Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has commenced exploring the possibility of recycling the sludge which
remains after the treatment of water. The company commenced testing in June 2015 with the use of polymers and Geotextile containers, referred to as ‘Geotubes’.
The programme is being lead by GWI’s Scientific Services Department, and according to Senior Chemical Engineer, GWI, Deon Anderson, ‘the Geotubes are capable of thickening and dewatering the sludge by trapping solid constituents and separating the liquid component through the walls of the fabric, with the aid of a polymer’.
This provides a dry product (25-30% solids) that can be easily handled and disposed of; this process would allow GWI to dispose of the solid sludge in a more efficient manner.
In addition, the separated water, which was removed from the sludge, can be re-used in the treatment process. “Another benefit of using Geotubes is the possibility of re-using the filtrate, which is water removed from the sludge, in the treatment process.
90% of the sludge volume is reduced and recovered as filtrate”, Anderson explained, “in addition to this, about 8% of treated water which was once wasted through backwashing processes, can also be reused in the treatment process, thus recovering significant costs”.
According to Anderson, the use of the Geotubes is the most environmentally-friendly option that GWI is currently exploring to manage the sludge which remains after the water treatment process. “Indeed, Geotubes are the most feasible option, they offer the best economic benefits with high quality filtrate for recycle. This new technology also allows GWI to continue to be in compliance with the environment protection policies and guidelines,” the Senior Chemical Engineer stated.
The uses of the Geotubes are also in line with GWI’s sustainable management practices as they allow for the water removed from the sludge to be re-used in the treatment process.
The Geotubes, which are currently being tested for effectiveness by GWI at the company’s Shelter-Belt Water Treatment Facility in Georgetown, are supplied by Tencate, a multinational company established in Almelo, Netherlands.
The investment by GWI to employ the use of Geotubes would cost in excess of G$5 Million, which is the most cost-effective option the company has explored with regard to the disposal of sludge.
Anderson also noted that “based on the supplier’s design of the Geotube units, 2-4 Geotubes would be recommended to treat the required amount of sludge, which would cost GWI US$5000 per tube”.
The initiative would provide GWI with a more effective method of disposal; one that does not require the need to release significant amounts of sludge into the Irving Street Canal.
Meanwhile, the bulk of the sludge that has created discomfort for residents residing along Church Street and its immediate environs should no longer be a problem come March of this year, according to GWI CEO Dr. Richard Van West-Charles.
He told this publication that two permanent plans are in train to ensure the complete cessation of sludge entering the canals from the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI)’s Shelter Belt.
Dr. Van West-Charles, following a meeting between City Hall officials, including the Town Clerk and GWI officials, regarding several matters of concern to both parties in the interest of the Nation’s capital, gave this assurance following an invited comment.
“We are working collaboratively with the City Council to clear any blockages that exist, and in terms of the sludge problem, ensure that sludge will no longer move into the canal.”
He said that GWI will soon be importing new technology that will keep the sludge, which is 95 percent water, within the GWI compound.
“We have a process whereby we will be reusing and recycling the water to further purify it.”
While he could not offer a total cost for the project, the CEO said that both GWI and City Hall have agreed to share the price tag after some finalization of figures.
In December, the M&CC met with officials of Guyana Water Incorporated to address the continuous deposit of silt in the Irving Street, Church Street and North Road canals.
Citizens, who live in proximity, constantly complained about the deposit of sludge by the water company. The Church Street canal was recently desilted, according to City Hall, however the continuous deposit of sludge by the water company has resulted in a steady siltation of the canals.
City Engineer Colvern Venture, in a recent statement had explained that constant desilting of the Church Street canal can have negative effects on the viability of roads in the area.
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