SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Operate an anaerobic wastewater sludge digester 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
255985  Operate an anaerobic wastewater sludge digester 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Water Sector 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 12 - Physical Planning and Construction Civil Engineering Construction 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard replaces: 
US ID Unit Standard Title Pre-2009 NQF Level NQF Level Credits Replacement Status
12047  Operate an anaerobic digester  Level 4  NQF Level 04  Complete 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
This unit standard is suitable for persons who have the responsibility for operating anaerobic digestion processes in a wastewater environment. Learners achieving this unit standard will be able to operate an anaerobic digester in accordance with legislation, guidelines and procedures. Learners will be able to convert the raw sludge from material of smelly potable nature to a substance that is relatively odour free. This competence will enable the learner to monitor and maintain the anaerobic digester and interpret laboratory analytical results related to the functioning of the digester. Achieving this unit standard will enhance the efficiency of the qualifying learner as part of a wastewater team and advance his/her own expertise and employability in wastewater.

People credited with this unit standard are able to:
  • Describe the anaerobic digestion process.
  • Stabilise sludge in compliance with standard working procedures.
  • Identify hazardous material in a wastewater treatment environment.
  • Monitor anaerobic digestion process.
  • Maintain anaerobic digester and its components in accordance with work policies and procedures. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
  • Mathematical literacy at NQF Level 2.
  • Communication skills at NQF Level 2.

    It is assumed that learners are competent in the following unit standards:
  • Apply personal safety practices at NQF Level 2.
  • Operate sedimentation, flocculation and coagulation processes. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    Work policies and procedures:
  • Best operating procedures.

    Laboratory analytical results:
  • pH, alkalinity, volatile acids, temperature, solids (organic and inorganic) and gases (methane and carbondioxide).

    Reports:
  • Maintenance, faults, irregularities.

    Information:
  • Flows, quality, test results, breakdowns, incidents material requisitions etc. 

  • Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Describe the anaerobic digestion process. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The structure of anaerobic digester is described in terms of its shape and components. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The anaerobic digestion process is explained with reference to the different bacteria and the temperatures of the digestion process. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Different types of digesters are identified and explained in terms of the operation procedures and loading rates. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Different methods of heating the digester sludge are identified and explained in terms of their advantages and disadvantages. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Indicators for tests are identified and described to determine the performance of the digester. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Stabilise sludge in compliance with standard working procedures. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The need to determine the optimum feeding rate is explained in terms of volumes, methods and sludge thickness. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Different methods of mixing digester content are identified and described in terms advantages and disadvantages. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Sampling is conducted in accordance with the grab sampling procedures in order to determine the pH, temperature and total solids. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Check pumps and valves as well as flow rates. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Trouble-shooting procedures are followed in order to determine the cause of the problem. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    Problems identified in the anaerobic digester are recorded for course of action. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 7 
    Sludge is monitored and samples are withdrawn at appropriate times. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Identify and explain chemical and physical characteristics of hazardous material in a wastewater treatment environment. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Knowledge of workplace practices and policies relating to health and safety matters is demonstrated in accordance with applicable legislation. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Applicable legislation refers to but is not limited to Occupational Health and Safety Act.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    An understanding of the hazards/risks associated with health and safety within plant activities is demonstrated in terms of the requirements of/compliance with health and safety legislation. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Characteristics of gases are identified and described in terms of their physical properties, gas laws, formula and toxity. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Knowledge of the safety devices and their positions within the plant is demonstrated in order to prevent potential combustion/accident. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Safety devices include but are not limited to pressure and vacuum relief valve, flame arrester and water traps.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Safety handling procedures when dealing with gas is explained in order to reduce health risks. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    Potential risks associated with the anaerobic digester system operation is identified and explained in order to reduce health and safety hazards. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Anaerobic digester system operation refer to gas valve and flame arrester operations.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 7 
    The purpose of the pressure relief valve is explained in terms of its functions. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Monitor anaerobic digestion process. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Occupational Health and Safety legislation in general is evaluated in terms of its influence on organisational operations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The Health and Safety policy and procedures, particularly in respect of key stakeholders are evaluated in order to ensure compliance. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Key stakeholders refers to but is not limited to contractors, supervisors, maintenance and laboratory staff and public.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Associated work authorisation documentation is evaluated in order to determine health and risk matters. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Gas production and storage is monitored by physical measurements in order to determine the system efficiency. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Physical measurements refer to but are not limited to flow meters, level indicators and test.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 5 
    Maintain anaerobic digester and its components in accordance with work policies and procedures. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Visual inspection of structure is conducted in order to determine its physical condition. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Pressure and vacuum relief valve is checked for its operation. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Structural damage and faults are identified and reported for corrective action. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Records are collated for future upgrades and reference. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Records include but are not limited to analysis results, faults and plant data.
     


    UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this unit standard must be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable the achievement of this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant ETQA according to the ETQA`s policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation.
  • Moderation must include both internal and external moderation of assessments at exit points of the qualification, unless ETQA policies specify otherwise.
  • Moderation should also encompass achievement of the competence described both in individual unit standards as well as the integrated competence described in the qualification. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
    Learners should have a knowledge and understanding of:
  • Relevant sections of Legislation: OHS Act, National Water Act when operating an anaerobic digester.
  • The importance of safety procedures.
  • The importance of monitoring gas levels.
  • The principles of anaerobic digesters (Re-circulation, mixing and heating).
  • Sampling procedures for digesters.
  • Confined space entry procedures.
  • Report writing.
  • Communication skills.
  • Calculations. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identifying and solving problems relating to process parameters in which responses display that responsible decisions using critical and creative thinking have been made in order to maintain biological reaction rate. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Working effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation, and community in order to ensure that standard working procedures are followed to meet health and safety requirements. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Planning, organising and managing oneself and one`s activities responsibly and effectively by applying time management principles in his/her work schedule in order to carry out his/her responsibilities in accordance with associated tasks. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collecting, analysing, organising and critically evaluating information relating to the operation of the digester in order to optimize the process. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicating effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the form of oral and/or written presentation to provide relevant information through reports pertaining to the performance of the anaerobic digestion systems to the key stakeholders. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Using science and technology effectively and critically, showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others by using the relevant scientific equipment for continuous of the Anaerobic digester to achieve safe and environmentally friendly sludge. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrating an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation by identifying potential anaerobic digestion problems in order to produce a stable sludge to satisfy key stakeholders health and safety requirements. 

    UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    This unit standard replaces unit standard 12047, "Operate an anaerobic digester", Level 4, 7 credits.

    Integrated Assessment:

    When conducting assessments, assessors must ensure that they are familiar with the full text of the unit standards being assessed. Assessors must ensure that the assessment covers the specific outcomes, critical cross-field outcomes and essential embedded knowledge by developing assessment activities and tools, which are appropriate to the contexts in which the learners are working. These activities and tools may include self-assessment, peer assessment, formative and summative assessment. It may be more effective and efficient to assess a number of unit standards together in an integrated way, thus reducing the overall number of assessments and ensuring that commonalities that exist between a number of unit standards are captured in a way that makes sense for assessment.

    Assessment Option:

    Learners could be assessed using the following methods:
  • Oral or written questions.
  • Observation.
  • Demonstrations. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  61709   Further Education and Training Certificate: Water and Wastewater Treatment Process Control Supervision  Level 4  NQF Level 04  Reregistered  2023-06-30  EWSETA 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. AGB MATHE BUSINESS SERVICES 
    2. AMBROSER SOLUTIONS (PTY) LTD 
    3. BALOMAT SKILLS TRAINING ACADEMY 
    4. EECTRICAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION - ECA 
    5. ESKOM DISTRIBUTION NORTH WESTERN REGION, BLOEMFONTEIN 
    6. GLERE SKILLS CONSULTANT 
    7. HIZONEX PTY LTD 
    8. INFINITE DIMENSION CONSULTING 
    9. INFRASTRUCTURE CONSULTING ENGINEERS CC 
    10. INGEN ENGINEERING PROJECTS 
    11. IQHINA CONSULTING ENGINEERING AND PROJECTS MANAGERS 
    12. IQRAAM DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANCY (PTY) LTD 
    13. JOSMAP TRAINING INSTIUTE 
    14. Learn A Trade 
    15. MACT BUSINESS HUB 
    16. MARULENG TRAINING ACADEMY 
    17. MMESELANE CONSTRUCTION 
    18. MMTI 
    19. MOVING AHEAD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY 
    20. MPUMELELO CONSULTANCY CC 
    21. MUNICIPAL TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE 
    22. NEW HOPE REVIVAL ORGANISATION 
    23. NKANYEZI FOUNDATION 
    24. NOKRAM (PTY) LTD 
    25. PERSEVCON CONSTRUCTION PTY LTD 
    26. PHAKGAMANG MATSIANA BUSINESS ENTERPRISE 
    27. Phathutshedzo Connsulting Training Provider 
    28. PRAXIS TRAINING AND CONSULTANCY (PTY) LTD 
    29. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING INSTITUTE (PTY) LTD 
    30. PTDEV (PTY) LTD 
    31. Qualitas Training cc 
    32. ROCKWELL AUTOMATION 
    33. RONNELS CONSTRUCTION PTY LTD 
    34. SOUTHERN AFRICAN YOUTH MOVEMENT 
    35. TAG TEC TRAINING 
    36. YN2 TRADING AND PROJECTS 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.