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The Benefits of Efficient Filter Sand Processes

16 November 2018

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The negative trend in water consumption is positive

It is no news that water is vitally important. According to the UN, “water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself”[1]. The message is gradually getting across- and little by little we see trends that water consumption is decreasing. However, there are other pressures that water companies face outside of consumption.

Other pressures faced by water utilities

Just some of the pressures faced by water utilities include climate change, population growth and increased customer expectations. Even the good news of reduced demand for water (as society becomes better educated) brings with it a challenge:  water utilities, despite a reduction in demand and therefore revenue from water, must still maintain water reserves in order to deal with situations of potential shortfall situation.

Increased demand means increased need for efficiency

Efficiency in wastewater processes is more important than ever with the added pressures faced by water companies.  Utilities must look at their practices and how they can be made more sustainable in order to keep services both cost-effective and reliable for their customers.

Slow sand filtration as a reliable method of water treatment

Water filtration is a vital part of wastewater treatment works.  So much so that a report published by the Water Research Commission in South Africa stated that “some form of filtration will always be found at a water treatment plant”[2].  According to the World Health Organization, "Under suitable circumstances, slow sand filtration may be not only the cheapest and simplest but also the most efficient method of water treatment." Additionally, where filtration used to be seen only as a cosmetic “polish” to the end of the chemical treatment cycle, it has in the past 10-15 years come to be seen as the only method which can remove certain hazardous particles from raw water sources.  As a result, the quality of filtering equipment and media is vital to water utilities around the world.

Making slow sand filtration as efficient as possible

One way to ensure that the quality of filtering media is to install a filter sand washing system These systems treat the sand to remove contamination, dirt and heavy metals.  The filter sand washing process ensures a consistent supply of clean, dry filter sand which is uniform in size and meets all the requirements for slow sand filtration media. The system drains the filter, skimming and washing the sand before it is laid back down again allowing a new biofilm to develop. The most effective systems also provide a reliable and sufficient supply of water.

Beneficial to utilities and customers

The benefits of slow sand filtration are numerous for water utilities – the method is reliable, cost-effective and easily operated. However, companies are not going one step further and ensuring that filter sand processes are sustainable. By reusing the filter media, utilities not only decrease their reliance on virgin resources but also reduce their capital expenditure which in turn could pass on savings to their customer.

For more information on filter sand washing systems, email or visit our filter sand washing page

[1] UN Water, Water Facts, [accessed 11/11/2018]

[2] Water Research Commission (2006) Handbook for the Operation of Water Treatment Works, edited by Schutte, F., South Africa 

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