Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Water SA]]> vol. 49 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Prevalence of free-living acanthamoeba and its associated bacteria in energy-efficient hot water systems in South Africa</b>]]> As part of the Eskom rebate programme, energy-efficient hot water systems such as solar water heaters (low pressure), heat pumps and energy-efficient showerheads were rolled out to the public as a measure to conserve and save energy. There has been a concern that these systems may not reach the required high temperatures, especially during winter, and, as a result of this, Acanthamoeba and its associated bacteria such as Legionella pneumophila, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and nontuberculous mycobacteria could flourish within these systems causing a potential health risk to consumers. This study examined the relationship between Acanthamoeba and its associated bacteria at different temperature ranges. A total of 156 water (69) and biofilm samples (87) were collected from a solar water heater, heat pump, geyser and showerheads and examined for these organisms using amoebal enrichment and molecular techniques. Amoeba could be cultivated from 45 (65.2%) of the water samples and 56 (64.4%) of the biofilm samples. The study confirmed the presence of Legionella pneumophila, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and nontuberculous mycobacteria in the hot water systems at both of the simulated winter (20°C to 30°C) and higher summer (40°C to 55°C) temperatures as well as the control system. There was a significant positive correlation between the presence of Acanthamoeba and the presence of Pseudomonas. Based on this association it is suggested that Pseudomonas aeruginosa could be investigated as an indicator organism for the presence of Acanthamoeba and opportunistic pathogens. <![CDATA[<b>The potential of decentralised wastewater treatment in urban and rural sanitation in South Africa: lessons learnt from a demonstration-scale DEWATS within the eThekwini Municipality</b>]]> The design principles of decentralised wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS) make them a practical sanitation option for municipalities to adopt in fast-growing cities in South Africa. Since 2014, a demonstration-scale DEWATS with a modular design consisting of a settler, anaerobic baffled reactor (ABR), anaerobic filter (AF), vertical down-flow constructed wetland (VFCW) and horizontal flow constructed wetland (HFCW) has been in operation in eThekwini. A performance evaluation after the long-term operation was undertaken in 2019 by comparing the final effluent with national regulatory requirements. Despite limitations in characterising the raw wastewater, a comparison of the settler and final effluent quality indicated high (> 85%) removal efficiencies of total chemical oxygen demand (CODt), ammonium-N (NH4-N) and orthophosphate-P (PO4-P), 75% removal of total suspended solids (TSS) and 83.3% log10 removal of Escherichia coli. Lack of exogenous and endogenous carbon and high dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations (> 0.5 mg-L-1) inhibited denitrification in the HFCW, resulting in 12.5% of the effluent samples achieving compliance for nitrate-N (NO3-N). Moreover, mixed aggregate media and low residence times in the HFCW may have also contributed to poor NO3-N removal. During the COVID-19 lockdown, an unexpected shutdown and subsequent resumption of flow to the DEWATS indicated a 16-week recovery time based on achieving full nitrification in the HFCW. Although design modifications are necessary for the HFCW, the installation of urine diversion flushing toilets at the household level will reduce the nutrient loading to the DEWATS and potentially achieve fully compliant effluent. Alternatively, the application of two-stage vertical flow constructed wetlands to improve denitrification should also be explored in the South African context. With an improved design, DEWATS has the potential to fill the gap in both urban and rural sanitation in South Africa, where waterborne sanitation is still desired but connections to conventional wastewater treatment works (WWTWs) are not possible. <![CDATA[<b>Application of biopolymer in turbidity removal and sludge settling behaviour of travertine-processing wastewater: Performance optimization using response surface methodology (RSM)</b>]]> A flocculation process was performed to treat travertine-processing effluents with a high concentration of suspended solids using an eco-friendly biopolymer. The experiments were conducted through a standard jar test procedure to optimize the process parameters for sludge volume index (SVI) and turbidity removal. The effects of mixing time, suspension pH, and polymer dosage on treatment efficiency were investigated using central composite design, a standard technique in response surface methodology. The constructed response model was tested using the analysis of variance (ANOVA). Using the Design-Expert tool, the coefficients of regression models were computed. The Fischer value (F-value) was used to evaluate the significance and validity of the predicted model, while the coefficient of determination (R²) was applied to estimate the model significance by comparing the predicted data with the measured data. The optimized parameters obtained were polymer dose of 276.20 mg/L, suspension pH of 8.60, and mixing time of 4.20 min. The optimal SVI and turbidity values obtained