Engineering, Procurement and Construction of Compact Hitachi Sewage Treatment Plant



Saudi Airlines Real Estate Development (SARED) has built a city for 9000 of the national carrier’s employees in Jeddah. The city maintains a lush green oasis by recycling and reusing water from the various accommodations, offices and shops within its borders. For twenty five years the old sewage plant had been treating and recycling the city’s waste water. Over that time the facility had become outdated and inefficient with issues of smell, mosquito infestation and poor water quality, while occupying a large physical foot print. For these reasons SARED pooled existing resources and talent with Hitachi. Together the two companies worked in co-creation to design a new onsite sewage treatment plant that remedy the problems of old and provided a better service to the community.

Using membrane bio-reactor (MBR) technology, Hitachi built a smaller plant while managing all aspects of engineering, procurement and construction. The new facility is capable of recycling 6000 m3 of water per day which is then used to irrigate the city’s trees, flowers and sports fields.

The MBR technology Hitachi possesses is a micro filtration process that removes bacteria and suspended solids. It is this technology that allowed Hitachi to address and solve the many problems of the old sewage treatment plant.

Over a year ago the new plant was delivered to the customer and put into operation. Even with this success, Hitachi continues to look for ways to improve this project through the implementation of its social innovation business. Currently the company is looking at a network to solve leakage issues or other general maintenance requirements that when unattended to cause inefficiency.

It is only through commitment and ingenuity that we will be able to create a sustainable future for all of us.

It is great to see the precious commodity of water being recycled and put to good use, helping make out desert region a little greener.

Eng. Majed Tasbahji
CEO Consultant / SARED

Challenges & Solution

Creative thinking and smarter technology solved design challenges

From the beginning SARED was very clear about what needed to be done. The old plant and settling pond covered a considerable amount of land. The pond created a breeding ground for mosquito’s and the general openness of plant equipment lead to bad smells contaminating the surrounding areas. Water quality was also a concern and the design developed with the client would have to be built while the old plant continued to run.

The collaborative design centers on Hitachi’s Membrane Bio-Reactor (MBR) units. The MBR units are enclosed which immediately reduces the sewage smell emitted. They are also compact, allowing the new plant to be built on one fifth the amount land which the old plant consumed. An added benefit of MBR technology is that it is transportable. Hitachi’s new design can be moved if city planning dictates the grounds be reconstituted for other uses.

Water quality is ensured by the new process in which sewage is treated. The new plant lifts incoming sewage through a series of grit, grease and sediment removal screens. Free of heavy solids, water is sent to an intermediate tank before being forced through a fine screen of 1 to 2 millimeters. After screening, water is aerated and oxidized to remove microorganisms. In the aeration tanks the water passes through the membrane bio-reactor (MBR), MBR is a mirco filtration process with a membrane pore size of 0.1 micron, this 0.1 micron not only removes suspended solids, but also bacteria such as coliform. Water is then dosed with disinfectant NaOCI before being pumped into one of the two holding tanks. The two enclosed holding tanks replace the settling pond which eliminates insect reproduction.

We at Hitachi were confident that we could allow the old plant to run as we built. At different stages of the process we successfully rerouted pipes that allowed the old system to continue to run.

Eng. Abdullah Badr Mohammad
Deputy General Manager
Sales and Business Development Dept.
Hitachi, Ltd.
Regional Head Quarters of Middle East & North Africa
Saudi Arabia Branch (Al Khobar)

Hitachi’s engineers and construction team were able to complete the design while never interrupting sewages services. The team had several contingencies in place, but did not have to execute any of them as they were able to schedule new assemblies with pipe movement of the old operation.

During the construction phases one unknown problem presented itself. The design called for two 3,000m3 treated water storage tanks. The land would not support the weight of these tanks when full. Handling the entire engineering, procurement and construction process, Hitachi’s team studied the problem and decided to dig 3.5 meter holes which would be back filled with rammed earth and topped with MAT foundations. The tanks where then built upon these fortified footings.

Hitachi’s team worked in co-creation with the client through all aspects of the process, solving past problems and delivering a product that can continue to grow and evolve with the city it serves.

New Dream

A collaboration that will continue to grow and change the world

The MBR technology Hitachi possesses is a micro filtration process that removes bacteria and suspended solids. It is this technology that allowed Hitachi to address and solve the many problems of the old sewage treatment plant.

Overall, Hitachi is working on solutions for water by using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with RemixWater systems for seawater desalination and sewage treatment systems. Desalination and sewage water treatment are two major avenues where Hitachi sees sustainable production of clean drinking water and water recycling for irrigation purposes.

Specific to the Saudi City Jeddah project, Hitachi is exploring the incorporation of social innovation to solve network leak issues within the irrigation system and better manage preventative maintenance.

Further into the future, Hitachi and SARED will also be studying ways to better utilize the solid waste produced by the Jeddah compound. Currently, dewatering the sludge is the safest and most effective way for the facility to handle this by-product. Dewatering creates a cake that is disposed of in local landfill. Considerations will be given to processing the cake, so that it may have viable use as fertilizer, or as a soil additive. Methane gas recovery is possible in sizeable sewage treatment plants, but today in this stage and with the technology available this is not applicable solution for SARED yet.

We can no longer manipulate the resources available to us without considering the long term impact we have, otherwise we stand to jeopardize our own future.

Eng. Wissam Omar
Plant Manager – SARED Project
Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi will continue to monitor the Saudi City project, examining all processes and initiatives to ensure the client has the best product and solution we can deliver.

We look forward to working with other companies globally in the methodology of co-creation. Hitachi believes that bringing stakeholders directly in the development process will generate swift and effective results.

*“RemixWater” is a registered trademark of Hitachi, Ltd. in Japan, Australia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other countries.

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