TALK ABSTRACT Small water treatment plants are defined as water treatment systems that have to be installed in areas which are not adequately serviced and do not normally fall within the confines of urban areas. They are therefore mostly used in rural and peri-urban areas and include chlorination plants for water supplies from boreholes and springs, small treatment systems for rural communities, treatment plants of small municipalities and treatment plants for establishments such as rural hospitals, schools, clinics, forestry stations, etc. Most of these applications require small plants of less than 2.5 ML/d (although plants of up to 25 ML/d may sometimes also fall into this category).
The decision-maker selecting one of these small water treatment plants has a great number of local and international system designs to choose from. Especially in the case of novel and emerging systems, very little may be known of these systems in terms of cost, efficiency and the applicability to the intended application. Supplier information may be sketchy, or promising new technologies have not yet been fully evaluated under South African conditions. Socio-economic factors are also very important and should be taken into account in the selection of small water treatment systems in order to ensure sustainability.
Although some evaluation of a selected number of small water treatment plants has taken place under previous WRC projects (WRC Report No 450/1/97: Package water treatment plant selection, and WRC Report No 828/1/01: Field evaluation of alternative disinfection technologies for small water supply technologies), a number of other small water treatment plants, available on the international market, have not yet been assessed in any way for possible (beneficial) application in South Africa. This study is therefore seen as complementing existing guidelines in providing assistance in the selection and operation of specific small water treatment systems being marketed for the treatment of potable water for small communities.
A number of local and international studies have shown that the selection of the correct water treatment system is but a first step in ensuring a sustainable supply of potable water to small communities. Following of the correct operational and maintenance procedures is of even greater importance for ensuring sustainability of water supply. Although most suppliers of small water treatment systems provide their clients with some operational and maintenance guidelines, these may not be exhaustive, or certain important generic aspects may not be covered. Information on operation and maintenance aspects will be of significant value to the owners and operators of such small water treatment systems.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER Christian D Swartz is a consulting water utlization engineer specializing in drinking water treatment and water supply projects, and water reclamation and reuse. He holds degrees in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Water Utilization Engineering from the University of Pretoria. He is a registered professional engineer and previously worked at the CSIR as senior research engineer and project manager on numerous projects in the drinking water treatment field. He started his own private consulting engineering practice, Chris Swartz Water Utilization Engineers, in 1991 in Mossel Bay, and later also opened an office in Durbanville, Cape Town. Chris Swartz has more than 28 years’ experience in the water industry. Areas of expertise include project management on water supply projects, evaluation of water treatment technologies, evaluation of water and wastewater treatment plants, water reuse and desalination schemes, risk assessment and risk management, rural water supply, and lots more.
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