Systems & Solutions
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Water is fast becoming a major issue in Bali and across
Indonesia. As the water level drops in the ground the contaminants become
more concentrated and more noticeable. Do you get staining, does our cold or
hot water smell (rotten eggs). Most of you reading this, probably have
some issue like this.
What many people do not realize that there are un-seen dangers, even if your
water seems clean.
Town water, piped to your house
(PDAM).. . Although most supplies seem clean, the water contains high
concentrations of chlorine and due to the age of the pipes often has a lot
of dirt and sediment (rust) which foul your pipes, systems and taps.
Bore (well) water… As the water leaches trough the soil, it collects
hundreds of different contaminants. Pesticides from the rice fields, heavy
metals (Lead, Chromium and Iron) Dissolved organic mater, minerals and in
the worst case scenario fetal mater from contaminated rivers or a septic
tank positioned nearby.
These contaminants, although not always noticeable, do
have varied affects upon our health. Even if you are not drinking the water,
many of the chemicals and heavy metals are readily absorbed through the
skin. For example Chlorine is absorbed 5 times faster through the skin than
by ingesting. To make matters worse. As the water passes through the shower
head it atomizes. This causes
any heavy metals and bacterial pathogens to
become airborn and thus be inhaled.
are three basic
brackets for water filtration.
A) Point Of Use (POU)Potable water
B) Whole house point of entry (POE). Clean or Potable
C) Water Softener / Mineral Reduction
For all types, initial water quality is the main issue. Many retail outlets
will sell a system, which often as not will do an effective job, but these
systems may only provide adequate filtration with complication later or can
be total overkill, at the customers expense (Rp).
For most households, this water is supplied via municipal water (PDAM) or
from Bore water. Each supply comes with its own problems. This water is then
pumped directly into the house or via a storage tank, either tower or
ground. For POE systems, analyzing the system design is crucial in providing
the most effective yet economic solutions.
Filters, POU and POE are basically designed to remove standard contaminants.
Dirty water. Grit, Sand, mud, rust, organic etc.
Heavy Metals and Chemicals..
Iron, Lead, Mercury, Arsenic,
Chlorine, pesticides etc.
Calcium and other stray minerals that cause
coli, Coliform .
A water test is always advised.
Point Of Use (Potable water) under sink or stand alone.
Below, I have listed the standard systems in price order.
Fine filtration. Cartridge type (Sponge or pleated) for the removal of
sediment only, where the water is chemical and bacteria free.
Double Cartridge. Fine filtration plus Activated carbon for Heavy metal and
Chemical removal. Water deemed to be bacteria free.
Ultra Violet. (UV) Water passes through a cylinder with a UV light source.
The UV light sterilizes the water, preventing the bacteria from multiplying
but does not kill the bacteria. The water is safe for drinking but unless
placed close to the tap, may re-infect. The water has to go through fine
filtration first (type b) to prevent bacterial shielding. It is imperative
that flow rates are matched to the UV capacity. Something that is not often
done here. This system is relatively cheap and is also can be sized for
large flow rates (The price does jump quiet significantly) but must be
checked and cleaned on a regular basis with approximately a 1 year globe
life expectancy. Obviously the unit requires electricity, but the wattage is
relatively low (Size 0.5 gpm – 48 gpm)
Ultra Filtration. (UF). Water is passed through a Ultra Fine capillary
filter. The filter is so fine that it is actually able to remove all
bacteria, viruses and cysts. The smart H2O UF filter is a pre assembled unit
with 3 stages of pre filtration, a UF filter and a final clean carbon
filter. A water Alkalizing unit may be added if required. The system can be
placed below or above counter and comes with a separate tap (So you know
that you can drink the water) and is capable of 2 ltrs/min .. More than
enough to fill your aqua bottles and wash your veggies. Requires no
electricity. (A monthly backwash is required with little water wastage)
3M Smart. This slim-line self
contained under counter system
, uses fine and activated pre filtration in combination with a Ultra Fine
filter to removes 99.9% of all known
Bacteria, viruses and cysts.
The system again comes with a separate tap and is capable of upto 9 ltrs per
min, uses no electricity and has the no water wastage.
Reverse Osmosis. (RO) . I actually do not advocate the use of RO, unless
there are no other alternatives. (Saline water) The water is passed under
pressure through a semi permeable membrane. The membrane is so fine that it
removes everything from the water including all minerals and even salt.
Unfortunately this creates DEAD water, which when drunk actually leaches the
minerals and salts from your body rather than supplementing. If the water is
used for drinking (rather than just washing) I highly recommend the use of a
re-mineralization product. At a domestic level the system is only capable of
small flows, requires constant
backwashing (Water wastage.) and requires a electrical booster pump.
Even with Chlorine laced PDAM water, I always advocate a belt and braces
approach and would include a bacteria kill system for any drinking water
With the exception of RO, none of the systems are capable of removing
Calcium (Minerals) so, depending on water quality, fouling may occur.
Minerals are perfectly safe for human consumption with any excess minerals
being passed straight though the body.
House Filtration (POE)
In general household water does not need to be of a potable quality. The
systems are used to remove heavy metals and chemicals that are readily
absorbed through the skin (Absorption through the skin is usually higher
than absorption through the gullet) , Bad odors and reduce mineral levels
which cause fouling and in some cases itching.
