By Marleny Arnoldi, Engineering News

Owing to an ageing water infrastructure as well as the increasing drought crisis that has affected various regions in the country, Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP) notes that its short courses on water quality management and effluent treatment, challenge attendees to come up with innovations and designs that will assist in recycling wastewater.

Having held its most recent course last month, Enterprises UP is scheduled to host its next course from October 16 to 20.

University of Pretoria’s Department of Chemical Engineering Professor, Evans Chirwa, says this course represents applications in all industries that have to manage water or water treatment processes, such as in mining or energy production.

“The course challenges attendees to evaluate the existing systems of water treatment and optimise wastewater treatment plants. The attendees do theoretical assessments, exams and practical assessments. We maintain an academic standard on the course. Practical aspects account for 30% of the course content, and the theoretical aspects accounts for 70%,” he says.

The first two days of the five-day course addresses the laws that apply in water management and water quality assessments, such as the National Water Act. The attendees participate in water analysis assignments and learn about water suitability for drinking or irrigation.

The following two days, subjects such as technologies for treating water and wastewater are covered and attendees spend time in a laboratory to conduct experiments. “The attendees also participate in tutorials where they form groups and discuss open-ended design elements to optimise case study plants.”

The last day covers issues pertaining to water use and water stresses. This includes challenges that the country is facing regarding water availability and how to respond to drought, as well as the impact of the water energy nexus on energy production,” Chirwa points out.

He notes that the information covered throughout the course is beneficial on an individual level because graduates can also upskill and gain practical experience before entering the workplace.

The course is also beneficial to industries or companies that send representatives, since they can apply the knowledge to optimise plants that require extensive water use, wastewater treatment or sewage recycling.

Chirwa points out that the course is regularly attended by representatives from government departments, such as the departments of Water and Sanitation, Public Works, Agriculture and State-owned power utility Eskom.

After completion of the course, attendees receive a certificate of attendance and five continuing professional developments (CPD) points, which are mandatory for any registered engineer in the country to show continued efforts to improve on skills and knowledge.

The course was conceptualised in 2004 and since 2005, Enterprises UP has been presenting the course twice yearly to a maximum of 40 attendees. The first session takes place in March/April and the second session in October each year.

“Our evaluation score for the course has grown from an average of 3.8 to 4.5 over the last few years, so feedback has been positive. I believe people have a high regard for the course content,” says Chirwa.

The course content is updated using not only local information but also international water research two months before each course. “We go through comments from previous attendees and also update content from the University’s honours degree programme in water management,” he adds.

For more information on sharpening your water quality management skills via one of our wide range of courses or for advisory services on starting your business, drop us a mail or contact us on +27 (0)12 434 2500