National Water Week
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Eskom Research, Testing and Development (RT&D) has conducted a pilot project at Kendal Power Station in Mpumalanga, which looks at producing high quality drinking water.

According to the utility, the water resource will be supplied to the nearby town of Wilge and also save costs.

The pilot trial explored the feasibility of replacing chlorine gas, which is used at the water plant to produce potable water, with chlorine dioxide.

Kendal Power Station pilot

The South African parastatal explained that the chlorine gas chambers that are currently used have been classified as a major hazardous installation and the use of chlorine has proven to be problematic due to the lack of operational control, the lack of product efficiency and the added risk of health problems.

The chlorine dioxide eliminates strange odour and discoloration in water, making it taste better. It also eliminates the formation of Trihalomethanes (THM), which can cause cancer with prolonged ingestion.

Chlorine dioxide generation unit at Kendal Power Station for the project. Source: Eskom

Barry MacColl, General Manager Research, Testing and Development said: “For the trial, that lasted three months, Eskom RT&D used chlorine dioxide for disinfection and proved that it was a more efficient disinfection chemical.

“Since the trial, Kendal has been producing high quality potable water that meets South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and environmental protection agency (EPA) standards and can now supply the town of Wilge 15km away, with safe drinking water.”

The success of the trial has prompted a further trial which will test the assumption that chlorine dioxide as a pre-treatment chemical would result in more efficient organic removal and improve the overall efficiency of the water plant.

“The pilot can be beneficiary if implemented permanently as it can produce high quality drinking water that is safe for human consumption and at the same time, reduce the cost of potable water production,” MacColl said.