The design is at last finalized, and being turned into concrete on site. As briefly talked about in the last blog, we have opted to design a taller tower with a more extensive filtration system on JER’s side. JER has a 40-ft deep well, which operates well in the rainy (~November to April) and the dry season (~May to September). The only problem with the well is that the water has high iron content, which is a problem with most wells past 20-ft deep. However, wells less than 20-ft deep sometimes run dry during the dry season, which is no good.
Another major design consideration was maintenance of the filtration system. As JER operates year round and always has at least one staff member on site, it is more likely that the system will receive regular attention. There is already a 200 yard pipe that runs under the road to supply PCER with water from JER, however, if the tanks are half filled or less on JER’s tower than there is a pretty pathetic stream of water at PCER.
Therefore, we’ve decided on the mega tower at JER to utilize the existing well, the pipe running underground to PCER, and continuity of maintenance for the filtration system. We have a solar-powered submersible pump, which will draw water from the 40-ft deep well to two 2500-L settling tanks for the iron, and after a few hours of settling, the water will be gravity fed to gravel and sand filters and then gravity fed to a 5000-L holding tank. The holding tank will utilize a regular pump that will run off a solar-powered battery to bring the water to 2 2500-L tanks on top of the 17-ft tower. The maintenance of the settling tanks and sand/gravel filters will be much easier at ground level. The tower will supply both JER and PCER with ample water and water pressure.
Currently the water from the well is clear when you initially take it out, but if you leave it for a few hours, it turns into murky reddish brown and smells like wet rusty nails. The goal for the water is that it will exit with significantly less iron content so that is usable for cooking, cleaning, showering, toilets, etc. We do not expect the water to be of drinking quality, but have our hopes and are excited to get the structure up, pumping and filtration system in place, and some petri dishes lined up. For drinking water, the other water systems team has already set up a bio-sand water filter on PCER’s side, and a new one is nearly ready on JER’s side.