Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Water SA]]> vol. 37 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Determination of persistent cyclic organochlorine residues in sediment slurry by microporous membrane liquid-liquid extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry</b>]]> A method, using microporous membrane liquid-liquid extraction technique (MMLLE) and gas chromatography with an electron capture detector (GC-ECD) and gas chromatograph coupled to a mass spectrometer, was developed for the analysis of cyclic organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in sediment slurry. The MMLLE extraction employed isooctane as the organic liquid that was immobilised in the hollow fibre pores and in the lumen, at optimal sample pH value of 2.0 for OCPs and 7 for PCBs. The effect of triton x-100, in enhancing the dissolution of the compounds from sediment, was found to be optimal at a value of 0.15%, while the ionic strength was optimal at a value of 0.01 M. Samples from coastlines along the Indian Ocean in the southern parts of South Africa were found to be contaminated with cis and trans chlordane at concentrations of up to 0.003 mg/kg, while samples from northern parts were contaminated with 2,2',4',4-tetrachloro-1,1'biphenyl at concentrations of up to 0.02 mg/kg. <![CDATA[<b>Application of phycoremediation technology in the treatment of wastewater from a leather-processing chemical manufacturing facility</b>]]> Phycoremediation is the use of algae for the removal or biotransformation of pollutants from wastewater. Employing this technology in the treatment of industrial effluents presents an alternative to the current practice of using conventional methods, including physical and chemical methods. In the present study, the effluent from a leather-processing chemical manufacturing facility, situated at Ranipet, Tamil Nadu, India, was treated using the microalga, Chlorella vulgaris, which was isolated from the effluent itself. The objective of this study was to treat the effluent as well as ETP (effluent treatment plant) solid waste by phycoremediation (pilot-scale field study as well as laboratory study) and to analyse the physico-chemical parameters before and after treatment. The results obtained showed that Chlorella vulgaris exhibited appreciable nutrient scavenging properties under both laboratory and field conditions, although phycoremediation carried out in sunlight (field study) gave better results. Moreover, the growth of Chlorella vulgaris was faster under field conditions. <![CDATA[<b>Biodegradation characterisation and kinetics of <i>m</i>-cresol by <i>Lysinibacillus cresolivorans</i></b>]]> A novel strain of m-cresol-degrading bacterium, named as Lysinibacillus cresolivorans, was isolated from aerobic sludge from a coking wastewater treatment plant. This bacterium is able to utilise m-cresol as its sole source of carbon and energy. The optimal pH for growth is 6.8 ~ 7.3 and the optimal temperature is 35ºC. Compared to organic nitrogen sources, inorganic nitrogen sources were easily utilised for the m-cresol biodegradation. The degradation rate of m-cresol at different starting concentrations was analysed with zero-order kinetic characteristics. When the initial concentration of m-cresol was 224.2 mg·ℓ-1, the reaction rate reached a maximum at 46.80 mg·(ℓ·h)-1.The cell growth kinetics was also investigated with initial m-cresol concentrations varying from 0 to 1 200 mg·ℓ-1. The growth kinetics was well described by the Haldane kinetic models. The parameter values of m-cresol on cell growth were µmax = 0.89 h-1, Ks = 426.25 mg·ℓ-1, Ki = 51.26 mg·ℓ-1. Experiments supplementing growth with glucose indicated that this substrate increased the biomass, and also induced the biodegradation of m-cresol. From the results, it can be concluded that Lysinibacillus cresolivorans is an efficient m-cresoldegrading bacterium and that glucose plays multiple roles in the co-substrate condition. <![CDATA[<b>Application of the mixture design to decolourise effluent textile wastewater using continuous stirred bed reactor</b>]]> Important pollutants in textile effluents are mainly recalcitrant organics, colours, toxicants and inhibitory compounds, surfactants, chlorinated compounds (AOX), pH and salts. An aerobic system using a continuous stirred bed reactor (SBR) was continuously operated at constant temperature and fed with textile wastewater (pH 7 and total chemical oxygen demand (COD) 1 700 mg/ℓ).This report is focused on the decolourisation treatment of effluent by a bacterial consortium (Sphingomonas paucimobilis, Bacillus sp. and filamentous bacteria). The influence of the different mixtures of 3 strains on the decolourisation of effluent (cell density fixed at OD600 = 1) was studied using an equilateral triangle diagram and mixture experimental design to assess colour and COD removal during species evolution. With the aid of analysis