The City of Harare (CoH) is desperate for water purification chemicals as their supplies dwindle.
To name just one, the supply of the crucial aluminium sulphate compound to Morton Jaffray Water Works in Norton, has been erratic. Local producer Zimphos is unable to meet the 2,000 tonnes per month demand.
Speaking to Harare News, CoH quality assurance manager Teddy Mufuko said, “The shortage of this chemical locally means that CoH is being forced to procure all its water treatment chemicals from neighbouring countries at higher costs.” He said that activated carbon and sodium silicate are imported from China, with the remainder from regional sources.
However, in an exciting new development CoH, in conjunction with Australian water company Allunite Innovative Water Solutions Australia (AWISA), has conducted successful trials with the chemical alchlor gold. It acts as a coagulant – removing organic matter from water – and will likely see a dramatic reduction in the cost and quantity of chemicals needed at our water works.
CEO of AWISA, Ian Price, explained to Harare News that the use of alchlor gold will save the city nearly $400,000 on a monthly basis. For starters, the compound’s effectiveness in treating water would see it completely replace several of the current batch of chemicals used, chiefly aluminium sulphate, but also activated carbon, sodium silicate, and sulphuric acid. It also reduces the use of chlorine and lime.
Alchlor gold is non-corrosive, which makes it cheaper to store and transport, and as the subsequent sludge is non-toxic, environmentalists will be happy to know that the by product from water treatment can now be used as a fertiliser.
According to Mufuko, testing of alchlor gold using raw water from Lake Chivero yielded satisfactory results. AWISA is set to start shipping in January 2016.
This will bring some relief to the critically and seriously impeded water department who shell out between three and five million dollars a month, depending on the season and the levels of pollution in the lake which vary.
For those residents who do receive a share of the limited municipal supply, the promised improvement in water quality will be a welcome relief. Previously, Harare’s water has been condemned by experts as hazardous to drink, while residents complain bitterly about the taste and colour.