The treatment processes of industrial water and wastewater have the potential to significantly improve the existing systems in South Africa and indeed in Africa, Dr. Lester Goldman, CEO of the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) has said.
“Particularly the industrial sector offering the right technologies can significantly reduce water consumption in the country and thus can help ease the situation.
These technologies include dry ash handling, closed-loop ash recycling, chemical precipitation, biological treatment – such as anactivated sludgeprocess, membrane systems and evaporation-crystallization systems.
Technological advancements inion exchange membranes and electrodialysis systems have shown great efficiencies,too,” explains Goldman.
South Africa is among the thirty driest countries in the world. And the recent years’ droughts have further exacerbated the nation s water stress. Therefore, the South African Department of Water and Sanitation has begun to implement measures to expand existing water resources.
In addition to desalination, groundwater optimization and demand management, the short to long-term interventions include water conservation and optimized reuse. Especially the last two factors are also core elements in industrial water treatment, which IFAT Africa will be focusing on more than ever this year.
Mining: extracting pure water from Acid Mine Drainage
One of the major water problems in the mining industry in South Africa and neighboring countries is for example Acid Mine Drainage (AMD).
The extremely acidic wastewater highly contaminated with heavy metals is produced when abandoned shafts — especially gold mines — are flooded with water. The contaminants can also be washed out of spoil heaps.
International environmental technology suppliers will showcase various treatment technologies at IFAT Africa. Example: with its reverse osmosis membrane technology, specialty chemicals company Lanxess is able to extract pure water of drinking water quality from AMD.
“Due to the increasing industrialization in sub-Saharan Africa, we see interesting market potentials for Lanxessin this region,” says Gerhard Simon.
According to the Director Sales Western Europe/Sales Development EMEA in the Liquid Purification Technologies business unit of Lanxess, the economic growth in Africa has been stable at over five percent for years.
“By participating in IFAT Africa, we want to continue to increase our profile on the African continent, generate new customer contacts and find distribution partners with whom we want to grow together in this important region,” announces Simon.
But IFAT Africa participants will not only get information about environmental technologies for mining: for the first time, the two trade fairs analytica Lab Africa and food & drink technology Africa will be co-located with the South African IFAT subsidiary.
This co-location will offer further opportunities to exchange ideas with the chemical, pharmaceutical, beverage and food industries about potential cooperation and joint solutions in the fight against water stress in sub-Saharan Africa.
WISA is for the first time the institute is a partner of IFAT Africa, contributing various expert lectures to the specialized supporting program.