Ford Commissions New Water Treatment Plant

  • FMCSA invests R21 million in a new Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • A host of state-of-the-art technology will be used to ensure minimal impact on the environment
  • The use of recycled water to increase to 15% initially and increase to 40% in line with planned upgrades
  • Silverton Assembly Plant boasts a nature reserve

Ford Water Plant

PRETORIA, South Africa, 3 September 2012  – Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) is investing R21 million in a new Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to facilitate the manufacturing of the all-new Ranger at FMCSA’s Silverton Assembly Plant.

Leading local water and wastewater expert, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies South Africa (VWS South Africa), a subsidiary of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies was contracted to design, supply and install the new WWTP.

Ford Water Plant South Africa

The WWTP will also see the first locally installed ContiFilt, a technology of continuously regenerated sand filtration, by opposition to the classic sand filtration with periodic backwash sequence and related downtime.

“The introduction of the all-new Ranger has been a transformational task for Ford Motor Company ofSouthern Africa. We’ve had to look at every aspect of the manufacturing process in order to ensure we’ve implemented world-class processes at every step,” explains Peter Lawson, Vice President of Operations Ford Motor Company ofSouthern Africa.

The existing decade-old WWTP that previously pre-treated water before it ended up at the Tshwane Sewage Works is no longer able to handle the new capacity and municipal requirements.

With water recycling and reuse a key focus for FMCSA, an EIA (environmental impact assessment) was conducted that recommended further treatment of the effluent to comply with municipal bylaws.

 “We looked into the possibility of upgrading the existing water plant, however it was decided that it would be more cost-effective to rather decommission the old plant and construct a new plant, boasting the latest technology,” continues Lawson.

The process will see used process water routed to the old WWTP via underground effluent pipe network. A new tie in will be made on the effluent network to the new WWTP as the new plant is adjacent to the old plant. There is also an existing water purification plant adjacent to both the old and the new plant, where treated water is further purified in order to be used within Ford manufacturing processes.

Due to the input quality from the old WWTP plant, only 7% could be successfully purified and re-used in selected processes. With the higher quality water expected from the new WWTP, previously sensitive operations can now be considered for recycled water and an immediate increase is expected without upgrades to the purification plant. This means more than doubling the amount of recyclable water to up to 15%.

While this system allows for the purification of water for industrial and process usage only, future projects such as those that have been implemented at other Ford facilities around the globe, could allow for the use of recycled water for day-to-day human usage. This would see the use of recycled water increase by as much as 40%. However due to the complexities of ensuring all health and safety aspects are taken into account this would only be considered at a later date.

“The introduction of the all-new Ranger has been an exciting and challenging task for us. While it is imperative for us to build a world-class product we also have a responsibility to the environment and the community that lives in that environment to ensure we do so without impacting on our surroundings,” concludes Lawson.