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IWRM in South Africa - LAR's mobile lab

South Africa is one of the emerging economies. The strong growth of industry and population increasingly influences the water resources in a negative way. To secure the sustainability and for the protection of water, international projects are being launched and innovative solutions are being developed.

LAR's mobile monitoring station

LAR's mobile monitoring station

Integrated water ressource management in South Africa – Innovative solutions for the protection of water in emerging economies

South Africa is one of the emerging economies. The strong growth of industry and population increasingly influences the water resources in a negative way. To secure the sustainability and for the protection of water, international projects are being launched and innovative solutions are being developed. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research sponsors projects that especially base on the cooperative partnership between industry and science such as the integrated water resource management (IWRM) pilot project in South Africa.

The IWRM refers to a region around the Middle Olifants, a river near of Pretoria. Its aim is to maximize the economic and social welfare in a fair way and in respect of the sustainability of vital ecosystems. This region is characterized by a large quantity of users with high water consumption. For the efficient, ecological and economical monitoring of water quality, analysis systems are required that are characterized by low costs of operation and environmental friendly methods.

Based on the high requirements of the project and the analysis of the local specific conditions (climate, working conditions, logistics, etc.), a suitable container was selected, constructed and equipped like a chemical laboratory. Additional facilities with protective measures such an alarm system are essential in this region. The mobile lab has an autonomous power supply and is ready for operation very fast. The laboratory is able to determine the most important sources of pollution and various water parameters, such as pH, conductivity and redox. Sumparameters such as TOC (total organic carbon), COD (chemical oxygen demand) and TNb (total bound nitrogen) are measured as well. Further LAR analysers determine the ammonia levels and toxicity. In addition the LAR QuickTOC analyser is equipped for the online operation as well as for individual measurements on site.

All analysers and sensors are part of one water cycle to enable the relevant reference of each parameter and measurement. The cycle starts with the sample taking through a submersible pump that is attached to a buoy. The submersible pump including the buoy is directly connected to the mobile laboratory container. In dependency of the samples` compostion and requirements, there are the following sample taking systems that may be used: The centrifugal separator (elimination of coarse contamination), the relaycontrolled sample taking system by WaterSam (additional control samples or reserve samples), and the patented LAR FlowSampler (enables the clogging-free sample taking).

The first field test of the mobile lab was a success. The measurement technology delivers accurate and reproduceable results, that are very significant and offer a reliable data base. The unique stand-alone character and the developed data transfer system of LAR, that provided measurement results directly via internet to the authorities and partners, are the biggest advantages for all participants. Authorities and project partners can use the results directly for further updates and evaluation.

The total organic carbon (TOC) is one of the most important sum parameters in the assessment of the organic pollution of water. Since it includes all carbon compounds as one mass, it is exactly defined and an absolute quantity. Therefore, it may be determined directly.

Read more about TOC measurement methods.

Total organic carbon analyzers of LAR Process Analysers AG

The chemical oxygen demand (COD) indicates the amount of oxygen which is needed for the oxidation of all organic substances in water and is thus an important indicator for water analysis. It is considered in the planning and controlling of treatment, as well as assessing its efficiency, thus forming the basis for the calculation of waste water charges.

The COD can be determined in laboratory or online, whereby these methods significantly differ in duration and consumables used.

Read more about COD measurement methods.

COD analyzers of LAR Process Analysers AG

The biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) indicates the amount of oxygen which is needed for the biological degradation of organic substances in water.

Since the generally used BOD5 excludes the nitrification part of the process, this parameter is poorly suited for the control of waste water treatment plants. Alternatively, the total BOD is well-suited, due to the determination of the nitrogen as well as the carbonaceous part of biological degradation.

Read more about the online measurement of BOD.

Toxicity is described as the direct harmful effect of a substance on organisms. These effects can already occur at low concentraions of toxic substances and are dependent on the incubation period and the dosage.

Some test methods that are available on the market can detect toxicity by using fish, daphnia, molluscs, algae or luminous bacteria and testing whether a water sample has a toxic effect on the organisms. They do not, however, identify exactly which toxins are present.

Read more about online toxicity measurements.

BOD / toxicity analyzers of LAR Process Analysers AG

The total nitrogen bound (TNb) shows the pollution of water caused by nitrogen compounds. Nitrogen may be present as ammonia, ammonium salts, nitrites, nitrates and organic nitrogen compounds.

In contrast to single measurements of the above-mentioned components, the TNb determination contains all these substances in a single analysis process.

Read more about online TNb measurements.

The total phosphorus (TP) is a sum parameter that shows the organic and inorganic phosphorus compounds in water. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for humans as well as flora and fauna. However, the substance – depending on its concentration– may cause serious damage.

Read more about online TP measurements.

TN TP analyzer of LAR Process Analysers AG