were 1.36 mL/g and 2.99 NTU, respectively. Additionally, R² values for SVI and turbidity were determined as 0.9337 and 0.8654, respectively. Also, the difference between adjusted R² values and predicted R² was less than 0.2. Validation tests showed that the response surface methodology is an effective method for optimizing the flocculation mechanism. <![CDATA[<b>Forward osmosis treatment of thermal evaporator brine stream</b>]]> Forward osmosis technology was evaluated for treating evaporator brine stream from a petrochemical industry at bench scale using ammonium bicarbonate as a draw solution. Calcium carbonate scaling that forms from the interaction between the calcium ions in the feed solution and carbonate ions from the draw solution (reverse salt diffusion) leads to the reduction in water flux and water recoveries achievable (feed TDS concentration of -60 000 mg-L-1, calcium -545 mg-L-1 and draw solution (ammonium bicarbonate) concentration of-240 000 mg-L-1). Fouling can be prevented by softening the feedwater before it is treated in forward osmosis. Without calcium and magnesium, permeate fluxes and water recoveries of up to 6L m-2·h-1 and 60%, respectively, could be achieved. It was also observed in this study that the concentration of the calcium ions in the feed does have an impact on the formation of the calcium carbonate scale, implying that some hardness can be tolerated in the feed to the forward osmosis process. It can, therefore, be concluded that without some hardness removal, ammonium bicarbonate draw solution is not suitable for treating concentrated brine streams (e.g., evaporator brine) that contain a high concentration of calcium ions. FO technology using ammonium bicarbonate as a draw solution can be considered an alternative technology to treat concentrated brine streams from inland industries, provided some pre-treatment to remove scaling precursors such as calcium is incorporated in the flow scheme. <![CDATA[<b>Adsorptive removal of BTEX compounds from wastewater using activated carbon derived from macadamia nut shells</b>]]> In this study, adsorptive removal of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX) from synthetic water using activated carbon adsorbent derived from macadamia nut shells was investigated. The surface functional groups of the synthesized adsorbents were assessed by Fourier transform infrared spectra. The specific surface area, pore size and pore volume at 77 K nitrogen adsorption, surface morphology, and the crystalline structure of the adsorbents were determined using Brunauer-Emmett-Teller, scanning electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction, respectively. Batch adsorption mode was used to evaluate the performance of the activated carbon. The stock solutions of synthetic wastewater were prepared by dissolving 100 mg/L of each of the BTEX compound into distilled water in a 250 mL volumetric flask. Effect of initial concentration of BTEX compounds, contact time, and mass of adsorbent on the removal of BTEX compounds from the synthetic wastewater was investigated. The macadamia nut shell-derived activated carbon (MAC) proved to be an effective adsorbent for BTEX compounds, with a large surface area of 405.56 m²/g. The exposure time to reach equilibrium for maximum removal of BTEX was observed to be 20 min. The adsorption capacity of the BTEX compounds by MAC followed the following adsorption order: benzene > toluene > ethylbenzene > xylene. <![CDATA[<b>Using Landsat satellite imagery to monitor the spatial and temporal dynamics of aquatic weed extent in Lakes Chivero and Manyame, located in an urban catchment of Zimbabwe</b>]]> This study quantified the spatial and temporal variation of aquatic weeds in two lakes in an urban catchment of Zimbabwe using the automatic water extraction index (AWEI) and normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) derived from Landsat satellite data from 1986 to 2020. Extent of aquatic weeds estimated using AWEI in Lake Chivero increased from less than 1 km² (4%) in 1986 to 7 km² (27%) in 2020. NDVI-based aquatic weed estimation gave the least spatial extent in the first few years. Similarly, in Lake Manyame aquatic weeds occupied ~62 ha (<1% in 1986) before reaching a peak extent of 60 km² (~70%) in 1995, based on AWEI estimates. NDVI-derived aquatic weed extent ranged from less than 2 km² in 1997 to a maximum of 56.12 km² in 1994. Although AWEI and NDVI estimated similar extents, NDVI had higher estimates than AWEI. A non-significant positive trend in aquatic weed extent was detected for Lake Manyame based on AWEI (Mann-Kendal tau = 0.139, s = 69, p = 0.27) and NDVI (Mann-Kendal tau = 0.129, s = 64, p = 0.307). In Lake Chivero, a non-significant negative trend was observed in aquatic weed extent based on NDVI (Mann-Kendal tau = -0.06, s = -30, p = 0.6382), while a positive trend was detected using AWEI (tau = 0.0036, s = 18, p = 0.7827). Results of the regression analysis indicate that phosphorus (R² = 0.7957, p = 0.00122) and nitrogen (R² = 0.8992, p = 0.0011) significantly explained variations in aquatic weed infestation in Lake Chivero. These results suggest that phosphorus and nitrogen enrichment are key drivers of aquatic weed proliferation in the two lakes. Thus, sustainable management of water resources in the catchment hinges on reducing the amount of nutrients released into the lakes from sewage treatment plants and croplands. <![CDATA[<b>Use of remote sensing to determine rainwater harvesting