CSIR invents new water treatment

2012-01-17 15:30

Pretoria - A new technology to extract precipitated calcium carbonate from waste water has been invented in South Africa.

The CSIR has developed a new process to reclaim high-quality precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) from calcium-rich industrial solid waste.

High-quality calcium carbonate is useful for various specialised industrial applications such as gastric acid treatment, tablet filling in pharmaceuticals, plastics, paint, adhesives and in pulp and papermaking.

This technology may offer a solution to acid mine water in Gauteng.

"We also foresee an increase in demand for calcium carbonate for treating acid mine drainage," said biochemical engineer Dr Mlawule Mashego, who developed the technology with Jean Mulopo.

The research group is focused on recycling technologies that would make extraction of effluent cost-effective.

The method appears to be effective with streamed water, but is unlikely to be effective where groundwater is contaminated.

"Some utilities responsible for waste treatment and management are moving away from regulatory compliance toward increased economic incentives in the process of recognising the value of waste and wastewater as a resource.

"Such an approach includes the recovery of energy, nutrients, metals and other chemicals as part of the wastewater treatment process. We also look at further beneficiation of recovered by-products to enhance waste utilisation," said Mashego.

The CSIR has filed a patent for the technology would could also be exported to developing countries where issues of water contamination affect local populations.

  • kthage - 2012-01-17 18:57

    What? Not a single comment about a well job done? If it were an ANC article I'm sure the would be thousands of comments by now. Congratulations to Dr. M Mashego & J. Mulopo for innovating despite being AA researchers.

      jody.beggs - 2012-01-17 19:13

      Dude looks like you've got inside info. Rant much ?!? Damn the man

  • Merkwaardig - 2012-01-17 19:11

    I see the CSIR carefully ommits to mention that reclaiming solid calcium carbonate from industrial waste in no way "purifies" the water. The heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and pathogenic bacteria and virusses remain. I think the press release is a desperate attempt for publicity in the face of poor scientific output on a GIGANTIC budget.

      Hugh - 2012-02-03 18:55

      Any bets that the so called paten will come to nothing as it likely another reinvention of the wheel African style. Like to Hulla-ballo of the female scientist who designed that failure of a satelite. This will likely be the same. But hats off anyway because it takes alot of time and effort developing these systems.

  • seymore.butt - 2012-01-17 20:04

    I am just wondering how this is a "new" technology. Liming is a common practice to treat acid water. People do it everyday in their pools. The only difference over here is that calcium carbonate is coming from a waste pile and not a factory, that is, they are just being economically efficient in treatment of acid waste water.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-19 12:07

    Congratulations, although of course the proof is in the tasting as it were.

  • Dirk - 2012-01-23 11:49

    Congrats CSIR! Proud of you guys showing the world that we can also be innovative market leaders in Africa! We try our best here at Pauw Engineering ( to do the same. You are an inspiration to us all!

  • NkatekoFORsustainableWATERresources - 2012-03-01 10:38

    Congradulations, "This technology may offer a solution to acid mine water in Gauteng" ist the technology at its early stages(no piloting has been done). Can the technology handle to treat the magnitude of the AMD volume at the Wits basins?.just curious

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