Ultrafiltration Innovation: The New Direction in Municipal Sewage and Industrial Wastewater Treatment


As the world’s 30th driest country, South Africa is continually assessing how best to balance sustainable water supply with ever-growing demand and pollution. But as water scarcity becomes a more pressing issue, and with rising concerns over environmental compliance against discharge and pollution, outdated municipal infrastructure, poor watershed management with widespread contamination and deterioration of rivers and other freshwater ecosystems – municipalities are under increasing pressure. 

Municipalities must meet Quality, Quantity and Compliance 

Municipalities are paramount in servicing communities and maintaining good hygiene and disease control. However, the deteriorating state of municipal wastewater and sewage infrastructure is one of the most prominent contributing factors to environmental and human health problems. Maximum water availability is crucial, but many of our municipal water treatment plants still have roots in 19th-century water treatment and sanitation design.  

Although the familiarity with the local environment and its natural resources allows well-run municipalities to overcome fit-for-purpose, redundancy and demand obstacles, many others are not so lucky. As a result of urbanisation, infrastructure neglect, outdated equipment and conventional filtration methods: screening, straining, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, clarification, filtration, and disinfection – a high percentage fail to meet DWF standards. 

To date, 750 plants need repairs and upgrades, working out to R7.5-billion. South Africa’s municipal wastewater challenges cannot isolate from modern treatment methods – and NuWater has the solution. We can replace or augment one or more of the above mentioned dated processes with ultrafiltration – a solution used around the world by municipalities to meet and in most cases exceed quantity, quality, and compliance requirements. 



Superior to sand filters and traditional media filtration 

As with most conventional filtration methods, sand filters and media filtration require consistent raw water quality to deliver quality effluent, which is not always possible. They also don’t provide an absolute barrier. Whereas traditional media filters typically remove particles down to about 5-microns. That means if the goal is to remove suspended solids down to about 5-microns, microfiltration makes sense. If the goal is to remove dissolved organic micromolecules and colloidal matter not filtered by media filtration, ultrafiltration makes sense. 

Ultrafiltration is the core innovation of third-generation urban drinking water purification technology. It is a pressure-driven purification process using an ultrafine membrane media to remove fine-particles, suspended solids, colloidal matter, microorganisms, and low molecular weight species without modifying the salinity of the final potable water. It is an excellent pre-treatment separation technology for desalination, reverse osmosis, wastewater reclamation, and producing potable water from sources such as boreholes, rivers and oceans. 

Ultrafiltration brings hope to municipalities and communities 

Unlike traditional water treatment—because of its high and consistent product quality measured by turbidity (NTU) or silt density index (SDI), tolerance to feed water quality upsets, little to no use of pre-treatment chemicals (polymer, coagulant, pH change) and associated costs for sludge disposal, and its small footprint—UF brings hope in bringing innovative drinking water solutions to communities. The minimal reliance on civil infrastructure also allows for project roll-out times which are significantly faster than the alternative. 

Ever wondered how a NuWater Ultrafiltration plant functions?


NuWater provides rental solutions to bridge the gap 

Besides outdated equipment and water treatment methods and lack of skills, finances are real challenges facing municipal water treatment plants today – but NuWater once again has the solution. We understand the economy, and our single or integrated ready-to-run water treatment rentals and maintenance plans bridge the gap. We design, build, install, operate and finance with zerounforeseen costs. That allows municipalities to reduce operational costs and downtime and protect assets, allowing each district to run a more efficient and financially stable business. 

Solar Power is nothing new for NuWater 

Besides our short and long rentals, we expand our robust technology with the addition of solar power units. As a premium provider of water technologies for a broad range of markets and industries, we have long known that the relationship connecting water and energy is inseparable. Energy consumption represents a large percentage of total operating cost, and ultrafiltration water treatment systems offer the highest possible water recoveries at low energy requirements, therefore making renewable a perfect match. Solar is cost-effective, and pairing it with water treatment systems not only reduces energy costs. It also offers consistency and self-reliance in these uncertain times. 


At NuWater, we believe that being a South African company with an in-depth understanding of the local market, combined with our proven world-leading technology and years of expertise, allows us to play a valuable role in addressing South Africa’s municipal water security challenges. To learn more about our smart solar-powered water treatment solutions and rentals – chat with us today. 

Next step? Contact NuWater.

021 788 3125