a simple matter of adding another FAST 20-foot module. Each system is designed to handle an increase of approximately 200 workers. This could be incorporated in the design,” he says.
“The FAST System has been proven over a long period of time as being a very robust and simple system to operate. It is very reliable because its stable process withstands hydraulic shocks and the bacteria are not washed out into the environment. It is simple to operate and requires no daily operator maintenance, which results in low annual maintenance costs.
“Ease of operation and optimum reliability is very important in remote areas where service contractors and skilled operators can be expensive and in short supply.”
FAST systems have had other strong successes in the mining and resources industries over the years. One example is when CST Wastewater Solutions supplied and installed a FAST unit for Newcrest’s Cadia Valley Operations (CVO) in NSW to purify human and other waste water and enable it to be recycled on-site.
The treatment system, is part of CVO’s ongoing program to maximise community benefits flowing from a project that will include Australia’s largest underground mine and the world’s fourth largest gold mine.
FAST achieves nutrient removal for applications containing high level of nitrogen, a water pollutant that has increased significantly in industrial, commercial and municipal applications and which is an environmental concern particularly to resources, engineering, construction, hospitality, marine, agribusiness and public facility and water and waste water infrastructure organisations.
Proven in thousands of installations worldwide, FAST consists of tankage packed with completely submerged media. The FAST media creates a high surface area-to-volume ratio, which, combined with internal settling zones, maintains constant bacterial growth during low-flow and peak usage periods typical of many remote installations. This results in stable operation on a daily basis.
“Simple operation and maintenance means no daily operator requirements and very little annual plant maintenance,” says Mr Bambridge.