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Eco-Friendly Step Forward for Peermont's The Grand Palm

Launching in conjunction with Aqua Engineering, who designed and assisted in the installation of the sewerage treatment plant, the Grand Palm grey water plant is an important step forward for environmentally-friendly members of the hospitality industry.

Bruce Page-Wood, Regional Chief Operating Officer, comments, "Tourism operations worldwide are increasingly being judged on their eco-credentials, as more and more guests choose to support the ‘greener' hotel operators. A recent survey by Tourism Concern in the UK found that 96% of travelers would rather stay in an environmentally friendly and responsible resort than a 5-star property. Governments are also starting to incentivise hotels that take steps to reduce power and water usages, as environmental issues take to the world stage."

He continues, "The importance of ecotourism is simple: It ensures that our natural and cultural heritage is maintained and improved, that tribal and archaeological resources are protected and the local economy benefits directly through salaries, jobs and training, from ecotourism revenues."

The Grand Palm sewerage treatment plant uses the latest membrane technology to convert the incoming sewerage into products suitable and safe for further disposal. The most important feature is that the plant produces very high quality treated final effluent water that is ideal for irrigation. Except for very special cases, the treated water does not need further sterilization, as the membrane process removes both bacteria and viruses. In areas such as Botswana where water is a scarce commodity, such water savings are of benefit to the greater community.

The process employed has a number of advantages over conventional plants, including the fact that it takes up less space; the membrane plant produces less waste sludge, thereby reducing the cost of sludge disposal; and the sludge is very stable, making it easier to dispose of, plus it does not attract flies or have a bad odour.

A further advantage of the new grey water plant is that it is robust, simple to operate and maintain and can be relatively easily automated without the need for expensive or sophisticated control instrumentation. The plant can then be operated without having to employ dedicated or highly skilled operators.

Other environmentally-friendly measures implemented by The Grand Palm include a ‘Ving Card', which enables the Grand Palm to make substantial power savings, as the room key activates the power only when installed into the card holder. This means that hotel bedrooms don't use any unnecessary power. The hotel has installed water-saving apparatus in each bathroom, plus it features signage requesting guests to place towels in the bath for laundering only when necessary - this reduces water usage significantly. Machinery has been installed to enable The Grand Palm to crush and safely dispose of fluorescent light bulb tubes, which contain mercury vapour that is harmful to the environment.

Page-Wood adds, "The Grand Palm has installed an electro-flow device, which is a piece of equipment that helps to reduce costs and save on kilowatt hours. A key benefit of the device is that it keeps the electricity flow constant, an important consideration with Botswana's power fluctuations, which in itself results in savings. It also helps to prevent electric motors, light bulbs, fluorescent tubes etc from burning out too quickly, which is very positive from an environmental perspective."

He concludes, "We have had excellent results from the installation of the grey water plant, and look forward to the monthly water savings at the Grand Palm as a consequence."

The hotel is located on 15 hectares of land, providing guests with a comprehensive range of outdoor activities. In addition to tennis, volleyball and a children's playground, a jogging trail set around a picturesque lake offers the perfect de-stressor after a day's conferencing, or simply for viewing the huge diversity of birds in the resort - approximately 125 different species. With the few species of African antelope that freely roam the resort, including duiker, blesbok, red hartebeest, peacocks and legavaan, guests can enjoy their stay in a luxurious setting with a true African feel.

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