software (Minitab 14.0), the formulation of pure culture was optimised for several responses and the best formulation obtained. The results suggested that the highest predictable specific decolourisation rate and chemical oxygen demand (COD) were 86.72% and 75.06%, respectively. Regression coefficients between the variables and the responses of decolourisation and COD removal were, respectively, R² = 72.48% and 54.28%, which indicated excellent evaluation of experimental data by the polynomial regression model. UV-visible analysis confirmed biodegradation of effluent. <![CDATA[<b>Comparison between a two-stage and single-stage digesters when treating a synthetic wastewater contaminated with phenol</b>]]> Phenol is a pollutant found in many industrial wastewaters, which diminishes biogas formation in anaerobic digesters. In this study, a two-stage (acidogenic and methanogenic) anaerobic digester (TSAD) was compared to a single stage digester (SSD), in treating a synthetic wastewater contaminated with phenol. Both systems were operated in batch-dilution and semi-continuously at 35ºC, and were loaded with a synthetic wastewater containing a constant concentration of readily biodegradable organic matter and an increasing concentration of phenol. The TSAD had greater biogas production, and its acidogenic reactor fermented the readily biodegradable matter without inhibition by accumulation of phenol (up to 1 450 mg·ℓ-1). The acidogenic reactor also prevented inhibition of biogas formation in the second phase (methanogenic), by holding phenol and fast produced organic acids. Batch TSAD is a potential wastewater treatment option to decontaminate streams containing readily biodegradable matter contaminated with phenol. This system enhances biogas production and allows better control of the acidogenic and methanogenic phases. <![CDATA[<b>The electro-oxidation of lignin in Sappi Saiccor dissolving pulp mill effluent</b>]]> Electro-oxidation reactions using a nickel anode were carried out on the calcium-spent liquor effluent obtained from Sappi Saiccor (formerly South African Industrial Cellulose Corporation) dissolving pulp mill as well as on lignin- and lignan-type compounds previously identified in the effluent. Voltammograms were obtained for each solution in order to identify the oxidation potentials of the compounds to be electro-oxidised. Value-added products such as vanillin and syringaldehyde were identified in the electro-oxidised reaction mixtures using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Profiles of the changes in concentration of these compounds were determined as a function of time with maximum concentrations reached within the first half hour. These findings are significant in that few electro-oxidation reactions have been carried out on the effluent of a pulp mill which uses the acid bisulphite pulping process and no results have previously been reported on the electro-oxidation of syringaldehyde. This study contributes to a further understanding of the electro-oxidation of lignin and is of value to the paper and pulp industry at large. Reduction of the organic content of the effluent by electro-oxidation was shown to be possible. <![CDATA[<b>Removal of nickel from wastewater using an agricultural adsorbent</b>]]> Chemical wastewater streams may contain toxic compounds which are non-biodegradable, and therefore require advanced treatment techniques such as adsorption. However, application of adsorption processes is often limited by the cost of adsorbents. In this study, the adsorption capacity of a low-cost adsorbent (pine sawdust) was investigated by treating wastewater containing nickel (II) and other heavy metal ions. Results were analysed using response surface methodology and a factorial design was employed to determine the interactive effects of the various factors on the adsorption capacity. Furthermore, Langmuir and Freundlich adsorption isotherms were fitted to experimental data to characterise the adsorption of the nickel ions by the pine sawdust. As a result, the highest adsorption capacity was attained at the combined effect of low adsorbent dose, high pH and high initial concentration. On the other hand, the Freundlich isotherm fitted the experimental data better than the Langmuir isotherm. Results of this study indicate that the use of pine sawdust could be a promising solution to the elimination of nickel ions from multi-component aqueous solutions. <![CDATA[<b>Ecology, water and enterprise development in selected rural South African towns</b>]]> South Africa's imperatives for rural development and job creation raise the question whether water abundance in a region results in improved enterprise development in rural towns. The enterprise assemblages of 2 groups of towns, a river group from water-abundant areas and a Great Karoo group from the arid heartland of South Africa, were examined using a variety of different methods based on approaches