Traveling from Germany to Libya and then to the site in the Sahara dessert proved to be quite challenging. The unstable political situation, with the civil war going on and of course the ever present Covid-19 virus, caused many delays. Extra paperwork was needed to enter the dessert etc. but after 4 days I eventually arrived on site in the Oilfields and at the workers camp in Messla to install our containerized system.
This location of Messla is really remote, 600 km south of Bengasi and the next closest worker camp being Sarir, which is about 40 minutes drive south, where our next WWTP was already waiting for installation, after completion of the work at Messla.
Both these worker towns belong to the Arabian Gulf Oil Company which in turn belong to the National Oil Cooperation, one of the largest Oil and Gas companies in the world.
The existing sewage plant in Messla was out of service and redundant, which resulted in the replacement with a ClearFox® containerized plant, which was to be situated nearer to the original source tanks.
The first day was spent checking the foundation, setting up the containers and connecting the containers according to the site plans. Also doing the electrical connections and setting up the piping from the source to the screen.
The second day we setup the screen on the top of the container system and modified the solid removal pipe to the solid waste bin. This was found necessary, due to the extreme winds that come from different directions all the time and of course the renown sandstorms that plague the dessert. The IBC container was modified and the piping done for the cleaned water from the clarifier to the IBC with chlorine dosing set up and the piping to the cleaned/freshwater holding tank from which water would be used for irrigation and “making the dessert green”.
On the third day we did the connections for the blowers to the aerated buffer and the Fixed Bed Bio Reactor and set up the blowers in the tech room. We then partly filled the system with freshwater and started testing the system functions with the blowers. Then we installed the level sensors and the piping for the truck filling, which would again take cleaned water from the cleaned/freshwater holding tank back to the tech room where it would go through UV disinfection and sand filters before being filled into the water truck.
The fourth day was spent attaching the dome shafts and doing the foam piping connections. Installing the inflow from the screen to the buffer and also the overflow piping, should blockages occur with solids in the screen. Then the clarifier and sludge modules were set up and the visual and acoustic alarms were installed outside the plant.
The fifth day was spent testing the containerized system, which was then completely filled with water and set to auto mode for testing. Minor adjustments were made to facilitate the Biological growth in the FBR Reactors and aeration control. As all was functioning, the system was then connected to the Inflow sewage tanks and the wastewater treatment was started in auto mode.
On day six the system operators were instructed with the operation of the system and the official commissioning and handing over of the WWTP was done. Some of the company representatives flew in by jet from Bengasi to be present at this occasion, which was quite a surprise, but showed the interest and importance of this first of many containerized treatment plants that would be installed.
It was quite an experience to work in a war torn country, with unexpected turn of events and confrontations. It was a very interesting project, across language and cultural barriers, isolated geographically and Covid-19 present at all times.
I thank all the staff of the Arabian Gulf Oil Company, Tawa and its employees for the cooperation and assistance during my stay there and of course getting back safely. I had a great time working with highly professional people, who always had my wellbeing in mind.