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Fishing company and producer of branded fish products Lucky Star, on Wednesday officially launched two desalination plants at its cannery and fishmeal operations on the West Coast, designed, installed and commissioned by JSE-listed AECI’s Water and Process subsidiary, ImproChem.

To date, the desalination plants at Lucky Star’s fishmeal operations at St Helena Bay and Laaiplek, have produced more than 50-million litres of water since their start-up at the end of April, 2018.

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St Helena Bay

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Johannesburg-headquartered ImproChem continues to add value, one drop at a time, especially in the Western Cape, which has been battling drought since 2016.

The launch of the Lucky Star desalination plants follows ImproChem’s successful completion of a water-treatment plant, capable of delivering 1.15-million litres of potable water a day, at Sea Harvest’s internationally accredited Saldanha fresh fish processing factories. The plant was launched in March this year.

“A desalination plant, if designed correctly, is sustainable and cost effective. The Potsdam waste water plant, which produces and supplies process quality water and is another of ImproChem’s clients in the Western Cape, is a prime example of this sustainability,” says ImproChem engineered solutions executive director Sepadi Mohlabeng.

The commissioning of the Lucky Star plants, which were completed in less than 60 days has relieved the canned fish producer’s water-intensive operations of their dependence on the West Coast District Municipality’s water supply.  Strict water restrictions, implemented this year, are still in place in the Western Cape and will remain in place until dam levels reach more than 85% as a collective average, says the Western Cape Department of Water and Sanitation. The combined average dam levels for the Western Cape Water Supply System were at 53.05%, as of July 9.

Lucky Star is a division of Oceana Group, the largest fishing company in Africa and its factories are world-renowned for their cannery and fish meal production, which is sold locally and abroad. The addition of the desalination plants at its factories will secure the sustainability of its fishmeal supply.

The 36 m3/h containerised desalination plant at St Helena Bay, comprising ten (RO) vessels and 70 RO membranes, can produce 864 000 l/d of water. The 26 m3/h Laaiplek desalination plant, or Amawandle Pelagic, has seven RO vessels and 49 RO membranes. The plant has the capacity to produce 624 000 l/d of water.

Both ImproChem-operated plants source sea water (feed water) from beach wells. The St Helena Bay plant’s beach well provide a feed water flow rate of 89 m3. Amawandle Pelagic’s beach well has a feed water flow rate of 56 m3. Energy recovery devices are deployed in the design to utilize the high brine solution pressure to drive the desalination skid booster pump.

ImproChem provides a full MOM (Management Operations and Maintenance offering as after sales service to both plants.  The MOM programme offered is described as the Total Water Engineered Management, Operations & Asset CARE® solutions focused on the long term, sustainable customer value based outcomes. Asset CARE® is an integrated asset management service offering from ImproChem focusing on the Capability, Availability, Reliability and Enhancement (CARE) programme that will be applied to all the plant and equipment deployed by ImproChem.

The quality of the water produced by the Lucky Star plants will conform to the South African National Standard (SANS 241-1:2015) as a minimum requirement for potable water.  Quality will be monitored continuously by the online plant instrumentation as well as ImproChem’s quality management system.