used frequently in ecology. The comparisons included factors such as the ages of towns, clusters of towns and enterprise diversity. Although some hints were obtained that water abundance favoured enterprise development positively, the null hypothesis that water abundance would not influence enterprise development positively could not be rejected. Several lessons were learnt: there are regularities in enterprise development whether in water-abundant or water-scarce areas; these regularities are understandable in terms of recent economic thinking as well as old concepts such as 'threshold populations'; money is the basic driver of enterprise success and more enterprises in one town than another reflects differences in the amount of money entering and/or circulating in towns; 'entrepreneurial space' in certain business sectors is used very effectively by 'run-of-the-mill entrepreneurs'; towns will give rise to different types of businesses and in proportion to the needs of the customers present in the towns; the degree of utilisation of certain business sectors differs statistically significantly between clusters of towns; and approaches and tools used effectively in the study of ecology offer many advantages for the study of enterprise development dynamics in towns, which are 'enterprise ecosystems'. The mere presence of abundant water in a region does not automatically translate into enterprise development in towns. Entrepreneurial development should focus on ways and means to increase the flow of money into towns and not merely on its circulation within communities. <![CDATA[<b>Is science enough? Examining ways of understanding, coping with and adapting to storm risks in Johannesburg</b>]]> Planning for current and future climate risks depends on more than early warning signals and technical climate information. The management and enabling of effective risk approaches, we argue, is shaped by complex contextual settings. These contexts are shaped by decisions including: What climate risks are prioritised? Who makes decisions about risk response interventions and how do they make these decisions? This preliminary study uses observed changes in storm events in the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) and the City's Climate Change Adaptation Plan as a lens through which the scope of such contexts and decisions can be interrogated. The study is used as a springboard from which to begin a dialogue on interactive approaches to adaptation and response planning for current and future climate change. We suggest that this dialogue may be required for a more proactive disaster-risk approach in the city. The major focus of the paper includes a statistical analysis of historical weather data from the OR Tambo Weather Station, located in close proximity to the city. Significant trends are identified in the frequency and intensity of thunderstorms for the period 1960-2009. This preliminary assessment shows some similarities with emerging climate change projections that suggest that heavy rainfall events may become more frequent and intense. The preliminary results presented here also concur with the recent findings contained in the CoJ's Climate Change Adaptation Plan (2009). While the study is in no way substantive and few wider generalisations and strong conclusions can be drawn from it, the study does provide a useful starting point for considering possible planning interventions. The potential value of using science and information from studies, such as this, is highlighted along with the possible ways in which such science can interact with and help inform a comprehensive planning agenda in the City. Finally, the paper calls for more attention to be paid to the contributions and perceptions of community awareness and understanding of climate risks. <![CDATA[<b>The challenges facing sustainable and adaptive groundwater management in South Africa</b>]]> Long-term population growth and economic development are placing ever-increasing pressure on South Africa's freshwater supply. On the basis of the current climate change predictions, which often entail uncertain consequences for aquifer systems and the associated groundwater goods and services, it is expected that the stress on water will increase even further. Currently, South Africa's groundwater governance regime does not provide the capacity to assure effective and sustainable resource regulation and allocation. To date, the management of groundwater is hampered by a variety of uncertainties, such as global climate change and socio-economic growth, as well as ineffective governance structures affecting resource use, regulation, protection and the implementation of alternative strategies needed to achieve sustainable management. This paper presents the results of a qualitative assessment of interviews conducted with experts in South Africa. Four key challenges are identified to the development of adaptive and