Singapore’s Water Utility Opens World’s Largest Ceramic Membrane Treatment Plant

Sep 2019

On 29 August 2019, Singapore’s national water agency PUB opened a new water treatment plant at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks (CCKWW) that houses the largest ceramic membrane system in the world. 

CCKWW is one of Singapore’s oldest water treatment plants and was built in two phases in 1975 and 1981, with a total capacity of up to 80mgd (million gallons per day). It is Singapore’s second largest waterworks and treats water from the Western Catchment reservoirs – namely Kranji Reservoir, Pandan Reservoir and Tengeh Reservoir.

During the 1970s, Singapore relied on conventional sand filtration systems to process water, remove turbidity, bacteria and large suspended solids from water. Subsequent advancements in technology increased the affordability of membrane technology. In 2008, CCKWW completed the first upgrade to replace sand filters with polymeric membranes, while PUB worked with industry partners to conduct trials on ceramic membrane technology. 

The first ceramic membrane demonstration plant was built at CCKWW in 2011 after the initial pilot project at Bedok NEWater Factory showed encouraging results. Built at a cost of SGD 5 million (USD 3.6 million) with a daily capacity of 1.2 million liters, the 18-month trial validated the efficiency and reliability of ceramic membrane use in water treatment. The second upgrade of CCKWW commenced in 2016 to deploy ceramic membranes on a larger scale. This involved the construction of a new facility, installation of ceramic membranes and the inclusion of ozone-BAC treatment for the plant. Construction works took about three years at a cost of SGD 162 million (USD 118 million). Jacobs worked closely with PUB to carry out the preliminary design, detailed design, preparation and award of tenders, construction supervision, contract management, testing and commissioning of the plant. 

PUB will progressively incorporate advanced water treatment processes in the other five water treatment plants in Singapore when they are due for upgrade. Chestnut Avenue Waterworks and Woodleigh Waterworks are currently undergoing upgrading to include ozone-BAC treatment in the water treatment process, which are expected to be completed by end 2019.

(Sources: PUB; Jacobs; Channel NewsAsia)

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