Bahr El Baqar wastewater treatment project Insight into the World’s Largest Water Treatment Plant
The Bahr El Baqar wastewater treatment project has three Guinness World Records to its name – the largest water treatment plant in the world, the largest sludge treatment plant and the largest single-operator ozone generating plant. Situated in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, the project is changing the dynamics of the country which is suffering from a water-crisis.
Egypt is currently facing a water crisis due to a rise in climate temperature, increasing population, frequent droughts and the development of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the river Nile in Ethiopia by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation is expected to further worsen the situation as Egypt majorly relies on the Nile river for its water needs. Under its sustainable development strategy ‘Egypt Vision 2030’, the Egyptian Government has prioritized reusing wastewater for agriculture and industrial requirements. Thus, leading to the construction of numerous wastewater treatment plants in the country including the Bahr El Baqar wastewater treatment project.
The largest water treatment plant in the world
The Bahr El Baqar wastewater treatment project has won a Guinness World Record for being the largest water treatment plant in the world. Located in northwest Egypt and developed over an area of 650,000 square meters, the national project was inaugurated in the year 2021. The plant has the capacity to treat around 5.6 mn cubic meters of water daily (2 billion cubic meters annually) from the Bahr El Baqar basin which is polluted by domestic, agricultural and industrial wastewater as well as sewage.
Funded by The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the project has been developed by the joint venture firm of Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Co.) and Orascom Construction. Both the firms entered into a 739-million-dollar contract to establish the wastewater treatment project.
Core elements of the Bahr El Baqar wastewater treatment project
According to the official website of the Presidency of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the core elements of the project include: four main courses of wastewater treatment(comprising a water intake pumping building, rapid/slow mixing basins, sedimentation basins, filters with discs, ozone basins and chloride tanks), and two canals (an intake canal with a total length of 587 meters and an outlet canal with a total length of 895 square meters).
The Bahr El Baqar wastewater treatment project also includes two sludge treatment units (each unit comprising of a sludge pumping station, sedimentation basins, mechanical drying buildings and solar units for sludge drying) and sedimentation as well as services support buildings (this includes chemical injection buildings, chloride injection buildings, ozone generation buildings, supporting generators building, electric boards and transfer buildings, workshop building, chemical substances storage building, workers/employees building, a mosque and the main administration building), shares the website.
Three stages of treatment
It further explains that the treatment process undergoes three stages – Pre-treatment, water treatment and post treatment. In the pre-treatment stage, an intake building which comprises of refineries and intake pumps is utilized to eliminate small and large planktons. The intake pumps capacity designs amount to 1.4 million cubic meters daily, where every building contains 5 pumps (4 operating and 1 substitute) with each pump’s capacity amounts to 4 cubic meters per second, adds the site.
Apart from this, it mentions that in the next stage, water treatment for preliminary sedimentation is carried out by adding materials that would adjust pH levels and help in the formation of flocculants and sedimentation in the bottom of sedimentation basins. About 120 triple disc filters with a designed capacity of 1,992 cubic meters per hour per filter are being used in this project. The filtering surface amounts to 32, 800 square meters of fine polyester membrane and a filter size of 10 microns in order to achieve the highest quality and standards of purified irrigation water, states the website.
Ozone or chlorine is added to sterilize the water before it is sent to the contact tanks for purification in the final stage. Once the water treatment process is complete, the treated water is used to irrigate agricultural land alongside the Suez Canal.
Acciona is the technological partner of this project. The Spain-based company was in-charge of process engineering, the electromechanical equipment, the supervision of assembly operations and the commissioning of the plant, guaranteeing the specified quality and treatment parameters and selecting and supervising the teams and processes in the plant, mentions the firm’s website on the Bahr El Baqar wastewater treatment project.
Bahr El Baqar: A landmark project
We tried to inquire about the technical aspects of this project in more detail by contacting Orascom Construction and Acciona multiple times, however, they did not get back to us. So, based on the information available, we can confidently state that the Bahr El Baqar project is a landmark project for the country which is helping farmers to irrigate their lands without any difficulties. All in all, a huge success for the Middle East and North Africa region.