British wastewater firm enters SA

29 October 2009

British wastewater treatment company Bluewater Bio has entered the South African market through the signing of an exclusive representation agreement with local firm Headstream Water Holdings.

The market opportunity in South Africa is significant, with over 1 600 wastewater treatment plants registered with the Department of Environment and Water Affairs, Bluewater Bio said a statement this week.

South African base

Official estimates suggest that approximately 60% of the plants, predominantly those in rural areas, are dysfunctional to a greater or lesser degree, as capable technical staff are usually employed by the country’s larger municipalities.

“South Africa is a priority region for Bluewater Bio because many plants in the country are dysfunctional,” said Bluewater Bio CEO Daniel Ishag. “This is down to poor maintenance, lack of capital expenditure and, most importantly, overloading because of population growth.

“There is no doubt that the remainder of the sub-Saharan African countries are in a far worse predicament, and South Africa will be our central base as we enter this market.”

Restoring performance, upgrades

Headstream Water, which will officially open its Johannesburg and Cape Town offices in January 2010, is looking at projects nationally in South Africa.

Its initial focus will be on restoring performance and upgrading plants in particularly stressed areas and on private sector operated plants serving mining communities.

There are three projects under consideration in North West province and one in Mpumalanga. Headstream is also currently negotiating a cooperation agreement with the largest independent operator of wastewater treatment plants in South Africa.

Attractive solution

According to Bluewater Bio, its HYBACS propriety wastewater treatment process is particularly attractive in these regions because it avoids large civil works and can provide up to 50% energy savings, which is a major issue in South Africa.

Bluewater Bio and Headstream expect to expand into other sub-Saharan African countries approximately 12 to 18 months after the South African launch.

While the cooperation agreement is for an initial three-year period, the licence can be extended for further two-year periods in perpetuity if Headstream achieves its sales targets.

SAinfo reporter

Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material