sites for piped micro-irrigation schemes in Chimanimani District, Zimbabwe</b>]]> The eastern highlands of Zimbabwe, particularly Chimanimani District, are endowed with natural wate bodies such as springs, pools, wetlands, puddles and river systems, which are potential sources of water for irrigated farming. Despite this, water challenges continue to exist due to rainfall seasonality and lack of suitable water harvesting sites. This calls for solutions to harness water in long-lasting sources to support the piped micro-irrigation schemes. These schemes are pillars in agricultural interventions such as horticulture, livestock farming, fish farming and beekeeping. This study therefore, determined potential rainwater larvesting (RWH) sites in Chimanimani District using geospatial techniques. Water pixels from fandsat 8 images were extracted using the normalised difference moisture index (NDMI) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Potential RWH sites were classified into land-based zones, wetlands and natural water bodies. Findings show that land-based zones cover 27.53%, wetlands cover 24.65% and water bodies cover 6.11% of the district. The study also indicates that integrating geographic information systems with remote-sensing tools is a useful approach in identifying RWH sites. Thus, this study provided a spatially explicit approach and presents a suitability map for RWH in Chimanimani District. <![CDATA[<b><i>Cyclopia subternata </i>growth, yield, proline and relative water content in response to water deficit stress</b>]]> Cyclopia, generally known as honeybush, and belonging to the Fabaceae family, originates from the Cape Floristic Region of the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces of South Africa. Currently, 6 honeybush species are commercially cultivated but, to date, there have been limited trials attempting to study their agronomic water demand. A pot trial was conducted where Cyclopia subternata plants were cultivated on different soil types (Stellenbosch granite, Stellenbosch shale and Stellenbosch clovelly) and subjected to three different water-deficit stress levels (well-watered, semi-stressed and stressed). Remarkably, irrigation treatments and soil types did not significantly affect the growth of the plants. However, the well-watered treatment consistently had higher yields compared to the other two treatments. The water-stressed (semi-stressed and stressed) treatments had lower relative water contents (RWC) with higher concentrations of proline, which signify water stress, compared to the control treatment. Higher proline and lower RWC contents found in this study are indications of water stress. <![CDATA[<b>Moisture content distribution model for the soil wetting body under moistube irrigation</b>]]> This study investigated the moisture distribution characteristics of a soil wetting body under different influencing factors to inform the design and management of a moistube irrigation system. A mathematical model of soil moisture movement under moistube irrigation was established based on Hydrus-2D software. The suitability of the Hydrus-2D simulation model was verified by laboratory experiments. Numerical simulations were carried out with Hydrus-2D to investigate the influence of soil texture, initial moisture content, moistube specific discharge and irrigation time on the moisture distribution of a soil wetting body. The soil moisture content is highest at the moistube, and its value is related to the moistube-specific discharge and soil texture. The soil moisture content at any point in the wetting body decreased linearly with increasing distance from the wetting front to the moistube in the five set directions (vertical downward, 45° downward, horizontal, 45° upward and vertical upward). This trend is applicable to fine-textured and coarse-textured soil. An estimation model of soil moisture content including soil saturated hydraulic conductivity, initial soil moisture, the specific flow rate of the moistube and the maximum value of the wetting front distance in all directions is proposed. The model estimation is good (root mean square error = 0.008-0.018 cm³-cm-3, close to 0; Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient = 0.987, close to 1), and it can provide a practical tool for moistube irrigation design and agricultural water management. <![CDATA[<b>On the use of late-time drawdown in interpreting aquifer pumping test</b>]]> The review aims to provide a common understanding of the use of late-time drawdown to interpret aquifer pumping tests. The first part of the review provides an overview of the use of the late-time drawdown in literature to illustrate where and how the term is being used. A discussion on the practical implications of using the term and its significance is then presented. The review shows the use of the late-time drawdown in three main ways: the application of the Cooper and Jacob time-drawdown method, the description of the third segment of the unconfined aquifer drawdown-time curve, and when trying to estimate representative/ effective transmissivity parameters in heterogeneous aquifers. Unlike the other two situations, the use of late-time data in typical unconfined aquifers is supported by the groundwater flow principles and hence has a meaningful application. The aspects highlighted in this review are important to improve the theoretical and practical knowledge required for analysing and interpreting aquifer pumping test data.