Peristaltic Pumps can Restore pH Balance of Acid-Damaged Mine Water in South Africa
Decades of uncontrolled industrial mining activities have left South Africa with a depleted and contaminated water supply that has life-threatening implications for the country’s population. Studies indicate that acid water levels in the mines are rising by an average of .59 m/day. Verderflex, a global manufacturer of peristaltic hose pumps and tube pumps, looks to the treatment of water and wastewater as a solution to this problem.
Peristaltic dosing pumps can be used in the process to rectify the pH balance of acid mine water. If left untreated, acid mine damage (AMD) can have devastating and long-term effects on the availability of safe water, health of agricultural crops, preservation of natural or cultural heritage sites, and quality of South African life.
The Department of Water Affairs has identified the ABC (alkali–barium–calcium) process, developed by South Africa’s Council for Scientiﬁc and Industrial Research (CSIR), as the most effective process for mitigating the harmful impact of AMD. This treatment consists of three steps: lime and/or CaS pre-treatment, barium treatment to remove sulphates, and sludge processing. After treatment, the water can be introduced back into nature without negative impact, but may not be suitable for human consumption.
Peristaltic pumps are a type of positive displacement pump used to transport a variety of fluids. There are two main parts inside the pump: a flexible hose and a rotor. The pumping principle, called peristalsis, operates through alternating compression and relaxation of the hose. As the rotor turns, the hose is compressed, forcing fluid toward the pump outlet while simultaneously creating vacuum that draws the equal amount of fluid in. This precision and linear flow-speed characteristic makes peristaltic pumps ideal for dosing applications.
Additionally, the peristaltic pump is among the only pump type that ensures total product containment and zero product slip, making it ideal for the transfer of dangerous or unstable fluids that cannot come into contact with the environment. Maintenance of these pumps is relatively low, as the hose is the only wearing part. The pulsation effect of the pumping mechanism means that solids being transferred are kept in suspension rather than settling onto any specific area of the hose and creating build-up. This maximizes life expectancy of the pump and increases efficiency.