JG Afrika and Project Assignments were appointed by the City of Cape Town to build a new portable-flush toilet cleaning facility at the Borcherds Quarry Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) site with the aim to provide a clean, hygienic, automated and dignified disposal, cleaning and handling process. There are currently more than 20 000 portable flush toilets being used in Cape Town by members of impoverished areas where waterborne sewer systems are not possible to install. Each of these toilets, which needs to be emptied and cleaned every second day, are brought to a facility at Borcherds Quarry WWTW. The old facility not only had capacity constraints, but the client was concerned that the existing facility no longer provided a hygienic environment for personnel as each unit had to be emptied and cleaned by hand.
The new larger building is now located adjacent to the existing facility and houses South Africa’s first automatic portable-flush toilet cleaning plant. This state-of-the-art facility is now able to receive the units which are full of sewage and, through an automatic process, empty, clean, dry and disinfect each toilet with no human contact besides unloading from the trucks. The dry and disinfected toilets are then conveyed via another conveyor to a dispatch area where they are collected for delivery back to the various informal settlements.
Moreover, the facility can now efficiently, safety and hygienically receive septic tankers at three dedicated discharge points. Notably, the discharge points are specially-designed to eliminate the extensive spillages that were experienced in the past.
It also features a specially designed screening area to eliminate blockages that were caused by septic tankers inadvertently discharging large contents such as bricks. Another unique feature is the use of water conveyors to transport the screenings and faecal waste.
Another highlight of this new state-of-the-art operation is the use of treated effluent from the WWTW to clean the pota-potas, as opposed to potable water as was done before. While drinking water is still used with detergents to disinfect the toilets, the design has brought some relief to a recently drought-stricken area.
The building also houses new offices, toilets and a viewing deck with a control room in order to monitor and control the facility by a new SCADA system from above.