The amount of wastewater generated by 10,000 people in the Dubai Investment Park (DIP) community in Dubai due to water consumption adds up to around 2 million litres a day. Since water is a scarce commodity in this part of the world, water-management firm Metito implemented a technology to recycle raw waste water to a level where it can be used for both irrigation purposes and makeup water for cooling towers. The amount of water which is purified by the firm from only one day of consumption in DIP would be sufficient to irrigate around 150,000m2 of dry land. The total area benefitting from the treated wastewater is around 2300 ha.
In an exclusive interview with MEP Middle East, Fady Juez, managing director at Metito, said the firm, when it started, was the first and the foremost water treatment company in the whole of the Middle East. He said: “When Metito started building water treatment plants and looking at the environment, people did not even know the meaning of water treatment back in the late 50s. I’m proud to say that we are the pillars of water recycling and desalination.”
Juez said that the DIP project was based on build–operate–transfer (BOT) model. He explained: “Dubai Investment Park [project] is very dear to Metito. It’s a story that started in the late 90s when Dubai was coming up and developing its resources. At that time, the BOT concept was not comprehended. We had to work very closely with the clients to come up with a model where we believed everybody could win. DIP won because they got their water from recycling sewage, and hence, reduced their bill by more than half. DEWA won because they reduced the pressure on water requirement. We won because we had a sustainable growing business, and most importantly, the people won. If you drive around here, it is a green community. This is all from recycled wastewaster. Not a drop of fresh water was used.”
It should be noted that the DIP site’s proximity to industrial area is crucial because the recycled wastewater is consumed by factories and people.
Juez said: “DIP is a huge industrial centre and very close to Expo 2020. The other important part of this project is that we used new technologies. Aside from the traditional extended surface aerators, there is also the root enhanced bioreactor.”
Conventional wastewater treatment consists of preliminary, primary, secondary and tertiary treatments that are based on biological, physical and chemical processes. The root enhanced bioreactor is mainly using the best-of-breed in fixed-bed biofilm activated sludge (FBAS), a type of IFAS system that uses natural (plant) and artificial (bio-fiber media) root structures to provide a habitat for diverse fixed-film bacterial cultures which metabolize the contaminants in wastewater. As part of the company’s design philosophy, the entire treatment line fits into an attractive enclosure structure which is odorless and appears as a botanical garden. In addition there is the moving bed bio reactor (MBBR) and the sequencing batch bio-reactor technologies.
Metito has also exclusively introduced the first-ever Biopipe in this region, which is the only system that can recycle wastewater without creating waste by-products.
The wastewater generated was initially being used only for irrigation and Juez said that in recent years “it is being connected to households to reuse the TSE in gardens”. He added: “We’re working now very closely to use the TSE as makeup water [for district cooling].”
The other important part was that there is a lack of foul smell at DIP’s wastewater site. Juez said: “In the treatment of sewage and wastewater, if your process is proper, you should not have any odour. The only part where usually you have bad odour is during pumping stage at the beginning of the plant or when you have trucks delivering sewage, and usually there too, we put special equipment that eliminate the smell.
“We believe in maintaining technologies and in applying the right technology to the right application.”
Fady Juez, managing director, Metito.
The firm at the moment focuses on emerging markets of Africa and Asia. Juez also added that Metito is looking at entering South America as it is the “third emerging market continent for them.” Juez said: “We’ve been pushing very hard for renewables, and increasing the nexus between water and power and wastewater and power. We feel that there’s a potential growth in this field. We expect to continue doing what we’ve done so far, by expanding more into Southeast Asia. We’ve looking in Indonesia since the early 90s. We’ve recently entered the Thai market. We have been in India for years since the early 90s. We intend to grow our Southeast Asia operations by covering more markets. At the same time, we are expecting to grow our business from North Africa to the sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, we were extremely successful to get the first of its kind BOT public-private partnership in Rwanda.”
The firm will, however, continue to maintain its leading posting in the Middle East markets, said Juez adding that Saudi has been a major focus for the firm. “We’re expanding heavily in Saudi. KSA is undergoing major infrastructure development in terms of wastewater both in EPC and (public-private partnership) PPP. We were recently awarded the first sewage treatment plant in the city of Dammam on BOT model as a PPP. We’re also building the first private sector desalination plant in King Abdullah Economic City partly powered by solar energy,” Juez said.
Metito has also held the philosophy of transferring its technology to the markets that it enters. Giving an example, Juez said: “We have about 800 engineers and personnel in Egypt, all are Egyptian. About 130 people in Indonesia, all Indonesian. We have about 90 people in India, and ther are all Indians. They design, engineer, produce, manufacture, supply, and commission. For us sustainability is important. We believe that through this transfer of technology, we will be able to support the population to have access to clean and safe water and make it more sustainable.”