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Rainwater Harvesting systems in South Africa .

Toxic water can be purified to drinkable water

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 07 July 2011

By Kristin Palitza

South African scientists have developed an environmentally friendly method to clean highly toxic water and convert it into drinkable water. Once available commercially, the method could drastically reduce the negative impact industry has on water pollution worldwide.

Eutectic freeze crystallisation could be used in the mining sector

Called eutectic freeze crystallisation, the technique freezes acidic water – or brine – to produce potable or drinking water as well as useful salts, such as sodium and calcium sulphate.

Alison Lewis, professor for chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, who has led the research since 2007, claims 99.9 percent of the polluted water can be reused after applying the new technique. Unlike other water cleaning methods, it practically doesn’t produce any toxic waste.

“It’s an environmentally friendly and cost-effective technology that can be used pretty much in all industrial sectors that pollute water and thus produce brine,” explains Lewis. This includes sectors like mining, the oil and gas industry, chemical industry, paper processing or sewerage.

The simultaneous separation and purification method is based on bringing the contaminated water temperature down to reach its eutectic point – the lowest possible temperature of solidification. At this point, toxins crystallise to form salts and sink to the ground, while the clean water turns into ice, floating on the surface.

“By its nature, ice is the purest form of water because it repels any impurities. It’s actually very simple,” explains Lewis. “The method is ecologically significant because it can turn toxic waste into a useful product.” Continue reading Toxic water can be purified to drinkable water

Loskop Dam water deteriorating rapidly

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 31 March 2011

By: Tamir Kahn

Farmers who depend on the Loskop Dam to irrigate their crops can breathe a sigh of relief after scientists found the water poses no immediate threat to human health, which means exports of fruit and vegetables are safe — at least for now.

CSIR warns that the water quality in the Loskop Dam is deteriorating rapidly

“It’s a great relief,” said the Loskop Irrigation Board’s Diek Engelbrecht yesterday.

Farmers have been so worried about the declining water quality in the heavily polluted Olifants River, which flows into the dam, that the irrigation board commissioned a study from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the University of Stellenbosch. Farmers were concerned that if their crops became contaminated with heavy metals or pathogens, their produce would no longer make export grade.

The dam provides water to 16000ha of agricultural land, and supports a European export market worth about R1bn a year.

The Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU) last year said its members were worried that polluted water would jeopardise their livelihood. If they lost their export markets, they would have to dump produce locally and prices would fall, with knock-on effects for farmers who rely on domestic customers, it said. Continue reading Loskop Dam water deteriorating rapidly

Acid water is killing crocs

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 27 September 2010

Leading scientists have pinpointed the cause of hundreds of mysterious crocodile deaths in the country’s national parks, saying acid water from the coal mining industry is to blame.

Crocodiles are being poisoned by […]

Experts to assess extent of acid mine drainage

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 07 September 2010

A team of experts is expected to assess the extent of acid mine drainage in the country and report back to an inter-ministerial committee appointed by Minister of Water Affairs Bulelwa Sonjica.

Johannesburg. […]

Acid mine drainage statements alarmist – Sonjica

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 19 August 2010

Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica, while acknowledging the seriousness of the threat posed by Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), on Thursday assured the public that citizens of Johannesburg would not wake up one morning to a flood of acid water in the CBD as it has been reported previously.

Acid mine drainage

“The exaggeration of this problem is un-called for and I would like to urge all interested and affected individuals and organizations to refrain from making alarmist statements in relation to this issue,” Sonjica said, adding that the financial interests of the private sector are also to a large degree playing a role in fuelling some of the hype around AMD.

“Government views the matter of the Acid Mine Drainage in a serious light and a series of engagements with my counterparts in the government have taken place on this urgent matter,” said Sonjica.

The Department of Water Affairs said the minister was setting up a high-level technical task team to tackle the AMD challenge currently facing the country in particular the Witwatersrand area.

This initiative is among the minister’s interventions to deal with the impending environmental problem, the department said. Continue reading Acid mine drainage statements alarmist – Sonjica