UN camp Mali has drinking water directly from wastewater
March 1st, 2018
High-tech water cycle in the desert
In the middle of the desert at the military camp of the United Nations’ Peace Mission in Mali Han Wissink of the MasterMind Company has managed to build a compact water- treatment installation to turn wastewater directly into drinking water. It has not been not a simple task, but mainly thanks to sophisticated online monitoring, including the detection of coliform bacteria, the camp is now abstracting only 35% groundwater per day which is a reduction of 65%. If it were up to Wissink, it would be down to 25%. The MasterMind water treatment plant at the UN camp in Mali is equipped with an online BACTcontrol sensor made by their partner in the Netherlands.
Water engineer Han Wissink has spent a lot of time the last two years at Camp Castor in Mali where Dutch and German troops are stationed for the UN Peace Mission. At the request of the Dutch Ministry of Defence, Wissink has built a compact installation at the camp
which treats the wastewater and makes drinking water from it. His company The MasterMind Company owns the installation and is paid by the Dutch Ministry of Defence for the treated cubic meters of water he supplies.
Online monitoring of coliform bacteria
The MasterMind water treatment plant at the UN camp in Mali is equipped with an online BACTcontrol sensor made by their partner from the Netherlands. The sensor detects the microbiological activity in the water and produces a measurement result within one to two hours. Normally, such a measurement is done on the basis of a sample examined in a laboratory, which can take up to three days.
The BACTcontrol measures the specific enzymatic activities of coliforms, e.g.
E. coli as an indicator for the presence of bacterial contamination. For the installation in Mali, it was the ‘missing link’ since in the case of potential contamination, the drinking water supply can now be stopped almost immediately. Without this online monitoring, water samples would have to be analysed in a laboratory, or on-site using 24hour field tests.
The BACTcontrol sensor is part of a process monitoring system designed and built by another partner. The entire system is mounted on panels made in the Netherlands and then only had to be connected to the power and water supply lines in the camp.