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To distribute safe water in any situation is the key issue when supporting the population in their struggle for better health and welfare. Very often in emergencies, the water supply system collapses or is not available when people are escaping a catastrophe, or fleeing from persecution. So, the production of safe water becomes an urgent priority in all kinds of situations where people lose their established infrastructure or where people need to improve their existing water supply.

Personal and community health is always an issue when approaching the question of how to integrate the water supply, sanitation with health education and primary health services. This manual concentrates on the production and distribution of safe water, but it's focus is also to give some introduction into water management,  the general aspects of water treatment, and linking all to the practical handling of the water purification system "MEL 4.000" and other models within the MASH product range.

The manual covers the following:

·              Water management in emergency situations

·              Water treatment technologies

·              Water purification - general aspects

·              Practical installation and use of the MEL Unit

·              Practical set up of a water distribution scheme

·              Practical handling of the motor pump

·              Calculation of costs for running a water purification scheme 

·              Important addresses and references

This manual is called the "Engineer's Manual", not because only engineers should or can use it, but because there is usually also provided a "Field Manual" with each purification unit which  only contains  the most important information about setting up and running the water purification scheme. We will try to present in this manual some additional background information to increase the understanding of water treatment and how to manage the distribution of safe water to a needy population.

All comments, corrections or interesting ideas concerning this type of work are highly welcome. Please contact us with any suggestion.


Water Depuration System Unit (Schedule)



1-     Acqua in entrata                     

2-     Generatore di corrente

3-     Serbatoio carburante

4-     Quadro di comando

5-     Filtro carbone attivo

6-     Pompa alta pressione

7-     Batteria Osmosi Inversa

8-     Sterilizzatore U.V.

9-     Serbatoio acqua potabile

10-  Distribuzione acqua potabile

11-  Acqua di scarico

12-  Container metallico

13-  Portellone d'accesso

14-    Sportello

1- Water inlet

2-    Power Generator

3-    Fuel tank

4-    Control Panel

5-    Activated carbon filter

6-    High pressure pump

7-    Reverse Osmosis Plant

8-    Ultraviolet sterilizer

9-    Drinkable water tank

10- Drinkable water outlet distributor

11- Water drain

12-        Steel container

13-        Container door

14- Container inspection door



The WATER DEPURATION SYSTEM UNIT can be used for the treatment of polluted and/or brackish waters coming from aqueducts, lakes, rivers or from wells. 


The emergency unit is housed in a metal container (standard size of 2,4 x 2,4 x 6,0 meters) for the protection of community, villages, yards, hotel, hospitals, in presence of a natural calamity, cases of environmental pollution, and/or inaccessibility to a safe water source. 


The emergency unit, when connected to a net of aqueducts, wells or to a river or lake, receives non-potable water in which there is the presence of bacteria (colibacterias, micro organisms, etc.), of harmful products (oil, pesticides, herbicides, solvents, etc.) or for excess of salts (nitrates, heavy metals, hardness, chlorides) and our system succeeds in handling every situation: 

·        By means of  carbon filtering, active oils are removed, as well as pesticides, herbicides, composed organics, etc.; 

·        By means of Inverse Osmosis, the water is tested for the salt content and reduces it (up to 10.000 ppms of dissolved salts). This is a reduction of 98% all the present salts removed from sea water; 

·        By means of the use of ultraviolet rays, the unit can verifiably destroy up to 99.9% of all bacteria, molds, yeasts and contained virus present in contaminated waters. 


The WATER DEPURATION SYSTEM UNIT can be accessorized with alternative equipment necessary to deal with the reception of water sources and specific environmental conditions to treat the water and make it potable for distribution. For example: the generator can be replaced by photovoltaic solar panels.



A. Component (7): Inverse Osmosis 


The Inverse osmosis is the purification system of the water for alimentary uses most commonly used throughout the world. This procedure allows for the elimination of polluting particles of infinitesimal dimensions (up to a minuscule decimal of a micron, inclusive therefore of virus, bacteria and general impurity) therefore guaranteeing absolute bacteriological purity.


All of this happens thanks to the osmotic membrane, the real heart of the whole System, which is able "to sieve" the water up to molecular greatness, giving an optimal level of characteristics such as colour, taste, odour, as well as of organic purity.


For these reasons the purified water resulting from the inverse osmosis is clearly of a superior level of quality and taste, in comparison to water treated through any other technique of filtering. 


Inverse osmosis is the passage of a fluid through one semi-permeable membrane from a less concentrated solution to one of a higher salt content.  


Inverse Osmosis filters out such Polluting particles as:


- pesticides,

- insecticides, 

- detergents,

- radioactive elements,  

- chlorine, 

- chlorides, 

- nitrates, 

- nitrites,

- phosphates,  

- sulphates,  

- asbestos particles. 


