Mohamed Hijaz, General Manager/Partner, Eagle Electromechanical and Al Hijaz Mechanical Equipment Co LLCEstablished in 1985 in Sharjah, Eagle Electromechanical and Al Hijaz Mechanical Equipment Co LLC (EECO or Eagle), is a major environmental engineering player specialised in custom design, supply, construction, operation and maintenance of a range of water and wastewater utilities and associated ancillaries. With headquarters in Dubai; over 100 engineers, designers and technicians; and a total workforce of over 2,000 highly dedicated professionals, the company provides electromechanical works for a diverse array of facilities from luxury villas to high-rise buildings. General Manager/Partner Mohamed Hijaz talks to CW about the company's plans and projects.Highlight some of your landmark wastewater projects?Sewage treatment plants, which we have designed, built and are operating, include conventional systems such as the sequencing batch reactor (SBR) and extended aeration (EA), and since 2007, the membrane bioreactor (MBR), with the award of the Al Dhaid plant expansion. In total, we have an operating capacity of over 140,000 cu m/day of wastewater, out of which 64,000 cu m/day is treated by the MBR. In 2009, our efforts gained international recognition with the Frost and Sullivan Award for the Best Entrepreneurial Company of the Year for Wastewater Treatment.In 2010, at the H2O Water Awards, we were awarded the Best Wastewater Treatment Plant in the MENA Region for our 25,000 cu m/day Dubai Sports City MBR. The plant's discreet design, quiet operation and odourless environment make it inconspicuous to bystanders. The MBR is completely enclosed within a building, architecturally blending in with the setting. A very small footprint of 4,000 sq m houses the entire process plant. The operation of the system is highly automated, and the housing ensures no odour emission and consequently, negligible environmental nuisance. Reverse osmosis (RO) treats 10 per cent of the MBR product water system, generating drinking water quality, as per the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) standards. This water is reused as sweet water make-up for the 84,000 cu m/day canal filtration project located underground, below a bridge at Sports City, also executed by Eagle. The balance is recycled within the development for irrigation use.Solid sludge from the plant is also minimised through the plant's long solid retention times. In Al Quoz Land, we have upgraded an SBR to an MBR plant with RO polishing, yielding drinking water quality, which is reused for district cooling. There is complete water reuse in this project, as even the reject water from the RO plant is fit for irrigation purposes.What is Al Hijaz Mechanical Equipment's role in the company? Eagle Electromechanical Co LLC (Abu Dhabi and Sharjah office) and Al Hijaz Mechanical Equipment Co LLC (Dubai branch) are involved in providing turnkey solutions for wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations and networks, high voltage and low voltage substations and electromechanical works. In terms of project numbers, we have collectively executed more than 115 utilities and over 90 MEP projects.Who are your major clients?Our major clients include the DEWA, Abu Dhabi Sewage Services Company (ADSSC), all the UAE Municipalities, Dubai Ports Authority, Jebel Ali free Zone Authority, Nakheel, Emaar, Al Futtaim Carillion, Dubai Sports City, Tecom, Dubai Properties, Darwish Engineering, among others.Take us through some of your ongoing projects.Presently, we are working on projects of a collective contract value of over US $200,000,000. We have just been awarded the ADSSC construction project for Sweihan wastewater treatment plant capacity upgrade and tanker discharge facility in Al Saad, Al Ain. In Sudan, we will be delivering an extended aeration sewage treatment plant of 3,000 cu m/day capacity. Additionally, we have won the DEWA tender for the construction of a 3.5 million gallon per day capacity pumping station for Lusail's new camel souk and associated works in Dubai.As for some ongoing water and sewerage projects, we are executing two DEWA contracts. The first is for the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of motorised butterfly valves, flow meters, pressure transmitters, RTU's, radio communication systems, work station and associated civil and E&M work. The other is the supply installation, testing and commissioning of glass-reinforced epoxy water pipe lines and associated works. For the Sharjah Municipality, we are completing the 3A pumping station through Darwish Engineering. Moreover, we are working on various pumping stations with Leighton in Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.Regarding MEP works, we are working as subcontractors for Sondos Real Estate, with Al Qandeel as the main contractor, for seven residential buildings at Dubailand. Additionally, we are working on a US $24,000,000 project at the Lakeside Towers in International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), for ZAS/PSE Engineering Est and with Damac Properties Co LLC as the consultant.Highlight the technology used in your projects.The selection of a technology and the design of the process for a particular wastewater treatment project is dependent on the effluent quality requirements and the type of arrangement/space (mobile/ containerised or concrete). The conventional EA process has always been popular due to its low power and maintenance requirements, as has the SBR due to its operational simplicity and negation for equalisation. All things being equal, the EA and SBR cannot compete with the MBR water product quality.The best technology for achieving a water quality product that meets highest irrigation standards within a small footprint, is the MBR, whose hollow fibre ultrafiltration membranes have a pore size of 0.02 microns, which physically disinfect the water and prevent the passage of viruses. To elaborate, the MBR effluent can be further treated, at a fraction of the desalination cost, to produce drinking water quality, by simply adding a reverse osmosis system. The final MBR-RO product can then be reused in industrial process and district cooling.What is the status of the Al Ghafat reservoir project?The total investment to build two 60 MG reinforced concrete reservoirs, as a subcontractor to Pratibha Industries, is Dh 55 million. The project is progressing within the programme.Please throw some light on your operations in Abu Dhabi and SharjahWe work as contractors within the utilities, MEP and wastewater treatment sectors all over the UAE. We are well known for our pumping station and electromechanical works in both the Emirates.Throw some light on the MEP industry and your major markets in GCC.We target high rise towers, low rise buildings and villas for both residential and commercial industries. Alongside this, we provide MEP work for utilities and other infrastructure such as street lights.What are the upcoming trends in the industry?Regionally for wastewater treatment, there is a need for mobile, temporary solutions, so what we are seeing is a growing demand for the fast delivery of these compact sewage treatment plants. With higher effluent standards, driven by the need to reuse water locally, the MBR is a good solution. We have launched a mobile package product with GE membranes, which treats 500 cu m/day of domestic wastewater. This skidded mobile plant is available in two options that are proposed to the client on the basis of the layout and space availability.In the first, the biological process and all system equipments are housed within a single skid, longer skid and in the second, the biological process is in one skid and the equipments in another tank. We have integrated this MBR technology in various configurations, from 500 cu m/day to 25,000 cu m/day, with 12 running plants, showcasing its success in Dubai with consistent effluent results.A firm understanding and confidence from the client side in our extensive operational experience of these types of plants will further augment its status regionally.What are your plans for the future?We are currently looking to expand our market to the GCC region. Within the GCC, we are chiefly targeting water works and sewage treatment plants. We have recently opened a branch office in Qatar under the name of Al Hijaz Engineering for Environmental Projects Co LLC and in Jordan, as Eagle Jordan Construction Contracting Co LLC and are making steady headway with the same in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, in Bahrain and Oman, prospects are promising, and we are developing relations with certain parties for sewage treatment and pumping stations. In Bahrain we have signed an MoU with JASCO for implementation of MBRs in the country. Following the sucess of our MBR plants in the UAE, from design to operation, we are in the final stages of signing a regional partnership agreement with General Electric (GE).