15 March 2012

Cameroon: Yaounde - New Look Water Purification Station

The station near Cité Verte on the way to Oyom-Abang has been beautified with flowers.

Green, pink and yellow flowers and several other plants surround the newly rehabilitated water purification station of Camp SIC Cité Verte in Yaounde. According to Cissé Souleymane, the General Manager, the site, discreetly located by the stream on the way to Oyomabang, was rehabilitated in September 2011.

He described the garden surrounding the site as his "personal touch" to embellish the workplace. A team of six ensures the good running of the water station: two gardeners, two service agents and two female engineers. Armelle Jibia, one of the engineers, explained that in comparison to the old fashioned water station, the new system is ecologically-friendly with a reduced number of staff and the use of water-purifying plants and manual labour. She added that the hitherto dirty water used to spill on to the street, leaving a stench in the area and excreta in the open.

Jibia further explained that the water purification process takes place in different reservoirs in three main steps. First, the used water from the 8,000 inhabitants of the Cité Verte Housing Estate is collected in a reservoir located across the station. In this first reservoir, solid matter such as plastics, toothbrushes and used condoms are removed with the help of an internal filter.

Then, the water is sent into another set of reservoirs located within the station through an underground pipe. In this reservoir, workers manually remove the remaining dirt that floats on the top of the water. The third purifying step takes place in two ponds. Cissé Souleymane explained that even though one pond was enough, they decided to use two in order to increase the quality of the water treatment. Echinochloa pyramidalis, a type of purifying plant, is used instead of chemical products to extract the organic matter out of the water previously processed in the first reservoirs. These plants are commonly known as 'Antelope grass.'

Below the plants, a set of components such as sand, gravel and ballast ensure the final step of the purification process. The purified water is then sent into River Mfoundi.

Throughout the year, Biology and Agronomy students from the Universities of Dschang and Yaounde I visit the station. Even though the site is not open to the public, Cissé says curious onlookers are welcome to read or take pictures.

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