Although high flow cartridge type filters are available, the low initial
cost is, more often than not, outweighed by the frequent cartridge
For this reason rather than using disposable cartridges, we use large media
filled pressurized poly tanks. The media, (most common) as listed below,
removes the appropriate contaminants and holds them there. Like a swimming
pool filter, these tanks are backwashed to waste, which removes the
contaminants. Again like a pool filter, the media has to be replaced (1 -2
yrs depending on water quality) but this is much more cost effective than
Back wash. There are 2 Back wash systems ..
Manual. Simple, but relies on the staff
remembering to do their job. Automatic.
More expensive but it is set and forget.
Back wash waste volumes depend on water quality, type
of system and usage. For an average 2 bed family home, the system is back
washed every 2-3 days with a water loss of 200-300 ltr. The times can be
extended but the cost of water lost is offset by the extra pressure (Pump
power and electricity) required to push the water
through the dirty media. In most cases the water
can be flushed to the garden.
Sand (Silika) For
the removal of Grit, Dirt, solid matter
For the removal of Chemicals, poisons and heavy metals, such as Chlorine,
Sulfur, mercury, Cyanide, Arsenic, Fe Etc.
(99% of all properties will
require this, due to the chemicals and pesticides alike used in rice/other
Feorolite In Very high Iron (Fe) deposit areas.
Resin Ion exchange. Reduction in High Iron and Sulfur
content plus reduction in Minerals (Calcium etc)
Each of these systems must to be designed to suit the position (Pre or Post
tank) the flow rates required
(Match the appropriate pump) and water quality.
reduction understood (Water
There are three main household systems that I condone
Salt water softener
The Ion exchange, Salt water softener, uses salt to change the chemical
structure and draw out the
Calcium. Salt is placed in a Brine tank, (25 kgs of salt per week average
house) is siphoned into the
water. This water is then passed through a resin filter (Same type of tank
as described above) which
removes a good proportion of the calcium. The filter is then back washed as
This is the standard domestic softener system used in Bali, with its draw
backs being the ongoing cost and maintenance time of replacing the salt and
quite high wastage rates. Often the water cannot be used on the garden.
set and forget system. Here the water is modified by a controller (EMF
induction) such that the
calcium (and other soluble matter) is dissolved out of suspension into
solution. These minerals (not
visible to the naked eye) then just pass through the system without
attaching themselves to the taps,
pipes or heating elements etc. The systems do not require any backwash and
are actually capable of
reducing existing mineral build up, thus increasing energy savings and
preventing bacterial growth
zones. Smart Energy has teamed up with the 2 foremost innovators in this
field. Calclear and
Hydrosmart , offering significant gains in capability and capacity with full
understanding of the systems
application and design parameters and a full service back up
In extreme circumstances, RO systems may be used. As stated earlier, these
systems remove everything
from the water. Their main application is for the removal of salt, but in
some circumstances they are the
preferred solution for removing calcium (Launderettes etc) or treatment of
effluent or gray water. In
cases of brackish & sea water there are few alternatives, especially on an
RO systems do have their draw backs. They have a high initial cost, they
require high electrical input
And have a high waste to supply percentage. In addition they produce low pH
(acidic) dead water. This
water can be agresive to your pipes taps and equipment and is not realy
suitable for drinking. (Dead
water leaches minerals from your body)
For households with a bacteria count or for potable water a few systems are
available. Even though you may not drink the water Bacteria may mutate and
form dangerous growths on tank inner walls, bathroom walls, sinks and inside
Those with a initial zero bacteria count, should also consider a bacteria
removal system. Although fine now, leaching from your or your neighbors
septic tank may occur. I would highly recommend a 6 mthly bacteria check (Rp
125,000 per test in Quantum)
It should also be noted that Filters (Especially active carbon) are the
perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so even the smallest count may develop
into a major problem
For existing houses. A full household flush is recommended prior to
installation of any bacteria kill.
Chlorine dose. We
all hate chlorine, but it is a very effective oxidant (Bacteria kill).
However your system is dosed (I have many variations) the chlorine must be
removed before it enters your water feed system
UF. High flow rate
Smart H2O UF POE filters are
now available. The relatively inexpensive systems require no electricity and
have a low discharge to usage rate.
As with point of use, bacteria shielding and flow rates are the main
issue. An average bore pump is capable of 30-50 ltrs per min (More for
distribution pumps) This requires quite a hefty UV system that can cost a
lot more than you expect. Again. Re-infection can occur, especially on long
Smart Ozone injectors are often used for spa’s or as a secondary
system for pools, Ozone is a very efficient oxidizer, and can disinfect high
volumes of water at source. Power consumption is low, but system design and
placement is a very important consideration and may not always be possible.
A inline or circulation system. Here we pass a low voltage current
between 2 silver anodes,
releasing a small amount of silver into the water. The silver cracks the
outer shell of the bacteria or viruses effectively killing it. This system
is very good for circulating water systems where re-infection is an issue.
Removes 99.9999 % of all bacteria. Unfortunately it removes all minerals
also. Without re-mineralization, this is also detrimental to your health.