Groundwater / Drinking Water
Northern Territory, Australia
A remote site in the Northern Territory, Australia had elevated naturally occurring uranium levels, requiring the community to drink bottled water. Clean TeQ Water installed a batch ion exchange plant for the community to reduce uranium concentration from a feed value above 30 ppb to below the Australian Drinking Water Guideline Health limit of 20 ppb.
The customised plant consists of two identical ion exchange skids which operate in parallel, starting automatically when the water in the treated water storage tank reaches a low level. Bore water is first pumped through cartridge filters to reduce the TSS before the filtered feedwater proceeds to the ion exchange vessels which operate in a “lead-lag” configuration. Uranium is predominantly loaded onto the “lead” resin, before being polished by the “lag” vessel and exiting the plant. This configuration provides extra robustness, preventing the risk of uranium leakage into the treated water and making the best use of the resin’s loading capacity. Due to the remote location the plant is fully automated with remote monitoring capabilities.
For this location Ion Exchange was chosen over other technologies like reverse osmosis because of its low waste production, easy operation, and limited maintenance requirements. The plant was designed for minimal operator intervention, with salt top-up expected to occur only every 6 weeks. Clean TeQ Water successfully delivered the plant under budget and within the tight 6-month timeframe from contract signing to plant handover.