Eastern Cape Primary School Receives New Recycling Toilet System

NEWgenerator at Khanyasani Primary School in Eastern Cape

WEC Projects, a local EPC water and wastewater treatment solutions provider, has completed the installation of a NEWgenerator at Khanyisani Primary School in Lubunde, near Bizana in the Eastern Cape. This project marks the first commercial installation of the NEWgenerator system in South Africa after extensive pilot testing at various sites around South Africa.

Addressing Sanitation Challenges in Underserved Areas

“The deployment of the NEWgenerator system, which connects the school’s toilet block to a water and waste treatment and recycling system, represents an important step forward for delivering proper sanitation to remote and underserved areas in the country. The region suffers from a serious water shortage due to its remote location and, as a result, a solution was required that drastically reduced water consumption,” says Ntwanano Mandlazi, Project Manager at WEC Projects.

The Innovative NEWgenerator™ System: Compact, Off-Grid, and Modular

NEWgenerator™ Off-grid sanitation device installed in Eastern Cape Primary School

Below are some more details about the NEWgenerator system:

  • Developed by the University of South Florida (USF) in the USA.
  • Built under license in South Africa by WEC Projects.
  • Compact, off-grid, and housed inside a refurbished shipping container.
  • Incorporates an anaerobic bioreactor, ultrafiltration, sequential nutrient capture tanks, and chlorine disinfection.
  • Enables the recycling of up to 98-99% of water for reuse in the system.
  • Produces biogas that can be utilised for cooking and heating applications.

This project was funded through the Water Research Commission’s (WRC) SASTEP programme, a national system of innovation (NSI) platform that fast-tracks the adoption of innovative and emerging sanitation technologies in South Africa through fostering local manufacturing and commercialisation.

Customisation for Enhanced Efficiency Using Urinal Waste Integration

Mandlazi continues, “We customised the system to include the waste from four unisex urinals which will be redirected back to the plant to supplement the liquid content of the wastewater for treatment and recycling. The treated water, which is not suitable for human consumption, is fed back to flush the toilets, resulting in a significant reduction in water consumption by the school, which relies mainly on rainwater for drinking water.”

Monitoring and Quality Assurance

The system is monitored and controlled both locally and remotely via an interface connected to a PLC. A school staff member has been trained to maintain and operate the system with the support of WEC. Samples of the recycled water are taken monthly for analysis by an accredited laboratory to ensure that the treated water meets DWS general discharge standards. WEC will continue to operate the system with the WRC until April 2024.

Long-Term Operation and Partnership with WRC

Adds Mandlazi, “NEWgenerator is an effective solution for replacing dangerous pit and chemical toilets, particularly in areas where water is scarce, making it ideal for deployment across Africa in a broad range of applications including the domestic and commercial sectors.”

NEWgenerator at Khanyasani Primary School in Eastern Cape
The installation of a NEWgeneratorat Khanyisani Primary School in Lubunde, near Bizana in the Eastern Cape.

The installation of the NEWgenerator system at Khanyisani Primary School serves as a successful model for addressing sanitation challenges in water-scarce areas. With its compact and modular design, water recycling capabilities, and adaptability to different contexts, this solution holds great potential for deployment across Africa, offering improved sanitation facilities and reduced water consumption in both domestic and commercial sectors.

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