Coega Kop Water Treatment Works

Potable water from Coega Kop groundwater scheme, South Africa

Addressing the critical need to diversify and supplement its existing water supply, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBMM) is well on track to develop a major groundwater scheme.

The municipality appointed Zutari to provide professional engineering services for planning, design, procurement documentation, and construction administration for a project to abstract and treat water sourced from the Coega Kop wellfield, located about 30 km north-east of Port Elizabeth.

The overriding challenge was that the groundwater contains relatively high levels of dissolved iron and manganese, which needs to be removed to make the water acceptable for public consumption. Biofiltration technology is being used to provide an affordable, sustainable and reliable treatment solution. The plant’s treatment capacity of 20 Ml/d, making it the second largest municipal iron and manganese biofiltration facility of its kind in South Africa.

Zutari employed an innovative approach to deal with the challenging, highly-collaborative interaction required between all stakeholders and involved professional services. The creation of a suite of treatment process visualisations addressed the complexity of the whole project, from approvals and design through to eventual operation. 3D modelling facilitated simultaneous design collaboration between engineering and architectural disciplines, and enabled the development of a virtual reality (VR) model.

Examples of the successful use of the VR experience were:

  • As a crucial part of the client’s submission, where it facilitated securing funding from national government by enabling decision makers to ‘visit’ and understand the proposed facility
  • At the initial tender briefing for potential bidders, which was a first for the municipality
  • In line with Zutari’s human-centred approach, the water treatment process was included in the VR model and used as a training tool for plant operators while construction was still underway
  • Helped refine complex parts of the design and undertake clash detection
  • Ensured ease of use for maintenance, dismantling, access, overhead lifting, etc.
  • Improved the design in terms of constructability
Our innovative use of digital tools successfully addressed the challenge of collaborative, multidisciplinary design for complex infrastructure.

The success of this project is showing the power of immersive technology, such as VR, in not only conveying ideas, but in creating a richer context for interaction with a project.

Our innovative use of digital tools successfully addressed the challenge of collaborative, multidisciplinary design for complex infrastructure. “Zutari has created a solution that we believe will benefit the people of Nelson Mandela Bay for many years to come,” says Brendon Theunissen, Zutari Technical Director – Water Treatment.

*The Aurecon Africa business has been officially renamed Zutari as at 21 July 2020.  Zutari acquired Aurecon Middle East on 20 November 2020.

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