The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has launched a mobile trailer to monitor water quality in different municipalities in the Free State.
The Blue Drop trailer boasts a mini water testing laboratory comprising three panels that can monitor operational parameters such as PH, turbidity, electrical conductivity and free chlorine in real time.
“These four crucial parameters give a clear indication on the functionality of the different processes on a water treatment works,” explained DWS Free State Water Services Regulation sub-directorate deputy director Gerhard Janse van Noordwyk.
Several municipalities within the Free State that struggle with water quality and effectively manage their water treatment works have been identified and will be assisted using the Blue Drop trailer.
“The analysis is done from raw water [from any water treatment works] and goes through the sedimentation process and the last phase of final water, with the results and accurate readings of the water being treated obtained remotely.
The trailer saves time as water can be analysed on the spot, as opposed to a sample being taken and getting physically tested in a laboratory.
“Lab results can take days, but with the trailer we can monitor any change in quality live and advise the process controllers at a plant to make the necessary changes immediately, to backwash sand filters or desludge clarifiers,” Janse van Noordwyk commented.
“We can even determine if process controllers effectively perform their duties.”
The project was initiated in 2010 by the department as a research method to remotely monitor water treatment works.
“It took a while from the concept idea to the actual manufacturing of the trailer, but I am ecstatic with the end result,” he said, noting that the trailer will speed up the process and cover most municipalities in a short space of time.
Many parts of the trailer had been specially designed and customised in the US by DWS-contracted CTE Water Tech.
The trailer comes with a backup battery-powered UPS and diesel generator system that goes on if any drop in electricity is detected.