Brazilian Navy Research Camp, A SIMPOD Project

Remote Camp, SIMPOD, Antarctica

In the fall of 2012, Simpson Environmental Corp. was approached by Weatherhaven Inc., a domestic remote camp shelter manufacturer, to propose a potable water and wastewater treatment solution for a remote camp operation of the Brazilian Navy located on King George Island in Antarctica. The location is manned by approximately 50 scientists and environmentalists from the Navy and Brazilian government during summer months but the camp population shrinks to around 20 personnel during the depths of winter months. This proposed a real challenge in the design of a wastewater treatment solution for black and grey water produced from toilets, sinks, and showers in ablution, kitchen and laundry modules of the camp as the loading on the system would change dramatically from season to season.

The drinking water plant treated RAW water drawn from a nearby lake through a series of media filters (zeolite and activate carbon) followed by Ultra-Violet (UV) treatment and chlorination. The solution included two pumping stations in heated insulted shelters positioned at the edge of the North and South Lakes respectively. North Lake is approximately 350 metres from the camp site whereas the South Lake is about 200 metres away. South Lake water, as the primary source, is drawn via a pumping station through electrically heated lines and dispersed upstream to a drinking water treatment system plant installed in an insulated and heated SIMPOD container. The pump stations are also heated and insulated due to extreme cold climate conditions in the region. The drinking water system was sized for total water consumption of 5200 litres per day (80 litres per person per day) for up to a maximum of 65 personnel on site. The potable water is piped to four (4) separate locations in the camp (ablution, kitchen, medical ward room and laundry). The SIMPOD container is used to house a 1,250 gallon tank for storage of fresh water from the lake(s) as well as a 500 gallon tank to store process water from the ultrafiltration system used to treat black and grey water. Treated potable water is distributed to camp points of use via heat traced piped following treatment via network of UV systems, pressure bladder tanks and chlorination injection systems to ensure adequate disinfection.

The SIMPOD uses unique physical chemical processes to deliver its wastewater treatment.

The wastewater treatment plant is housed in two insulated 20 ft. SIMPOD containers. The treatment train was designed for the removal of suspended solids, bCOD, cBOD5 and bacteria as well as kitchen-based oils and greases. The volume of black and grey wastewater treated was assumed to be 80% of the source level of water or roughly 4,160 litres per day. This sewage wastewater is treated to the point that it can be re-used for toilets and service water in the camp but not for human consumption or use in laundering although treated water is “cleansed” to a level that would enable safe laundering.

The SIMPOD wastewater treatment component is not based on the biological treatment methods in common usage. The SIMPOD uses unique physical chemical processes to deliver its wastewater treatment. These methods enhance the significant advantages inherent in packaged plants. Biological treatment plants always bring with them certain negative characteristics that are overcome with the SIMPOD.

The wastewater and water re-use SIMPODs utilize a combination of dewatering, media and mechanical filtration, ultrafiltration and ultra-violet technologies ordered in a sequence to optimize suspended solids removal and then treatment of filtrate using lower flow rate requirement components. Concentrate from media and mechanical filters, the UF membrane and settled sludge from the intake tanks were collected and mixed in one 600 litre tank. This wastewater “soup” was then dewatered using a small Amcon Volute dewatering screw press to remove solids. Pressate from the screw press was then processed through the UF membrane to meet discharge standards. Product water from the UF was then exposed to UV treatment and chlorination to enable its use in the camp for toilets and service water applications. Approximately 60% of the wastewater was made available for re-use, otherwise it was rejected to the nearby ocean at an acceptable discharge level.

The dewatered cake material which measured around 30% dry solids was collected in small bins and incinerated along with other waste streams in the camp. In more temperate climate this organic material could either be landfilled or used as a soil amendment or fertilizer.

The Simpson SIMPOD solution was commissioned in the month of March, 2013 following a five week installation period on King George Island during which a temporary construction camp was erected.