Bioremediation Facility

Water & Wastewater Treatment "THE NATURAL WAY"

Project Information

Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Project Type: Wadi Hanifa Restoration Project - Bioremediation Facility

Completion Date: April 2009

Treatment Objectives

Design Flow:
120,000 m3/day

Effluent Requirements:
TSS: 95% Removal
BOD: 69% Removal


The Wadi Hanifah is located in the middle of the Najd Plateau of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It has a unique natural and geographical feature in the dry central highlands of the country, with catchment area of 4,500 sq.km and a 120km long main water course. The wadi offers landscapes that are diverse and extreme features. It is desert watershed traversing the western portion of Metropolitan Riyadh, one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Beyond the high-rise towers of urban Riyadh, the wadi region includes large industrialized farms, date palm plantations, significant archaeological sites and residential areas situated alongside the water course.
In the recent years, the rapid expansion and urbanization of the Saudi Capital turned most parts of the wadi into a wasteland. Rampant activities of quarry to extract construction materials to build the growing city has been observed. Moreover, encroachment by development of residential subdivisions, government infrastructures and new roads / expressways had significantly impacted the wadi.
The conditions as mentioned above without proper regulations and controls, had resulted to many polluted areas, extremely poor-quality flowing along water course and water related diseases proliferate were observed across the wadi. This continuous degradation of the natural, biological and aesthetic value of wadi had caught the attention of the Arriyadh Development Authority (former name, but renamed to Royal Commission of Riyadh City) and came up with an initiative and undertaking of an innovative project to protect and reverse the prevailing trends and conditions across the wadi. In 2003, the commencement of Wadi Hanifah Restoration Project took place.


One of the main mandates of the Wadi Hanifah Restoration Project (WHRP) is the improvement of water quality of its waterways through biological and natural process, and subsequently to improve biodiversity. This approach is achieved by the creation of the “Bioremediation Water Treatment Facility”.
The Bioremediation Facility is the core of WHRP, which situated alongside of the King Fahad Interchange (South Ring Road) with coordinated of 24°35’23.22’’ N and 46°42’121.00’’ E.
The Royal Commission of Riyadh City (RCRC) had commissioned the Nelson Environmental Inc. under a design and build contract of the Treatment Process aspect of the facility and in coordination with the RCRC’s project consultants for architecture and hydraulic facets of the system.


The Bioremediation Water Treatment Facility was completed on 1st quarter of 2009 and it was inaugurated on 5th April 2010 by the Governor of Riyadh. A celebration attended by the high officials of Royal Commission of Riyadh City.

NEI’s role in Bioremediation Water Treatment Facility of Wadi Hanifah Restoration Project

The Nelson Environmental Inc. (NEI) being a company specialized in wastewater treatment using biological process had designed the facility integrating three major components: Physical, Biological and Mechanical. The elements of which include linear bubbles aeration system, rock-bed substrates and aquatic life forms which mimic and enhanced the natural treatment process.
This approach is deemed a well-balanced and engineered eco system that can effectively treat naturally the wadi contaminated water while as well creating a healthy aquatic biodiversity. The success of the treatment system revealed all throughout the several years of operations in achieving remarkable improvement results to the water quality as depicted through the monitoring process of the effluent water of the facility.

Bioremediation Water Treatment Concepts







Nelson Environmental Inc. (NEI) has extensive involvement in developing, designing and implementation of the water quality improvement system through the patented biological process of our company. Post commissioning and inauguration of the facility , NEI had been engaged as the facility management with particular scope focusing on monitoring the RCRC’s designated operation and maintenance contractor for the facility as well as the overall facility performance and wadi environment, towards meeting below objectives :

** Reduce organic pollution
** Reduce pathogenic bacteria in water
** Eliminate foul odors of water
** Channel nutrients into higher aquatic life forms
** Establish healthy biodiversity
** Create an aesthetically landmark facility
** Utilize the facility to educate peoples on the sustainable natural water pollution mitigation.   



The facility has three major components which playing important roles in the treatment process. These components are interrelated and with synergic effect as a whole system for achieving high performance treatment facility.

