GWI to expand water treatment infrastructure
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GWI Executive Director of Operations, Dwayne Shako
GWI Executive Director of Operations, Dwayne Shako

WITH a US$19 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to conduct feasibility studies and construct new water treatment facilities, in addition to the installation of line filters countrywide, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) is expected to significantly improve the quality of its supply of potable water to citizens.

On average, of all ‘final’ water supplied to customers, approximately 95 – 100 percent of it meets health-based guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, the company was looking to improve its ability to remove iron content from the water.
The new systems, which will improve iron content removal as well as disinfect for microorganisms, is primarily focused on projects in Regions One, Two, Five and Six. However, the utility will be looking at utilizing a mixture of small and large scale measures to extend coverage across the country as far as possible.

“We’ve identified those regions for water improvement projects. What we’re looking at is water quality improvement, and designs where we can now install water treatment systems across the entire regions. However, though the scope of these projects are for these regions, we’re now looking at the designs to extend the scope outside of these regions. We want to now try to cover the entire coast as far as possible with the funds that we have,” explained GWI Executive Director of Operations, Dwayne Shako.

“The aim is to put in place systems so that we can remove the iron from the water and be able to deliver water that is free of iron. It will remove any other metal as well such as manganese and other contaminants and then it’s going to provide disinfection. So the water that really going now to the customer will be free from any bacteria.”

“There are different forms of treatment, so if you’re looking at people who receive water free of iron it’s about 60 percent treated and 40 percent of areas that have well water. With this project we’re looking to carry it to over 80 percent or close to 100 percent,” he said.
The company’s coverage of treated water increased significantly with the recent construction of the three water treatment plants at Uitvlugt on the West Coast Demerara; Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara; and Sheet Anchor in Berbice.

The three plants were a part of a $6.6 billion partnership between the Government of Guyana, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the European Union (EU). Those plants added to another 29 treatment plants already located throughout the country.

Under the new project, Shako explained, the company was not looking towards centralized plants as big as those of the recently completed; instead the company was looking to focus more on smaller plants throughout the system.

“We’re not going with the large plants… we’re looking to build smaller systems where we build individual systems for each pumping station. We’re using a more in-line system which would remove the need for these large treatment plants. These would be more compact systems that would allow us to cover more areas. So rather than build the big plants that we built at Diamond or Sheet Anchor, [at] a pump station like Providence we built a smaller in-line system to treat the water there, then we built one at Mocha, one at Caledonia so that at the end of it, it covers a larger area with a larger impact,” Shako related.
The project was currently at the design stage and was expected to go out to tender shortly for the invitation of bids.

The utility had investigated with the use of the in-line oxidation filters, having tested the system at Agricola pump station, with a proven removal of over 98 percent of the total iron from the water, bringing the final concentration to less than 0.1 mg/l.

The company had also placed emphasis on the water systems at several schools, and will be putting measures in place to also improve those.

“The in-line system for the schools is to ensure that the children have a good supply of potable water at the schools. While we have been working with the schools to ensure the taps are clean, we decided to put in place an in-line filtration system as an additional treatment for the water at the schools so the children will have access to a better service. The filters will ensure that the water available to the children is filtered and purified. These will be built by GWI in house using local materials,” Shako related.

The systems at the school will be a smaller version of the one the company hopes to roll out across the country.

“The principle of operation is the same but these are smaller domestic filters. The ones being built for the treatment stations will be more industrial in nature… much larger metal tanks. These [in the schools] will be much smaller PVC in-line filters,” he said.
In addition to the three newly-commissioned water treatment plants, work has also begun on rehabilitation at a treatment facility in Bartica, while in Region Six the company will also be installing new distribution mains in Orealla to expand coverage of that water treatment plant up to Sandvoort.

For Bartica, Shako said, the company is awaiting the importation of the necessary parts for the system.

“That will be completed this year. The filtration system for that has been shipped so we’re waiting on the arrival of that sometime around the first week in February, and that will be completed by the end of February,” he said.

The utility has also installed three water purification tanks at communal wells in Nappi, Parishara, and Hiawa to assure water quality that meets international drinking standards.

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