Putting the sparkle back into water

THE ISSUE OF WATER QUALITY
makes headlines every time a rural municipality’s sewage system fails due to poor management or maintenance, and pollutes a stream, river or the groundwater with bacterially contaminated water.

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This poses a danger for the drinking water of farmers, their workers and small rural communities lacking the funds or infrastructure to purify water.
A practical answer lies in the Wellcure System – a locally developed and manufactured hand-operated water purification system. It filters out suspended solids and automatically adds the correct amount of chlorine in a steady stream to water.
Andre van Wijk of Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape invented this system for on-site use in remote rural areas where burgeoning riverside populations and overburdened or non-existent sanitation are increasing the danger of serious diseases.
The purifier cannot remove heavy metals, dissolved salts or toxins, but can get rid of bacteria and viruses within minutes.
A laboratory report has shown the
system’s purified water to be free of faecal
or coliform bacteria and confirms that it complies with SABS requirements for
potable water.
“I saw the need for a simple, quick manual system that can eliminate water impurities after watching people draw drinking water from a river heavily contaminated with solid waste and faecal remains,” Van Wijk says.
The Wellcure System manually pumps water from source through six filtration levels to remove solids before automatically adding chlorine to the water through a sophisticated dosing device. The pump delivers 30 litres of pure filtered and chlorinated water per minute if the handles are turned at 90rpm. Pumping to a maximum head of 45m, it delivers 19 litres per minute and in a 10-hour day delivers 10 000 litres – enough for 330 people. The injectable chlorine solution consists of one level teaspoon of sodium hypochlorite granules per 20 litres of filtered water.
”This will purify 10 000 litres at 0,025% per volume. The dosing is extremely low due to the efficient filtration system that removes the solids beforehand, leaving only the remains to purify. The five kilograms of chlorine supplied with the unit should last more than five years at 10 000 litres per day,’’ Van Wijk says.
Cleaning the filter medium depends on the amount and nature of the suspended solids in the water. “When cleaning is necessary, the silica gravel filter medium is emptied into a drum of highly chlorinated water, vigorously washed and returned to the filter capsule. The river stones are also removed, cleaned and returned,” Van Wijk says.
After five years the overall cost per litre of purified water, including operator wages would be in the region of 0,004c/litre of supplied water. This rivals any other plant costs within the same delivery range worldwide.
However, other units all consume some form of non-renewable energy source.
The unit without the secondary filter of rounded river stones weighs 145kg, but the stones push up the weight to 550kg, helping to stabilise the 1,8m x 700mm structure.
The Wellcure System retails around R39 400 excluding VAT. – Roelof Bezuidenhout
For more information contact Auriel Mitchley on (011) 889 0796 or e-mail [email protected].     |fw

captions:
The main filtration base with hand pump and
chlorination section removed.

 

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