The Village of Mankota is a small, rural community of approximately 200 people located in southern Saskatchewan. Though the Village is small, it still provides its residents with critical services, including healthcare and education. Previously, adding to the challenge of providing these services in a remote rural community was the poor quality of local water. Even after treatment the water often contained unacceptable levels of turbidity and high particle count, creating cloudy and hazy water that can hide dangerous pathogens. In 2018 the Village upgraded its water treatment system to a Sapphire Integrated Biological Reverse Osmosis Membrane (SIBROM) facility, bringing fresh, clean water to resident’s taps.

According to the WSA’s 2016-2017 Annual Report, Mankota was one of several communities whose treatment plants failed to consistently achieve disinfection compliance standards. The water treatment facility was deteriorating, a common challenge facing many small rural communities across Canada. “The plant is the most critical thing. Without water, we can’t go very far,” said Mayor Grant Martin.

In 2016, the Village decided to upgrade its treatment plant and implement Sapphire Water’s SIBROM technology, an innovative approach to water treatment that is making communities safer by addressing water quality issues that have spanned decades. The Village received approval for a grant from the federal and provincial governments to upgrade its outdated facility. With this funding, Sapphire Water was able to upgrade and convert the existing plant to a version of a SIBROM that uses nanofiltration membrane treatment plant with a biological filtration pretreatment.

Cost-effective technology

The operating costs of a SIBROM system are much lower than conventional systems for three main reasons. First, because the biological filtration reduces fouling of the system, there is no need for clean-in-place (CIP) cleanings and backwashing of the RO membranes. Second, he SIBROM system has a much lower requirement for chlorine and antiscalant (up to 90% less than conventional systems). Lastly, the highly automated system reduces labour costs.

Eliminating downstream impacts

The SIBROM technology produces highly stable or inert drinking water. With the use of a mineral contactor for pH adjustment, the resulting water does not corrode piping, dramatically reducing the stress on the distribution system and minimizing service disruptions. It also prevents downstream biofilm growth in the distribution system.

Reducing chemical use

Another key advantage is that Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) is totally removed from the treated water by the SIBROM process. The absence of DOC greatly improves the effectiveness of the chlorination process. Typically, chlorine usage is reduced by up to 90% in water treatment plants that have converted to the SIBROM process, providing lower chemical requirements and operating costs.

Read more about this project in our case study, or reach out to us to find out if a SIBROM is right for your community.