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Jul 16, 2010

Small-scale water 
purification plants 
for remote areas

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Water and gas technology company Intaka Tech has developed compact high-rate solid contact clarifiers and lamellar settlers for areas that do not have large-scale infrastructure, providing water-scarce communities with potable water, says Intaka Tech head of water department Stefan Oosthuizen.

The solid contact clarifiers use pressure filtration and the lamellar settlers use gravity filters, making them suited to rural conditions, owing to low energy consumption. The company’s water purification plants (WPPs) can be arranged in a modular fashion, which saves on initial capital costs, as well as 
operation and maintenance costs, by installing plants as demand dictates, he says.

The WPPs can easily be transported and transferred and are used where no bulk water supply systems exist or where such systems are under pressure. “The WPPs can be opera-
tional within six days of delivery. Further, about 100 WPPs are in use in South Africa and its neighbouring countries,” says Oosthuizen.

“Companies in South Africa and government have a tendency to focus on bulk water systems and distribution systems; however, significant opportunities exist to provide 
sustainable water solutions to those areas where the existing and planned bulk systems are not accessible, particularly in the rural and periurban areas,” he adds.

Intaka Tech supplied twenty WPP 050 
models, each capable of producing
50 000 ℓ/h of potable drinking water, to various district municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Phase three of the installation is currently being carried out. 
The projects are being overseen by 
engineering consulting company Inqubeko Consulting Engineers to ensure that the 
ancillary services and works across the sites are complete and immediately followed by the supply of potable water. 

“Intaka Tech’s two most recent WPP 
installations in KZN took place in December. The first was in the Gogovuma rural area, situated about 70 km inland from Stanger, in the iLembe district municipality, where a WPP has been commissioned and is currently operational. 
The second was in rural Macabazini, which is part of the Sisonke district municipality, where the plant is being completed,” he says.

“Intaka Tech and Inqubeko Consulting Engineers are finalising the project details for the final nine rural sites, where such plants will be installed so that all plants can be operational by December 2010, with a production potential of almost ten-million litres a day of potable water,” Oosthuizen says.

Further, the WPPs are used in areas where water sources are inadequate to warrant 
larger water supply projects. The company’s purification equipment is suited to remote locations owing to the short implementation timeframes and can be part of the overall engi-
neering solution by providing potable water 
equipment to rural and remote communities.

Intaka Tech reports that ten WPPs are used at various hospitals in the Northern Cape. The WPPs have now served their purpose at the hospitals, which are now connected to large-scale water infrastructure, and can now be relocated to other facilities where they are needed.

“South Africa should focus on smaller sustainable schemes within remote communities to facilitate transitions from rural lifestyles to semiurban lifestyles,” says Oosthuizen.

“Government should consider public–private partnerships, particularly for water 
purification and sewage treatment schemes, in which government can use, build, operate and transfer tenders, and the private sector hands these schemes over to government after successfully operating them for an certain period, for example three years. This will also ensure that skilled operators and managers are present when the project is handed over,” he explains.

 

Edited by: Brindaveni Naidoo
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