Cost/Benefit Evaluation Of Sulaibiya Wastewater Treatment Plant In Kuwait

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Jasem M. Alhumoud
Hanouf Al-Humaidi
Ibrahim N. Al-Ghusain
Ali M. Alhumoud


benefit, cost, Kuwait, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, Sulaibiya


In May 2001, the Government of Kuwait awarded a build, operate and transfer (BOT) contract to a local company to finance, design, build and operate an advanced wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) at Sulaibiya. The contract has a 30-year life, comprising 30 months of design and build and 27.5 years of operation and management. The total project cost was K.D. 116 million (US$ 442 million). The Sulaibiya plant currently treats up to 375 million imperial gallons.  It is designed for extension to 600 million imperial gallons and is the first of its kind to be built in the Middle East.  It is the largest in the world to use ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) for water purification. Ultrafiltration will remove all suspended solids and will provide a substantial reduction in micro biological activities. The main obstacle against the use of ultrafiltration membranes for WWTP has always been the higher operating cost of ultrafiltration. Up until now, this higher cost has prevented implementation of UF in all plants. A new membrane has been designed with the aim of tailoring it toward lowest total cost of ownership. Typical operating conditions have been used to quantify the following parameters for a potential large scale wastewater treatment system (UF + RO): amortization of investment in UF membranes and equipment; operating costs of the UF system; reduction in operating costs of the RO, when being compared against a conventional treatment system; and the increased output of the RO plant due to higher availability and shorter construction time. The total cost of ownership of a UF based RO plant has been determined (expressed in US$/m3 of water produced). Taking all factors into account, the total cost of ownership of a dual membrane WWTP (UF + RO) will be 2–7% lower than the total cost of ownership of on conventional retreatment plant.


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