sustainable groundwater management and the successful implementation of current water legislation in South Africa. These are: the undervaluation of groundwater importance and significance; the need for expertise and information at all scales; the centralisation of power; and the disregard of ecosystems and the associated goods and services. As a means to tackle these challenges, it has been assumed that the concept of adaptive water management represents a suitable approach to governing groundwater resources, by taking into account complex system linkages between hydrogeological, political, socio-economic and environmental domains. Supporting principles, such as tools for cooperation, participation and information networks, have been developed to facilitate the implementation of adaptive water management approaches and hence to achieve institutional change in the political arena of groundwater management. <![CDATA[<b>Learning to manage quality in a multiple reservoir system</b>: <b>contribution of a companion modelling approach</b>]]> The development of water policies based on integrated water management principles promotes the development of multistakeholder platforms to manage water resources at catchment level. This is the case of the Alto-Tietê watershed, the urban catchment encompassing the São Paulo metropolis in Brazil. The dynamic pattern of peri-urban areas characterised by rapid major changes has led to complex management issues in which the quantity and quality dimensions of water are intertwined. Effective participation of a broad spectrum of stakeholders supposes that actors from different technical backgrounds have a better understanding of the social and biophysical interactions of the system concerned. This paper describes the role of participatory modelling and simulation as a way to provide a meaningful framework to enable actors to understand the interdependencies in peri-urban catchment management. A role-playing game, connecting the quantitative and qualitative dynamics of the resources with social interactions at catchment level, was developed and tested with members of the catchment committee. Monitoring of the sessions underlined the role of such a tool in learning about collective water management. <![CDATA[<b>Influence of land-use patterns on benthic diatom communities and water quality in the tropical Monjolinho hydrological basin, São Carlos-SP, Brazil</b>]]> The objective of this study was to determine the effects of land-use patterns on both diatom community composition and water quality in tropical streams during the dry season. Benthic diatom collections and water quality sampling were done 4 times at 10 sites. A suite of environmental variables that varied with human land-use pattern was assessed to find the combination of variables that best explained patterns of diatom community composition. Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) was used to determine environmental gradients along which species were distributed. A clear relationship between both benthic diatom communities and water quality and land-use pattern was observed with species richness, diversity and evenness, decreasing significantly from the agricultural and forest area to the urban area. Upstream, forested, agricultural sites, with good water quality (BOD5 = 0.9 to 2.6 mg·ℓ-1, DO = 6.8 to 8.2 mg·ℓ-1, phosphate = >2 to 4.7 µg·ℓ-1), were characterised by Thalassiosira weissflogii, Orthoseira dentroteres, Meridion anceps, Melosira varians, Diatoma spp, Diadesmis contenta, Eunotia papillo, E. bilunaris, E. intermedia, E. sudetica, Aulacoseira alpigena, A. ambigua, Cymbopleura naviculiformis and Stauroneis phoenicenteron. Urban sites, with medium to bad water quality (BOD5 = ~7 mg·ℓ-1, DO = ~7 mg·ℓ-1, phosphate = 12.6 to 83.1 µg·ℓ-1), were characterised by Diadesmis dissimilis, Frustulia rhomboids, Nitzschia scalaris, Nitzschia linearis, Cyclotella pseudostelligera Neidium ampliatum, N. affine, Encyonema silesiacum, E. neomesianum, Aulacoseira granulata, Navicula cryptotenella, Pinnularia legumen, P. gibba, P. divergens, Surirella linearis, S. robusta, and Achnanthidium minutissimum. Downstream urban sites, with very bad water quality (BOD5 = 19.5 to 26.2 mg·ℓ-1, DO = 0.4 to 1.9 mg·ℓ-1, phosphate = 142.5 to 248.7 µg·ℓ-1), were characterised by Gomphonema parvulum, G. accuminatum, Nitzschia palea, Nupela praecipua, Sellaphora pupula, Planotidium lanceolata, Fallacia monoculata and Pinnularia subcapitata. Diatom communities demonstrated potential for acting as indicators of changes in water quality due to changes in catchment land-use patterns. <![CDATA[<b>The decline of the Nile crocodile population in Loskop Dam, Olifants River, South Africa</b>]]> The apparent decline in the number of Nile crocodiles present in the Loskop Dam prompted a study to determine the number, size and distribution of Nile crocodiles now present in the reservoir. The number of crocodiles