We are conscious of our dependence on water, and the fact that the Western Cape is getting drier by the year.
We therefore look at ways to lessen our water footprint by both reducing water use and recycling.
In 2007, Spier installed a pioneering centralised wastewater treatment plant. The embodiment of our approach to waste management, it recycles 100% of our wastewater; the cleaned water is then used to irrigate the garden and grounds. Throughout the entire process, only environmentally friendly techniques are used. They combine science, art and healing to create a cyclic system of cleansing and replenishment.
How it works
Combining both cleansing and ‘healing’ techniques to bring life and energy back to the water, the plant is the first of its kind in South Africa. It uses an Archimedean-screw mechanism for screening and an activated-sludge bioreactor. The activated-sludge process is a biological, 100% natural, eco-friendly method of wastewater treatment performed by a community of micro-organisms in an aerobic aquatic environment. It can process up to a million litres of wastewater at any given time.
The aeration pumps switch off periodically, allowing the bacteria and waste to settle at the bottom. The cleaner water is skimmed from the top and moved through pipes that irrigate an oval-shaped reed bed. This reed bed is ideal for the natural growth of bacteria, which continue the cleansing process.
The water passes through the reed bed into a pond where it is driven through a number of ‘flow forms’ before being transported to the nearby irrigation dam. It is believed that this process calms the water and helps it return to its more harmonious state.
Healing elements, such as spirals were introduced to add an aesthetic and calming influence. The aesthetically-pleasing aspect of the plant enables Spier to use the initiative as an educational tool.
It would take a river 350 kilometres to purify what the wastewater treatment plant can do in one day.