Fluoride Action Network

Solar-powered water purifiers fight fluorosis in African villages

Source: EcoSeed Information Network | September 9th, 2011
Location: Senegal

Solar-powered water filtration systems will be deployed in villages in Senegal to help mitigate the high rate of fluorosis, the very high concentration of fluoride leading to tooth and bone decay, among locales.

Filtration, separation and purification company Pall Corp. developed a new solar-powered water filtration system, which is particularly important in places like Senegal where the majority of the population does not have access to electricity.

The water filtration system or the Pall Aria Pure unit is cost-effective, portable and easy-to-use and make use of low-pressure reverse osmosis system engineered for removing total dissolved solids including fluoride from sources such as well water.

Fluoride is used for preventing tooth decay. But too much of it leads to the health condition dental fluorosis, which can lead to severe conditions in certain cases.

The system incorporates Pall Disc Tube module technology, where a stack of discs cleanses and enhances the system’s performance. The system requires no pre-treatment or chemicals for the operation.

It has a built-in maintenance system which enables effective membrane cleaning and maintenance.

The solar-powered water filtration systems will be operational in October, which are expected to provide clean water for 3,000 residents in the African villages of Ndiaffate and Dankh Sene. The filtered water will be 98 percent fluoride-free.

The system can produce up to 500 liters of pure and clean water every hour.

The installation of the said system is the climax of the 18-month pilot test. The test involved more than 1,000 hours of on-site trial under harsh conditions.

“The system we designed for Ndiaffate is simple, robust, reliable, and fully independent, enabling it to serve an urgent need for a community that is not on the power grid. The success of our solar-powered Pall Aria Pure membrane system is a potential model for other communities in developing countries,” Pall Energy & Water president Greg Collins said.

Pall will deliver three additional Pall Aria Pure systems to Ndiaffate and Dank Sene villages this month under the Senegalese Water Ministry’s PEPAM Drinking Water and Sanitation Program for the Millennium, which is supported by Belgium Technical Cooperation.

Pall will collaborate with Senegal-based engineering company Tereau Sarl for the commissioning, start-up, and maintenance of the units, as well as training of the operators.

“The launch of the Pall Aria Pure unit in Dakar was considered an extremely significant development by the Senegalese government and the community,” Pall Water Processing Business Development vice president Michel Farcy.

“Pall is gratified to provide a solution that enables developing communities to solve an escalating public health issue that can be easily controlled at the source with solar-powered membrane systems,” he added.

A study conducted by the University of Dakar found that there are high concentrations of fluoride ions in Senegal underground waters. (K.D. Mariano)