W. Bengal arsenic project earns award for Water For People

April 1, 2007
Water For People was awarded a prestigious Grainger Award by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in February during a Washington, DC, gala for its innovative work in arsenic removal from potable water in the West Bengal region of India

Water For People was awarded a prestigious Grainger Award by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in February during a Washington, DC, gala for its innovative work in arsenic removal from potable water in the West Bengal region of India, where millions of people are at risk from naturally occurring arsenic prevalent in groundwater supplies.

The NAE, with support of The Grainger Foundation, awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards of $1,000,000, $200,000, and $100,000, respectively. Water For People shared the Silver Award-and a $200,000 prize-with Lehigh University, which collaborated on development of the sustainable arsenic removal technology applied by Water For People in India at community wellheads. Members of the development team included Prof. Arup K. SenGupta, Ph.D., John E. Greenleaf, Lee M. Blaney, Owen E. Boyd, and Arun K. Deb.

Dr. SenGupta and Lehigh University partnered in the submission of the award application. He and his research assistants built a model of the filters used in West Bengal, India, so that NAE could test the filter under laboratory conditions. They worked with Bengal Engineering & Science University in India to develop the technology used by Water For People in West Bengal, India.

In the system, water is hand-pumped into a fixed-bed column, where it passes through activated alumina or hybrid anion exchanger (HAIX) to remove arsenic. After passing through a chamber of graded gravel to remove particulates, it’s ready to drink. Each unit serves about 300 households. The system is used in over 160 locations in West Bengal, India, providing arsenic-safe potable water to nearly 170,000 villagers.

Water For People will use its $100,000 share of the prize to expand arsenic abatement efforts in India. Dr. SenGupta will continue research efforts to enhance efficiency of the arsenic removal systems and install similar community-based systems in affected regions in Mexico and Bangladesh.

Japan’s largest membrane water filtration system starts operation

A ceramic membrane filtration system with a capacity of 38,900 m3/day was completed at a water purification plant in Oshio, Echizen City, Fukui Prefecture, Japan. The system is the result of a joint venture by NGK Insulators Ltd. and Ebara Environmental Engineering Co., under contract with Fukui Prefecture. The water plant started operation on 1 December, and supplies water to residents in three cities and two towns along the Hinogawa River, which runs through central Fukui.

Before adopting the technology, the prefectural government field-tested six systems: five types of membrane filtration system and one sand filtration system. The ceramic membrane system was found to be superior to the others in terms of reliability, durability, recyclability and lifecycle costs.

The installed system consists of 18 filtration units, each with 100 cylindrical ceramic membrane elements that are one meter long and 18 centimeters in diameter with a surface area of 15 square meters per element. Using microporous ceramic membranes (pore diameter: 0.1 µm), the filtration system removes various impurities, such as suspended solids, E. coli and Cryptosporidium.

This system doesn’t require a large site because there’s no need for a sedimentation or a rapid sand filtration basin. It’s fully automatic: all processes, including a backwashing process, are performed without human intervention. Other features include less frequent replacement due to the long-life ceramic membranes and low running costs per water volume filtrated.

German pump maker supplies Australian pipeline

At the end of February, KSB Aktiengesellschaft, of Frankenthal, Germany, received an order to supply pumps for the Southern Regional Water Pipeline in Australia.

Thirteen pump units, to be divided among five pumping stations, will be used to pump fresh water through a 120 km long pipeline linking Camerons Hill in Brisbane’s western suburbs and Gold Coast, Australia’s sixth largest city.

In order to build this water transport system with as few pumping stations as possible, the system is operated at a higher system pressure than usual. KSB, therefore, has to modify the pump casings for the high pressures and subject the finished pump units to extensive pressure testing. The most powerful drive motors of the pumps to be supplied have a 2,700 kW rating each. The maximum flow rate per pump is in the region of 2,000 litres per second.The Southern Regional Water Pipeline is designed to service the growth in residential and commercial water demands of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Beaudesert and the Gold Coast.

In other news, three high-pressure HGM-RO 8/3 pumps destined for use in the Dhekelia seawater desalination plant in Cyprus passed performance tests on KSB’s Frankenthal test stand in early March with 87% efficiency.

Field Notes

INDIA: As part of a $93 million agreement, GE is providing petroleum and biofuels developer Dynoil LLC with 200-Watt solar modules and 5,000 water filtration units for use in remote and rural areas throughout India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia and Africa. The units are capable of providing 7.57 m3/d of water, or enough water to meet the daily requirements of 500 people. Announced at GE’s India ecomagination launch 20 February in New Delhi, the agreement compliments its company-wide ecomagination sustainable business program. To ensure project longevity, Dynoil is forming an installation and training organization to help empower host communities. Support teams will offer training on how to install, operate and maintain the systems.

MALAYSIA: Formation of the National Water Services Commission has boosted Malaysia’s water sector as it targets improvements in water quality, technical standards and consumer services. To address growing drinking water needs, the 2007 budget allocates RM251 million [€54.15 million] for water supply projects, according to the Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce. And, by 2010, over RM21 billion [€4.53 billion] is expected to be invested in the water sector to upgrade and centralize water treatment plants, build dams, and replace and extend water pipelines and water-powered plants, reports organizers of ASIAWATER Expo & Forum, to be held 1-3 April, 2008, in Kuala Lumpur.

SINGAPORE: Hydranautics will provide 9,100 ESPA2+ membrane elements for the 148,000 m3/d secondary effluent wastewater plant in Singapore. Ulu Pandan is the fourth and largest NEWater project by the PUB (Public Utilities Board) designed to purify and reuse wastewater for industrial water applications. Hydranautics’ elements were selected for three of the four existing NEWater plants, including the Bedok and Kranji Water Reclamation Plants - which represent 72,000 m3/d of water recycling capacity.

JAPAN: Toray and GE Water & Process Technologies agreed to dissolve as of July 1 the Toray Membrane America (TMA) joint venture, based in Watertown, MA, created by Toray, Ionics Inc. and Mitsui in 2000. In its place, Toray announced a merging of TMA operations with Toray Membrane USA Inc. and a new manufacturing plant for its reverse osmosis membrane elements in Poway, CA. The new facility is comprised of a small office complex and 60,000 square feet of manufacturing floor-space.

CHINA: Dutch ultraviolet disinfection systems maker Berson UV-techniek has opened a sales office in Beijing. It will be managed by Berson’s Chinese Business Development Manager, Ying Xu, a Chinese national. Markets for Berson’s products include municipal water and wastewater treatment and reuse, industrial applications such as food and beverage, brewing, pharmaceuticals and aquaculture, as well as swimming pools and zoos.

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