Aquatico had its 20 year celebration function at PLTFRM, Wolwespruit in Pretoria on 16 August 2019. This formal, invitation only function celebrated the 20 years that Aquatico has been active in the environmental monitoring sector. Family, friends and employees were invited to celebrate this special occasion with Aquatico.
Enjoy the images from the night.
Water quality is of significant importance, regardless of whether it is used for hydration or irrigation, and poor water quality can adversely impact the consumers’ health.
Contamination of water sources may occur in a variety of ways, whether it is contamination by sewage containing harmful microorganisms; waste leachate containing heavy metals; or agriculture and industrial run-off comprising of nitrates, pesticides, and other organic pollutants.
Water used for potable purposes should be treated to ensure all pollutants that may be present are removed to deliver safe drinking water. The quality of the source water will determine the level of treatment required.
Several stages are required to effectively treat water, as summarised below:
In South Africa, acceptable drinking water criteria are compared to the SANS 241-1:2015 drinking water standards. In order to test the quality of your water, kindly make use of our SANAS accredited laboratory. Direct all queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The persistent and prolonged drought period across large expanses of our country received immense public attention with everyone from Muizenberg to Musina pitching in to relieve the effects of the drought in hot-spot areas of the region. The broader effects of the drought is not restricted to the specific areas most intensely hit by the prospect of taps running dry, like the Western Cape in 2017/18. Residents of towns and cities across the country are exploring alternative water sources in an attempt to insure their own future water security should the drought visit their region next.
One such alternative is the establishment of a private borehole on one’s property to act as either a back-up (to municipal) or in some cases primary water supply for domestic and potable use.
Drilling a borehole on your private property is well within your rights as private individual but there are certain regulatory limitations to what that water may be used for. In this article, we explore the dos and don’ts of private borehole use in the South African Legislative context.
Registering your borehole?
The National Water Act (NWA Act 36 of 1998) is the principal piece of legislation that guides the use of water in the country. According to this Act, National Government is the custodian of the country’s water resources, holding it in trust for the nation and allocating water use rights based on specific purposes and within certain thresholds.
It is important to note that, under the NWA, one does not register a borehole per se but the focus is rather on the water use.
According to Chapter 4 and Schedule 1 of the NWA, a person may only use water without a licence or registration if it is for basic uses, i.e. reasonable domestic use, small gardening (non-commercial purposes), and watering livestock (which excludes feedlots), amongst others. This is also in-line with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in terms of everyone’s right to access to basic water supply to support life and personal hygiene. If your water use, or intended water use, falls outside the provisions of Schedule 1, it will need to be registered under the General Authorizations or Licenced under Compulsory Licensing. Some municipalities however, have bylaws requiring the registration of boreholes irrespective of the provisions of the NWA. It is recommended to contact your own Local Authority to ascertain your responsibilities in this regard.
How much water may I use?
The Revised General Authorization for the taking and storing of water (2016) states that a water use must be registered if a person takes more than 10 cubic meters of water from a groundwater resource on that property per day on average over a year. The upper limit of use (after which Licensing is compulsory) is not set in general but depends on the size of the property in relation to the specific catchment that the property lies in to a maximum of 40 000 cubic meters per year. Abstraction of groundwater at more than 2 litres per second must be monitored and reported with the responsible authority. Further to this, storage of more than 10 000 cubic meters of groundwater on a property needs to be registered.
Selling the water from your borehole?
Basically, you cannot sell the water because you do not own the water.
The secondary trade of water is illegal as private boreholes are for private use and not to be commercialised. Section 22 of the Water Services Act (Act 108 of 1997) prohibits the transaction on water without authorisation/nomination as a water services intermediary by the relevant Water Services Authority. Another aspect to this is the sale of packaged/bottled water as regulated by the Department of Health through Section 15(2) of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act and the Regulations relating to Bottled Water.
Water safety and sustainability?
It is important to ensure that the water sourced from a private borehole is safe for its intended use. We recommended testing the quality of your borehole water at a reputable water testing laboratory on a regular basis to ensure fitness of use. Apart from quality, it is also imperative that a borehole’s sustainable yield be established and that pumping equipment be spec’d accordingly to ensure that a aquifer is not over utilised.
Aquatico, with their SANAS accredited water testing laboratory and supporting consultants and specialists, will be able to advise and assist with all private borehole use requirements including borehole siting and drilling, yield testing, water quality testing, borehole equipping, water use registrations and authorisations.
Aquatico is attending the international Analytica conference in Munich, Germany.
For more information on the conference, visit their website: https://www.analytica.de/index-2.html
Effective environmental monitoring relies on the seamless integration of the different aspects of environmental monitoring (field work, laboratory analyses, and scientific reporting). The more effective the integration of these three aspects, the more effective the environmental monitoring team. Aquatico attempts to work as effectively as possible to ensure the quickest turnaround time for our clients while not compromising on quality or content.
Therefore, Aquatico’s IT department has developed three in-house systems.
1. An Android based mobile field work application.
2. MONLIMS - A laboratory information and management system.
3. RMS – Scientific reporting system.
1) Fieldwork - Android App:
We ensure continuity and credibility through the use of a range of highly specialised sampling technologies such as electronic handheld devices which record and verify all sampling and field data. Our field technicians input field data - such as the locality information for each sampling position, into the app. The app also provides the field technicians with sample type, sample method, sample container, and captures sample coordinates and photos for each monitoring locality.
