The firm Negev Ecology has announced the inauguration of a plant near Kibbutz Mishmar Hanegev that will treat “fatty” waste – sewage containing fats, organic matter and minerals.

The first of its kind in the region, the Harov site will receive waste from gas stations, garages, food manufacturers, other factories and army bases, the company said.

While the facility has already begun to receive material from local gas stations, hotels and restaurants, the company aims to bring in municipal sewage, as well runoff from the 130 future IDF bases slated to encompass a huge chunk of the Negev.

“We can treat tens of thousands of cubic meters per year of sewage and leachate whose source is in the South,” Nati Paz, CEO of Negev Ecology, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, “and can save the Israeli economy millions of shekels involved in the transportation costs of shipping the sewage to the center of the country.”

While the technology is similar to that being used in the Center and North, the treatment facility closest to the Negev is 100 kilometers away, in Rishon Lezion, Paz said. By having a local site, companies and towns can save the money they would have spent on transporting tens of thousands of cubic meters of waste each year, and also reduce greenhouse gases emitted by the trucks.

“We are proud to be the first to provide a comprehensive and systematic solution toward improving the environmental protection here in the South,” Paz said.

Millions of shekels went into constructing the facility, which was certified and supervised by the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Health Ministry.

It operates in accordance with government water regulations, the company said.

After the fatty sewage undergoes treatment, the water will be reused in agriculture – primarily for wheat and potatoes – and the company will sell the oil to factories, Paz told the Post. Negev Ecology will use the remaining organic waste for compost.

The hope is that as the system proves itself, the company will be able to expand the site’s capacity and “multiply the system” to serve the Negev’s needs, Paz added.

“It’s required by law in Israel to recycle wastewater,” he said.

“It’s not an option. So all the sewage manufacturers must find a solution.”

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