Commonly, there is either no public wastewater utility in these areas, or any such utility would be unable to handle the load from the new resort.
Such was the case when a developer acquired a tract of land on a remote, environmentally-sensitive island in the Caribbean with the intent to build a privately owned and operated, 4-star luxury resort hotel. This greenfield development would have 700 beds in 350 rooms, including a pool, private beach, spa, and several restaurants and bars. Hotel occupancy in the area averages 60% over the year and peaks to 85% during the summer.
Development of the resort would have overloaded the island’s existing treatment facility, which was too small and ill-equipped to treat the additional flow to meet the stringent environmental criteria. This necessitated the developer to build, own and operate an on-site 1,000 m3/d wastewater treatment plant.
The developer had a strong commercial imperative for addressing water use. Cost was a clear factor: water accounts for 10% of utility bills in many hotels. Most hotels pay for the water they consume twice – first by purchasing potable water (even for the cooling towers) and then by disposing of it as wastewater.
Along with many tangible advantages, the concept of onsite wastewater treatment often raises two primary concerns around social impacts. The first concern results from the large “psychological footprint” resulting from the unappealing look and odour issues typical of conventional wastewater treatment alternatives. Additionally, conventional alternatives raise a physical footprint issue due to large land requirements including a “buffer zone” due to poor aesthetics and odour concerns.
Simply put, a resort has to be attractive to attract tourists. Traditional on-site wastewater solutions have major negative factors that detract from the value of relaxation and recreational activities. Additionally, given the land requirements involved with conventional systems, onsite treatment was not even a possibility because the conventional facility would not fit on the limited (and valuable) space available on the property.
Several alternatives were evaluated based upon selection criteria that included seamless integration into the surroundings with minimal environmental impact, an extremely high quality treatment standard, and cost effective treatment.
An Organica-powered facility offers integrated and sustainable on-site wastewater treatment and recycling that is not only materially more cost-effective to own and operate but also avoids compromising the very environment the resort depends on for business.
In contrast to conventional solutions, an Organica facility offers on-site wastewater treatment, with numerous benefits:
Like all Organica solutions, this facility was designed by Organica’s in-house architects to blend into the surrounding environment, thus preserving the resort’s design and experience. Essentially, Organica facilities look like a botanical garden, allowing for a visual appeal that aligns with the resort’s image.
An Organica facility of this capacity would cost 20% less to build versus the conventional solution considered.
By owning and operating the wastewater treatment facility, the developer was able to increase the sustainability of the development and generate revenue of more than US$1 million
per year by charging the residents for wastewater treatment, which more than offset the operational costs of the plant and provided for a return on investment of more than 50%. This was driven largely by the high prevailing wastewater fees on the island.
The Organica treatment system is located in front of the hotel, close to the street; with shops, restaurants, and cafes within its proximity. Yet because the facility only occupies 1,500 m2 and is both odorless and aesthetically pleasing, it is virtually invisible. As a result, the typical buffer zone is tremendously reduced. This increases the amount of land for development and maximizes overall economic return by allowing more hotel rooms to be built.
Since Organica solutions are uniquely sophisticated and have a highly automated control system, the developer was able to save almost US$20,000 annually from the lower operational costs of its Organica-powered facility when compared to the conventional solution.
Organica facilities not only meet the strictest treatment standards, but are also highly resilient to changes in influent conditions. This allows the system to adapt to varying loads (during peak and off-peak seasons), guaranteeing effective treatment all year round.
Assumptions: Wastewater discharge rates are provided by the National Water Commission of Jamaica, and are assumed to increase by 3% per annum. Quantity of wastewater discharged is assumed to increase by 1% per annum. Organica OPEX is assumed to increase at an annual rate of 3%. NPV is calculated over a 20-year time frame using a 10% discount rate.
Disclaimer: Financial estimates used are based on a hypothetical proposal for a project in the Caribbean. Images are sample displays. This case study is created for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as a quote or offer of any kind. Financial data, OPEX, CAPEX, actual footprint, components (including but not limited to water reuse functionality), etc. may vary per project depending on the actual requirements.
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