Advanced Enviro-Septic development manager Randall Crisp explains how his company’s solutions can save time and money, with the additional benefit of being environmentally friendly.
Reliable and efficient infrastructure at a remote mining operation is vital to the day-to-day activities of the site.
There can be a number of issues when it comes to maintaining mine site infrastructure, from the difficulty in getting service people to the operation due to the tyranny of distance or the shutdown times when a key component of the operation fails or breaks.
In many cases, simple and straight-forward solutions are the best.
Advanced Enviro-Septic (AES) solutions use advanced passive technology to provide the most economical way to treat wastewater while being environmentally friendly.
The wastewater is treated to secondary or advanced secondary standard without the use of chemicals.
Mining and resources projects are often located in remote and isolated locations where water supply can be augmented by the ability to make use of water multiple times.
The Advanced Enviro-Septic, when utilised as the passive aeration and bacterial treatment stage in a sewerage system without the need for electricity, can save considerable capital costs with little to no maintenance or running costs.
AES director and business development manager Randall Crisp says one of the issues mining companies can have in their remote camps is that they rely on electricity generated by diesel generators.
“Wastewater treatment systems that they use now are old technology non-passive systems, therefore they are dependent on consistent clean power supply,” Crisp tells Safe to Work.
“When they have issues with their electricity generation or loss of phases in their power, then that causes failings in their treatment plant.
“That can then lead to health risks because you have effluent that is not being treated, you can have overflows, you might have to fly service people out from hundreds of kilometres away.
“Whereas the advanced passive system does not require any electricity, the only source of energy you require is if you need to pump sewerage from the camp to where you are actually doing the treatment of your wastewater or if you wanted to reuse the treated effluent.”
AES systems require no maintenance, having no mechanical devices that can break and no need to clean.
No chemical readings are needed, and there are no pumps and filters that need to be checked.
“The AES system is completely scalable” Crisp says. “We have done systems from as low as 50 litres/day to over 400,000 litres/day. It can be designed and installed in modules so that if the plant requirements increase, a new module can be added. The beauty of the system is that it is extremely flexible in how it can be designed. In fact, every one of our systems is unique as it is designed to suit the site and soil properties.”
As the effluent enters the Advanced Enviro-Septic pipe, it is cooled down to ground temperature. The patented pipe design allows maximum surface area for the growth of bacteria that treat the wastewater in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
The lighter solid particles float up to the surface as scum and the heavier ones sink to the bottom of the pipe to form sludge. These solids are held inside the pipe to prevent the clogging of the reception surface of the soil.
The treatment continues as the effluent seeps through the filtering sand surrounding the AES pipe. The treated wastewater can be collected, treated and reused, however, this will require pumps and mechanical activity and the system will not be totally passive.
When the water finally reaches the soil, it is almost completely free of contaminants. It then infiltrates the soil much more easily as it is dissipated evenly into the environment.
Crisp says the AES solutions can easily be implemented at mine sites and can also adapt to changes in the number of workers at the operation.
“When we design a system we design it for the maximum potential load,” he says.
“If the numbers at the camp reduce from 200 down to 20, the AES system won’t fail because it is not reliant on having a consistent flow of sewage into a chemical treatment plant in order to keep working properly. The large septic tank at the start of the process assists in this buffering.”
The AES system has now become the world’s most practical, economical and effective wastewater treatment system providing a clean, green sustainable alternative.
There are well over 450,000 systems in operation and is approved and operating in over 23 countries around the world.
Crisp says the company has received positive feedback from customers in mining and other industries around the world.
“We have got well over 5000 domestic systems in around Australia, as well as a growing recognition and demand from national parks,” he says.
“National parks are the best example because they need to handle sudden bursts of peak demands in holidays when they could go from getting 40 visitors per day up to 440 people per day.
“The product has been available for more than 10 years in Australia and 26 years in the USA.
“The AES is a practical, zero maintenance wastewater treatment system that is completely passive and can handle large variations in wastewater discharge. It uses no harsh chemicals and has a minimal carbon footprint.”
This article appeared in the November issue of Safe to Work.