In December 2009, Mekorot will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the founding of one of the most ambitious, important and advanced plants in the country – the “Third Line” Reclamation Project.
This facility, which is connected to the wastewater treatment plant, is responsible for a wonderful transformation: creating clean water from waste water. This allows the release of potable water for domestic uses in cities and communities.
The “Third Line” Reclamation facility is the biggest of its kind in Israel and one of the largest in the world. The facility combines multiple processes for the biological treatment of wastewater.
The sewage treatment process includes a number of stages:
• A preliminary stage where large particles are removed using bar screens and sand separators
• Treatment using biological reactors where the wastewater is treated with various micro-organisms along with massive doses of oxygen
• Separation of bacteria and germs from the treated wastewater in secondary clarifiers
• And, at the end, additional treatment whereby the treated wastewater is pumped into the aquifer for further treatment and seasonal storage
From there, the reclaimed water is distributed to the consumers.
To learn more about the facility and the process involved, visit the new, unique visitor’s center at the site. The center, a large part of which is underground, offers educational tours for up to 50 participants from age 13 and up.
During the tour, visitors will see the processes taking place at the plant: the intake of sewage and initial treatment, biological reactors followed by secondary clarifiers, where the wastewater is treated biologically with clear treated wastewater as the final product.
In addition, the center includes a demonstration model that shows how the treated wastewater is pumped into the infiltration fields to the aquifer and the final product, reclaimed water with a quality that meets drinking water regulations, though solely used for irrigation.
Yet another attraction at the plant is the opportunity to see the many types of birds that frequent the site: grebes, stilted plovers, spur-winged plovers, seagulls, ducks and many, many more.
The story of the “Third Line”
In 1977, it was already clear that in order to supply the ever-increasing demand for water in Israel, advanced technological solutions were needed. In the same year, Mekorot began the limited operation of the “Shafdan” with Oxidation and Polishing Ponds.
In 1983, Mekorot decided to expand the “Third Line” Reclamation Project, which has been working in its current state since the end of 1989. Within this framework is a system that combines sewage treatment using the activated sludge system with all the elements of the Reclamation Project.
The initial investment in the plant was over 100 million dollars and involved many workers. In August of 1989, 27 of the employees, at the instigation of the Mekorot newsletter, took part in a roundtable discussion where they described their experiences with the construction process.
The construction process included laying 260 kilometers of pipelines, establishing infiltration fields with the underground reservoirs, more than 130 recovery wells and many pumping stations, and aboveground reservoirs both operational and seasonal.
On the 18th of December, 1989, the plant was officially opened. More than 700 people took part in the opening ceremony, including many of the notable figures of the period: Mekorot's Managing Director, Nachum Admoni, the Minister of Agriculture, Avraham Katz-Oz, the Water Commissioner, Tsemach Yishay and the Chairman of Mekorot's Board of Directors, Pima Fienblum.
Spearheading the water reclamation process
Today, the “Third Line” facility produces 150 million cubic meters of reclaimed water each year and treats the sewage of about 2,500,000 people from the Dan Region. The plant spearheads the process of water reclamation by reducing the ecological damage that could be caused by untreated sewage and by facilitating the use of treated water in cities and other settlements.
Today, Mekorot continues to devote resources to research and development in the field of water reclamation. This includes projects on the improvement of water treatment technologies, usage of membranes and developing alternatives to the use of chlorine for water disinfection. In this fashion, Mekorot continues with the ideals that were in place when the plant was initially constructed – finding high quality solutions to the water demands of the State of Israel.