As an international company, Waterco is involved with many extraordinary and life-changing projects around the world. But one of more recent standouts was the work the company did with Sotrad Water to alleviate the water shortage in rural African communities.
Sotrad develops, manufactures and commercialises water treatment equipment that can produce between 1m3 and 100m3 of clean water per hour from fresh surface water or shallow wells. It aims to supply safe drinking water in a sustainable and cost efficient way to communities in 20 countries around the world, and obviously filtration is a vital component of the solution.
The clean water project for which Waterco provided the filters started with 36 villages in Mozambique, two villages of about 800 people each on the Comoro Islands, as well as one village each in Ouganda and Ghana. Each community received one treatment unit and associated equipment. Waterco provided T400 16” thermoplastic sand filters to meet the requirements for several projects throughout Africa.
The remote nature of the villages where Waterco’s filters were used presented several challenges. Robust, affordable systems were needed to pump water from available sources such as streams, open wells, boreholes or lakes. They had to produce enough clean water for an entire village, eliminate all the pathogens present in the raw water, use limited amounts of chemicals, store the treated water and distribute it to the end users.
The systems also had to be easy to transport to the site, easy to install and operate, as well as work without access to electricity and use limited amounts of chemicals. Waterco Export Sales Executive Robert Harris says T400 filters with glass pearl media provided the ideal solution for Sotrad Water’s requirements. “Given the various geographical and logistical challenges, these more compact filters were well suited – and the glass pearl media provides water of superior clarity, which is vital for providing clean water to the villages.”
Each system Sotrad installed included a solar pump, a T400 filter with glass pearl media and T400 filter filled with activated carbon, a UV sterilizer, a hydraulic dosing pump to inject a residual amount of chlorine, a 4m3 water tank made of assembled fiberglass panels and a tap stand.
Sotrad Water International Development manager Raoul Antoine says because the systems relied on solar energy, it was important to minimise the pressure losses and the water wasted during the backwashes of the pre-filter. “The glass pearls turned out to be excellent for this purpose and their use resulted in faster commissioning, more clean water available every day in the villages and less load on the activated carbon,” he says.
"Due to the fact that our units are installed in such remote areas, the bypass position in the six-way valve represents a considerable advantage. It allows us to bypass a filter in case of problems, leaving the opportunity of continuing to benefit from the rest of the treatment while waiting for spare parts. Not having to actually pipe a bypass around the filters saves us space and reduces the potential of mistakes by the user during operations."
Waterco’s thermoplastic filters utilise a multiport valve to control the flow of water within the filter vessel. Cleaning the filter simply requires turning the multiport lever from the `filter’ position to the `backwash’ position. This allows the water to reverse its course through the sand bed, thus flushing trapped particles to the drain.
Another advantage of the Waterco units is their tough thermoplastic exterior that enables them to withstand the extreme conditions in which they have been used. Not only that, they are simple to use, while the glass pearl media provides superior quality drinking water, meaning less of the precious liquid is wasted in backwashing.
“Water is vital for survival and Waterco is proud to be involved with such crucial initiatives,” Robert says.