A wide ranging task

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, as part of its National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC-SA) resource efficiency and cleaner production (RECP) Programme, appointed Royal HaskoningDHV to undertake an RECP assessment for Lacsa.

More specifically, Royal HaskoningDHV was tasked with identifying options for the optimized use of water and a reduced volume of effluent. This involved the determination of water and effluent indicators, and possibilities for the recovery of valuable input materials – particularly Boric acid – from effluent discharge streams. Further deliverables were benchmarks for future performance monitoring.

Expert investigation

Royal HaskoningDHV first conducted a detailed site inspection during which critical production operations were identified and their impacts analyzed. This involved compiling a water balance of the complete site and a detailed mass balance of the overall production process.

The resultant mass balances gave a clear overview of processes with high consumption rates of
resources. Special attention was given to areas such as the ion exchange process (including the regeneration process), wastewater treatment, and potentials for the recovery of Boric acid from effluent discharge streams.

In order to achieve this, RHDVH deployed its own WaterScan technology. WaterScan provides unique clarity and insight into the potential for water re-use, the first step towards closing the water cycle. This enabled Royal HaskoningDHV to get a clear view of the balance between water and residues across the production process.

Numerous valuable options

Royal HaskoningDHV identified a number of options that offer improved use of resources and an acceptable Return on Investment (ROI). These options were sorted into those that require direct implementation and those that require further investigation.

For the ion exchange process, four implementation options were identified. Two represent a good business case with ROI of less than two years. These options include product and water recovery from product push water, and the re-use of caustic regenerate.

For wastewater treatment, three options were identified. The most feasible option – pH correction/calcium borate recovery – will result in a significant reduction of the boron concentration going out to sea, and allow for its re-use and the resulting commercial benefits.

About Lasca and the NCPC-SA

Lacsa (Pty) Ltd is a pharmaceuticals and biotech company based in Durban, South Africa

The South African National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC-SA) is a governmental programme that promotes the implementation of resource efficiency and cleaner production (RECP) methods. Alongside the environmental benefits, the objective is to help industry lower its costs through reduced energy, water and materials usage, and better waste management.


Lacsa Pharmaceuticals

How can we reduce water usage and the level of effluent discharged, while retrieving valuable input materials?

A thorough assessment of production processes by Royal HaskoningDHV, using WaterScan


  • A clear view of the production processes as they relate to water usage and effluent streams
  • Viable recommendations that offer an acceptable ROI
  • Potential for water re-use, cleaner effluent, and retrieved materials


Marco Kerstholt

Process Engineer / Specialist Industrial Water

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