in the Loskop Dam was surveyed using aerial counts and spotlight counts. Surveys revealed the presence of a very low total number of crocodiles and also a poor distribution of crocodiles in the different size classes over almost 30 years since 1981. Eight surveys carried out between 2001 and 2010 revealed that the distribution pattern of crocodiles in the Loskop Dam did not vary between winter and summer. These distribution patterns indicate that crocodiles occur most frequently in the eastern and western inlets and not in the main basin of the dam. Thirteen crocodiles were re-introduced into the dam during March 2007; however the August 2009 spotlight survey results indicated that none of these animals had survived. <![CDATA[<b>A comparison between the fixture unit approach and Monte Carlo simulation for designing water distribution systems in high-rise buildings</b>]]> The fixture unit approach with an arbitrarily assumed reference flow rate is commonly used for the estimation of probable maximum simultaneous demand in many building water systems. This study evaluates such estimations for some high-rise buildings in terms of various reference flow rates. The estimation accuracies are analysed against Monte Carlo simulations with which no reference flow rate is assumed. The results reveal that the traditionally assumed reference flow rate (10 ℓ·s-1) for demand analysis should be increased to 250 ℓ·s-1 for high-rise water systems in a dense built environment similar to Hong Kong. <![CDATA[<b>Variation of stream power with seepage in sand-bed channels</b>]]> Downward seepage (suction) increases the mobility of the channel. In this study, experimental investigations were carried out to analyse the suction effect on stream power along the downstream side of the flume. It was observed that stream power has a major influence on the stability and mobility of the bed particles, due to suction. Stream power is found to be greater at the upstream side and lower at the downstream side. This reduces the increment in the mobility of the sand particles due to suction at the downstream side. Thus, there is more erosion at the upstream side than the downstream side. It was also found that the amount of deposition of sand particles at the downstream side, because of the high stream power at the upstream side, is greater than the amount of erosion of sand particles from the downstream side. <![CDATA[<b>River modelling to infer flood management framework</b>]]> River hydraulic models have successfully identified the weaknesses and areas for improvement with respect to flooding in the Sarawak River system, and can also be used to support decisions on flood management measures. Often, the big question is 'how'. This paper demonstrates a theoretical flood management framework inferred from Sarawak River modelling outputs. The river model simulates the movement of flood waters through river reaches. Information on flood levels and overtopping of embankments is used to guide a flood early warning system. The above-mentioned elements were combined in a logical framework that showed logic sequences and impact indicators for improved flood relief activities in the city of Kuching, Malaysia. <![CDATA[<b>A new method for the determination of water quality</b>]]> The aim of this study was to develop and test a novel screening method for determining water quality. We hypothesised that L-ascorbic acid would be a good indicator of water quality, due to its sensitivity to pollutants. We investigated the absorption spectra of L-ascorbic acid dissolved at different concentrations in water from different sources. We defined a water quality index (WQI) as the change in maximum L-ascorbic acid absorbance at 265 nm over two arbitrarily chosen time periods, i.e. between the 1st and 10th minutes and 1st and 20th minutes. We found that a high WQI value was significantly associated with low water quality, and vice versa. The proposed technique is a quick, simple and inexpensive method for obtaining a preliminary estimate of water quality. <![CDATA[<b>Lloyd (2010) Historical trends in the flows of the Breede River (<i>Water SA</i> 36 (3) 329-333)</b>]]> The aim of this study was to develop and test a novel screening method for determining water quality. We hypothesised that L-ascorbic acid would be a good indicator of water quality, due to its sensitivity to pollutants. We investigated the absorption spectra of L-ascorbic acid dissolved at different concentrations in water from different sources. We defined a water quality index (WQI) as the change in maximum L-ascorbic acid absorbance at 265 nm over two arbitrarily chosen time periods, i.e. between the 1st and 10th minutes and 1st and 20th minutes. We found that a high WQI value was significantly associated with low water quality, and vice versa. The proposed technique is a quick, simple and inexpensive method for obtaining a preliminary estimate of water quality.