Water Recovery for Process from Municipal Effluent

Case Study

The Atacama Desert

Location:  Chile
Capacity:  72 m³/hr

  • The Need

    The Atacama Desert region of Chile is perhaps the driest region in the world but also one of the worlds richest in metal ore deposits. Companies operating in this region face huge logistical problems in obtaining water of a standard suitable for ore processing. Kirton Engineering were approached to provide a solution for such a system located on the outskirts of the Atacama region, some 20kM inland from a major coastal city.

  • The Solution

    An existing pipeline already supplied up to 400m³/hr of treated municipal effluent to the area for general grey water use. Kirton proposed the use of membrane technologies to further treat this to the standard required for metal processing for a mining company operating in this region and in 2012 were awarded a contract to design, install and commission a system providing 72m³/hr of high quality water.

  • The Benefits

    Kirton determined the optimum process solution consisted of submerged membrane MBR followed by Reverse Osmosis to provide the contracted permeate quality of less than 50µS/cm at an overall system recovery ratio of 75%.

    The system features full SCADA control with remote access and is predominately housed in purpose built containers to provide low cost yet durable housing for the plant components. The system was installed and commissioned late 2012 / early 2013 and the permeate quality continues to comfortably surpass specification requirements.


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