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Aluminium producer Alcoa and Saudi Arabian mining company Ma’aden have announced the completion of an engineered wetlands wastewater management system in Saudi Arabia at Ma’aden Aluminium joint venture project site
The newly-constructed system will reduce water demand by nearly 7.5mn litres per day and save more than US$7mn annually that would otherwise be used to purchase fresh water.
The Alcoa designed and engineered technology, known as a Natural Engineered Wetland Wastewater Treatment system, will collect sanitary and industrial wastewater and clean and disinfect it without the use of chemicals.
The water will then be reused in the manufacturing process and for irrigation at the Ma’aden Aluminium complex at Ras Al Khair.
Alcoa technical experts developed the system to mimic the physical, chemical and biological processes of natural wetlands. In addition to saving water and money, the innovative design was constructed six months faster than a conventional tank-based system and eliminated an estimated 1,000 metric tonnes of steel for piping and tanks. The project is expected to be fully operational by the end of July this year.
Alcoa executive vice president and chief technology officer Ray Kilmer said, “This innovative waste management system demonstrates the value of combining local knowledge and expertise with the technological depth and sustainability leadership that Alcoa brings to the Ma’aden-Alcoa joint venture.”