** Physical Components: refers to physical structure of the facility such as the headpools, biocells, inlet channels and outlet channels.

** Biological Components : refers to the biotic components thriving in the facility such as phytoplanktons, zooplanktons, invertebrates,        
    amphibians, fish community, migratory birds and terrestrial plants/shrubs/trees.

** Mechanical Components : refers to the linear aeration system, fountain jet systems, sluice gate, and flap weirs. 



The bioremediation treatment process is a hybrid process of typical wastewater treatment process, natural wetlands and with integration of aquaculture principles. Combining these concepts is innovative way to reduce water pollution and also creating biodiversity with potential to produce organic fertilizers and even alternative food source.

The facility is designed to treat the influent water biologically through assimilation of organic nutrients into higher level of food chain while at the same time reducing the pathogenic microbes.

The process is being enhanced through the presence of the aeration system which supplies the facility with high level of dissolved oxygen (DO), that is beneficial for breaking down the microbes, fish and other living aquatic life forms.

The rock-bed strata is acting as the substrates for beneficial microbes as biofilm (periphyton) micro community. This biofilm as attached growth media is playing an important role in the channeling of nutrients into higher level of food chain, and subsequently reduction of organic contaminants in the water. 


System Performance

The operation and maintenance (O&M) of the Bioremediation Facility since its commissioning on 2009 and until the present stage is being handled by a local maintenance company. There are already four maintenance company that handled the O&M with durations of varying from 2-4 years contract. However, the facility management is being handled by Nelson Environmental Inc. since commissioning period until the current stage, as per the directive of Royal Commission of Riyadh City.

The proper implementation of the O&M protocol is essential to maintain the operation the facility in order to achieve its prime objectives in the wadi. Failure of the maintenance company to comply on the defined protocols of operation will impact on the performance efficiency of the facility. As a part of operation protocol, monitoring of water quality (influent vs effluent) must be implemented routinely. Based on the cumulative data from initial phase of operation until present period, the facility performance efficiency varies relative to parameters as shown below. Nevertheless, the facility has achieved system objectives in terms of contaminant reductions. Likewise, the aim to establish a biodiversity in the area was achieved accordingly. 


Biodiversity in the Facility

Since the commissioning of the Bioremediation Facility on 1st quarter of 2009 , the facility had successfully resulted in establishing a biodiversity while in parallel attaining an efficient performance on improving water quality .

At present stage, aside from the micro-community (phytoplankton & zooplankton) acting as the baseline of food chain, other aquatic species had entered naturally the facility, thus, achieving the aim to establish a biodiversity. The facility currently harbors living forms at the higher level of food chain as follows:

** Invertebrates : 5 species
** Amphibians : 2 species
** Fishes : 8 species
** Migratory Birds : 7 species (seasonal) 

Impact of Bioremediation Facility Effluent (water) to Downstream Area of Wadi Hanifa

The performance efficiency of the Bioremediation Facility is measured tangibly through water quality parameters at the effluent. This effluent water flows downstream to receiving lakes specifically to the Old Stone Dam Lake and Al Massana Lake. The water quality in these lakes had improved significantly as the result of the incoming effluent water from the facility.
These lake areas were constructed with the aim to provide a natural ambiance bodies of water to local residents. Remarkable appreciation from residents and local tourists on these lakes nowadays is of an apparent intangible beneficial impact of the Bioremediation Facility to Wadi Hanifah. Large number of peoples and families visit these lakes across the year, as a natural resort for relaxation and enjoying the lakes nature-like environment . A place that became a landmark , talk of the town and relieving spot in a highly urbanized City like Riyadh.

International Awards of the Wadi Hanifah Restoration Project



Riyadh - Malaz - Amin Abdullah Noem Road, Al Tahseen Bldg, Opp. Stadium
3rd Floor, Office No. 8 P.O. Box No.: 27529 Riyadh 11427


Email: info@nei-organica.com
Phone: 00966 - 11 - 477 - 7944
Fax: 00966 - 11 - 477 - 4788