Black water treatment plants - any good examples?


Hi All

We are currently working on a mixed-use development in Cape Town where we would like to push the envelope as close to Net Zero Water as we can.

We are looking for good examples of operating building-scale black water treatment plants (preferrably in the Western Cape) that we can learn from. If you have been involved / know of any, please share.



Spier has a blackwater treatment plant but they are on a farm and they have space, so I’m not sure if it is applicable. They are also usually happy to show people around. Alternatively have you considered composting toilets etc that don’t use water?


Hi Francois,

I only know of the Nedbank Phase II building in Sandton which has a building-scale blackwater treatment plant. Not sure if it is still operational though…

Green Cape recently informed me of these guys,, who sells (or trying to sell) blackwater treatment packages to new developments. They are based in the WC and are, apparently, always willing to share info.

Perhaps chat to them?


Also, didn’t the Karl Bremer Health Office in Belville achieve an innovation point for an on-site blackwater treatment plant for their design rating.
No clue if it was actually implemented though.
Perhaps get in contact with Agama - they were the green building consultants on the project.


Thanks Yogesh and Alison - will take a look at those. I have also head of Maskam Water recently - will take a look. I believe the City of Cape Town made use of a Lilliput system at the Manenberg Housing Office project. We will get in touch with their design team.

I’m interested in speaking to those with systems that have been in operation for a while to understand what their experience has been with maintenance, effectiveness, etc.


Let us know what you find.
From a commissioning agent / building performance point-of-view, the operational lessons learnt are always important for me.


Back in 2015 earthworks magazine wrote about the new WWF SA head office in Braamfontein - I recall that was the first example of a blackwater treatment plant in an urban context in SA. It’s available online here - check out the sourcebook for the details of the professional team involved there, I’m sure they would be able to give some advice!


Thanks Christy. I’ll chat to the project’s Green Building Consultant @RichardDuckitt, as I believe they have implemented blackwater on a couple of their projects.


Hi Francois,

I have installed two black water systems on recent projects, and will specifiy same on all project going forward. In my view its an absolute must have, especially in the western cape.

The Lilliput system was installed at the WWF offices in Braamfontein, and has had varying success. Plant failure occured when the client failed to do any routine maintenance for over 6 months. These systems are only as good as the team looking after them, and even though there are maintenance contracts and/or service level agreements signed with the suppliers, id the FM team dont know how to look after the sytem or identfy possible problems early, then the system will not function correctly.

Current commissioning a HWT system at the Department of Water & Sanitation’s offices in Voortrekker Rd.
Happy to show everyone around next year 1st quarter. Its a 48kL system and will be treating all efluent to supply the artificail wetland and formal irrigation system.


Great thanks Richard. Will definitely take you up on the offer of a ‘show around’ in the new year. The need for a strong O&M focus is a message thats coming across very clearly from all. Will be sure to allow adequately in feasibilities.


Hi Francois,

Keep us up to date with projects as we will be looking into that very soon as well for a project in Cape Town.
Nedbank Phase II never got the Black Water Treatment Plant installed as the EIA did not get approved in time. It was converted to a Rainwater system.

We had a presentation this week by Empire Utility who introduced a Biosolution system - which looked like quite a good system, especially space wise: Zahir Wadvalla - Ill email you some details.

Otherwise, I would recommend to check out the legislation around on-site treatment systems for each municipality, as we had a lot of resistence in JHB with the Nedbank Project. But hopefully there is sufficient precedent now to make the process easier.


HI Francois,
Not sure if you are still looking, but we will be commissioning our Black to Potable Water system pretty soon here at Mutualpark. It is capable of generating 650kL of clean water per day (in 16hrs), and can be ramped up to about 850kL if needed.
the intention is not just to go Net Zero, but looking at the possibility of Net Positive if everything works out as planned. We are are hoping to be operational by end June.



Brilliant, thanks Khiyam. I am definitely keen to come check it out. Will make contact in June to set something up.


Open Source Green News recently ran an article on Old Mutual’s incredible 650kl/day Blackwater Treatment Plant and their journey to ‘Net Zero Water’. Full article here


Green Building at Karl Bremner definitely has one that is fully operational and deals with all black water on site. Speak to Ann-Mari Lombard.
Also seem to recall that The Sustainability Institute at Lynedoch Campus have a few different systems up and running.