Water quality at Eccles Plant surpasses WHO standards

Water Quality innovationhas resulted in the water produced by Guyana Water Incorporated’s Eccles Water Treatment Plant exceeding World Health Organization (WHO) standards. 

Over 2500 households in Eccles and surrounding areas on the East Bank of Demerara are now benefiting from significantly improved water quality following improvement works conducted at the plant. 

GWI’s Head of Water Quality, Dr. Deon Anderson explained that the WHO standard for drinking-water quality is 0.3 milligrams of iron per litre of water. Testing has recorded an average of 0.1 milligrams of iron per litre of water.

GWI’s Head of Water Quality, Dr. Deon Anderson

It was required that GWI achieve 86 per cent iron removal in order to reach the WHO standard. Water quality testing has indicated that this target has been surpassed with samples ranging from 90 to 97 per cent iron removal.

The iron content throughout the Eccles community prior to this intervention was 1.9 milligrams per litre which was more than 6 times the required levels, thus resulting in discoloured water

The current Government would have inherited an aged filtration system which was out of operation for the past three years. The re-engineering of the treatment process at the facility which was conducted over the last three months was therefore required to provide residents with improved water quality.  

The filters at the facility were modified to facilitate the introduction of Manganese Dioxide filter media. Manganese Dioxide is a naturally occurring ore which performs the dual function of oxidizing iron and filtering it out of the water.

Resident drinking water from tap

Previously, the Silica sand media was used and that only performed the function of filtering. The iron had to be oxidized using chlorine. With this innovation in water quality at GWI, the use of chlorine has now been minimised at the Eccles plant.

The new system at the plant, which treats 7.4 mega litres of water per day, became fully operational on Tuesday, 5th January, 2021 and the results have exceeded the expectations of management.

GWI laboratory personnel were placed at the Eccles mini laboratory on a 24 hour basis (via a shift system) to facilitate testing of the water after each stage of the treatment process, on an hourly basis. Samples were also taken from the distribution network in Eccles to monitor the water quality received at customers’ homes. 

The laboratory analysis was instrumental in determining the effectiveness of the filters, the operational efficiency and its performance. GWI’s Technical services team also played a major role in the improvement works.

The success of this innovative and cost-effective filtration method is evident in the water quality now being received by residents of Eccles, Bagotstown, Republic Park, Nandy Park, Republic Gardens and Windsor Estate.

Once such resident is Mr. Raldon Boyle who has been residing in ‘BB’ Eccles for seven years. He said that the water quality he was receiving was less than desirable but over the past two weeks he has seen great improvement.  He alluded to changing his water filters less even as he expressed gratitude to GWI for the intervention.

Ms. Timeka Arthur, also of ‘BB’ Eccles, said that she has been drinking the water from her tap and over the last month she has noticed that the water is clearer.

Proprietor of Flambouyant Supermarket, Mr. Khrishna Brasse noted that compared to the water quality he was receiving a few months ago, he has seen significant improvement. He explained that he has even filled a bottle of water and has left it standing for weeks and it is still very clear. Brass thanked the GWI team for the work done to allow for this improvement.

Ms. Kimberly Ramrattan of ‘AA’ Eccles expressed similar sentiments, while noting that the water no longer has a “rust scent” and is clearer. She added that the water quality is good enough for drinking purposes.

Ms. Devala Persaud of Republic Gardens said that just over three weeks now she has observed that the water quality in her community has improved, particularly with regard to sediments in the water. She added that it is her view that the water is now drinkable. GWI will be moving to replicate this filtration system at the Grove and Covent Garden Water Treatment Plants.