Friday, December 15, 2006
Wastewater Field Day
This morning I took my class to visit water and wastewater related infrastructure in the neighborhood. This is a special small course for adult, working technicians who strive to complete their civil engineering degrees. Their employers contribute to the tuition. Some work for the Israel Electric Corporation, others are in the process of being pensioned off by the Army (at age 45), the rest are building contractors who need the title of dipl. engineer.
The first stop was the Barkan Industrial Area Wastewater Treatment Plant, built and operated by Termac-Kal Binian. Very good impression, clean, silent, odorless, well managed. Slava, the operator in charge, is the same fat rosy-cheeked Russian of four or five years ago. In the meanwhile he had learned Hebrew and gave us quite a coherent presentation. A few days ago someone had opened a mazut (heavy fuel oil) tank and three tons flooded the plant. The black marks were still visible. They have an COD and Mineral Oil analyzer at the entrance and lots of new electronic equipment. The treated water feed the Shilo River, that flows into the Shilo Natural Reserve and then to the Coastal Aquifer.
The second stop was the main sewage pumping station of Kfar Saba, the "Brosh" station. Simple, silent, clean, well maintained. Shlomo from the Municipal Team (all of them small black Yemeni Jews) received us and was very self assured and professional. I had worked them seven years ago, they had matured and became quite impressive. The new station, "Albar", whose planning and erection was supervised by me, is yet to become operational. Typical of the Ministry of National Infrastructures, they cannot keep a timetable nor a budget.
The third stop was the Raanana Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant, an SBR system. I had a strange feeling, since I was involved in the Steering Committee that guided the planning, the bidding process and the erection of the plant, ten years ago, participating in the dilemmas and decisions. Chaim, the O@M manager, explained the concept and workings of the plant as something natural, and the tertiary treatment program. The plant is working very well, it produces water for the citrus plantations in the area. We stole some sweet red grapefruit.
The general impression is that the "heroic" era of the wastewater treatment is over and that it has settled into a normal industry. The plants we saw can be compared to their European equivalents, which is surprising to me. I am among the founder generation, but now the industry has settled down and has passed into the hands of younger people who takes its concepts as granted and natural.
Time for me to search for greener pastures.