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DEWATS Trials in Durban, South Africa

Newlands Mashu Research Site in Durban

Exploring, Testing, Evaluating

The Newlands Mashu Research Site, located in the Newlands East area of Durban, is used to conduct research experiments and field-test the applicability of sanitation-related models.


DEWATS: Urban Planning for the Long Term

Trials at Newlands are part of the eThekwini Municipality’s long-term strategy to provide sanitation systems for existing and new housing projects.

In Durban the envisioned application for the DEWATS system is the provision of wastewater treatment to locations with relatively high population densities that are beyond the reach of the city’s sewer network. This includes informal settlements, new developments and transport nodes, and schools and clinics. 


Project Specifics

Currently, the Pollution Research Group (PRG) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal is conducting the evaluation of the DEWATS plant (decentralised wastewater treatment system) as well as field research for VUNA reactors.

Two nutrient recovery reactors are being evaluated as part of the VUNA project to recover nitrogen and phosphorus from collected urine, and incorporate these nutrients into usable fertilisers. 

Also present at this site are test models of urine diversion dehydration toilets, which are evaluated on-site to provide important design and maintenance information to the municipality.


At Newlands Mashu project members aim to:

  • Explore and test new sanitation technologies
  • Close the nutrient loop by recycling and returning nutrients to soil from properly sanitised waste streams (urine, faeces, wastewater) for use in agriculture
  • Test and evaluate the use of sanitation-based fertiliser products in agriculture in a controlled and safe environment

Collaborators at Newlands Mashu

Work at Newlands Mashu is pursued through collaboration with various organisations that conduct research activities and operate pilot plants at the site:

  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Pollution Research Group (PRG)
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Life Sciences
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal Crop Sciences Department
  • BORDA - Bremen Overseas Research & Development Association
  • Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology
  • Durban University of Technology Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology

At Newlands Mashu Research Site, field-testing DEWATS models in support of eThekwini Municipality’s long-term sanitation strategy

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