The MONLIMS software assists the laboratory to effectively manage the samples and various analyses required. Direct integration between the mobile monitoring devices and the laboratory information management system (MONLIMS) speeds up sample logging and submission to the laboratory. It further reduces the possibility for data capture/loss errors in the field.
After the data has been captured in field and the samples have been analysed, the data is stored on a secure database, making it easily accessible for project managers when compiling reports to clients. RMS allows project managers to compile data into specific formats, graphs and specific reports customised to the client’s requirements.
Our aim is to create reports that will turn our clients’ environmental data into management information and decision-making tools that can assess risk as measured against legislative criteria.
The water quality of South Africa is rapidly deteriorating, while the lack of scientific and engineering capacity to counter and mitigate this deterioration is of great concern. Mining activities are one of the known contributors to polluting South Africa’s water sources and has recently been brought to light with the public awareness of acid mine drainage.
Groundwater is considered to form part of the earth’s hydrological cycle. It constitutes the part of water in the hydrological cycle that occurs in permeable geological structures defined as aquifers. Aquifer refers to the portion of the subsurface that is completely soaked or saturated with water.
Once groundwater is contaminated it becomes very costly to remediate and may take a long time to recover. Consequentially, proactive management of groundwater, where possible, is essential, as contamination from diffuse sources is not only seen as an environmental issue but also as an economic and health concern.
iA pressing need thus presents itself (in regions dominated by large scale anthropogenic activities, such as mining and agriculture) for research into identifying vulnerable aquifer locations and a method to design or potentially optimize a monitoring program. This will aid in better management and the potential mitigation of the contamination of groundwater sources before it reaches a state of non-repair.
The use of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) for designing groundwater monitoring programs through the integration of an aquifer vulnerability model can present a useful, powerful and cost-effective decision making tool, that incorporates the main hydrogeological factors controlling aquifer vulnerability for the initial steps of assigning resources toward the management of groundwater reserves.
The development of the ArcGIS software has allowed for an easy to use user interface for the simulation of aquifer vulnerability models. The ease of archiving, retrieving and display of spatial data has also improved greatly. Additionally, it also provided a platform for the assignment of numerical ratings to specific spatial attribute data. This thus makes ArcGIS a very useful tool for conducting simulation models for assessing aquifer vulnerability.
Towards the end of 2017 Aquatico concluded a further sale of shares agreement with Agile Capital (Pty) Ltd, increasing the black ownership recognition level of the company to 51%. This exciting partnership, which already started in 2012, ensures that the Aquatico group of companies stay compliant with the South African Mining Charter.
We at Aquatico are ever committed to our values to contribute to social upliftment and the training and empowerment of young black scientists in South Africa.
We also welcome AquaticOH, the new occupational hygiene entity within the Aquatico group. AquaticOH was officially launched during October at the 2017 SAIOH conference at Muldersdrift. Occupational hygiene is the science of the anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of hazards arising in or from the workplace, and which could impair the health and well-being of workers, also taking into account the possible impact on the surrounding communities and the general environment. AquaticOH offers the modern occupational hygienist with accurate, reliable and credible results. For any occupational hygiene needs you are welcome to contact Deon Swanepoel, our inhouse registered occupational hygienist.
News on the analytical front is that our SANAS accredited laboratory has extended its scope of analyses to include for occupational hygiene analyses. New SANAS accredited testing methods include:
• XRD analyses (specifically looking at crystalline silica in respirable airborne dust).
• Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM)
• Gravimetric weighing of occupational hygiene filters (Dust).
• Metals on a filter (welding fumes)
• Occupational hygiene swab analyses.
With these new developments, the Aquatico group of companies promise to keep on providing a professional service in its already extensive range of monitoring services, including:
• Water quality monitoring
• Dust fall Out monitoring
• Mineral Waste Assessments
Should you be interested in any of the abovementioned services, or any of the current analyses provided by our SANAS accredited laboratory, feel free to contact us at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; or email@example.com.
The Aquatico Team we would like to wish all our clients and suppliers a prosperous new year.
Collecting a groundwater sample from a borehole can be conducted by a variety of techniques, each with their own merits. Described below, are three commonly used sampling methods with their advantages and disadvantages.
Grab samples are collected using a steel or PVC/polyethylene bailer. These bailers are fitted with a ball valve which allows water to flow into the bailer while being lowered down the borehole and locks the water sample in the bailer as soon as it is lifted back out. The general rule of thumb, when the borehole construction is unknown, is to collect the sample five to ten metres below the water level. If the borehole construction is known however, the sample should be collected below the casing or within the screened (slotted) section of the casing. This method is low cost, quick and easy.
Purging is conducted using a pump to remove water from the borehole. During pumping of the borehole, the pH and electrical conductivity (EC) of the water are continuously measured. Only once both these parameters stabilise, the sample is collected. This generally occurs once three to five times the volume of the borehole is removed. This method ensures that the sample is collected from the aquifer and not from stagnant water in the borehole, as the chemistry of water remaining stagnant in a borehole may differ significantly from that of the surrounding aquifer. This technique however, requires expensive equipment, skilled labour and a lot of time. Additionally, when the groundwater is highly polluted or even naturally of poor quality, discharging this water on the surface becomes problematic.
Specific Depth Sampling
Specific depth sampling targets water strikes or flow zones within a borehole, in order to ensure the sampling of water flowing from the aquifer into the borehole, without having to purge. The sampling equipment for this technique can vary in price from the inexpensive bailers described above, to a moderately expensive pressurised sampler, depending on the monitoring requirements. Identification of these flow zones requires a groundwater specialist and specialised equipment; however this survey generally does not have to be repeated frequently.