In nature it is one of the more subtle vital phenomenon.  For Instance, plants get their necessary nourishments from the ground thanks to the osmotic ownerships of the roots in the same way the human kidneys provide purification of blood.  Both are the phenomenon of osmosis.  


Inverse osmosis, as the name says, is the inverse procedure of the natural process, obtained thanks to a force (the pressure of the water net) that  pushes more water of the concentrated solution, containing so-called "pollutants", through the semi-permeable Osmotic Membrane producing pure water on the other side, and eliminating in the process 100% of all the organic substances and beyond 80% of those inorganic, leaving exclusively the correct amount of mineral salt materials  as required by  the human organism.  


The choice of inverse osmosis, fundamentally, must be carried out for a very precise reason: in fact, let us take this opportunity to emphasize and to place independently in great relief that the purification system of inverse osmosis is the only one in the world in a position to guarantee the characteristics (chemical, physical and bacteriological) of a water network, river or sink to which is connected, the production of water of high quality and precise results. 


In fact, the distributed water, after having endured the treatment of purification in 3 phases, will have well defined and precise standard values, clearly verifiable through successive execution of analysis and practical tests.  



For instance, to quote the principal data:

- the fixed residue will be in every inferior case to 58 mg/lts; 

- and still the presence of limestone (hardness in F°) and iron will

     become notably reduced, 

- that  one of nitrates and nitrites (NO3, NO2)was practically cancelled; 

- the PH can oscillate between 6.50 and 7.04 and the electrical

     conductibility  specification to 20° it will be inferior to 60 uS/cms. 


Everything this is to confirm, without any doubt, that the "osmotized" water it an optimally good water oligo-mineral, light, diuretic, of extreme pleasant taste, and "bacteriologically "pure" therefore to represent an absolute certainty of health and well-being for every consumer. 


B. Component (8): Sterilizer to Ultraviolet Rays 


It has long been well known that the bacterial action of the ultraviolet rays  replaces the most natural forms of sterilization i.e. the action of the solar rays. 


Igniting a lamp of glass containing quartz mercury vapours has resulted in the emission of the ultraviolet rays on a constant wavelength,: 2537 A°,  resulting in the optimal destruction of 99.9% of bacteria, mildews, yeasts and viruses contained  in contaminated waters.  


The action of said lamps does not easily alter the physical/chemical characteristics of the water and therefore constitutes the more suitable instrument for producing potable the water without resorting to processes of chlorination that are harmful for several factors, such as  biodegradability, toxicity concerning the aquatic life, and the formation of composed oncogenes and teratogenes. ,  


The bactericide/U.V. Sterilizer is a predominantly electronic instrument, designed for making contaminated waters drinkable, without the use of chemical agents, therefore only minimally altering the characteristics of the water.


The water to be purified enters a room of sterilization where, protected from a special scabbard of quartz, the lamp is absorbed to UV rays. The water flowing in the room is immersed by the UV radiation which  instantly demolishes the bacteria contained therein.


The flow of the liquid inside the room is calculated to maximize the complete exposure of its molecules to the radiations. All the surfaces in direct contact with the water are made of stainless steel 304 (the enclosure of bactericide/U.V. Sterilizer and its connections) while the lamp is protected from the scabbard in quartz which assures the full operation and integrity of the process. 


In the case of sea water or water with elevated salt content, all the surfaces in contact with the water will be constructed of stainless in steel 316. 


Specific electronic devices constantly monitor the radiation levels, and immediately stop the water's flow (with special electrically operated valves) in case the emission of UV rays drops below the optimal values of sterilization. 


In the case of an extinguished lamp or lamp malfunction, this instrument stops the disbursement of the water, and provides a visual alarm i.e. the lighting of a special detector posted on the main switchboard.  


On the switchboard of the bactericide/U.V. Sterilizer is installed a monitoring device whose purpose is to verify the hours of service of the lamp, for proper handling of  the substitution of the lamp after 7.000 7.500 hours (over one year of operation). 


An electronic timer is used to monitor the water passing through the bactericide/U.V. Sterilizer, this process is never less than two minutes from the initialization of the light treatment, so as to give each lamp the required time to go through its regime and to sterilize the residual water in the room.  

For maintenance purposes, it is necessary to control the count-hours and to handle the periodic substitution of the lamp, which has exceeded the suitable temporal limit. It is recommended to clean the scabbard at least once a year.  


The instrument is completely automatic; it does nor require regulation or calibrations from specialized personnel. In the case of loss of voltage, it will automatically stop the water flow in order for the repetition of it's cycle of the lighting process upon the return of the electric power.  


In case of the "burning out" of the lamp, special alarms alert of the malfunction and the disbursement of the water is halted; only the intervention of an operator who replaces the lamp can reset the process to continue. 

All of these electronic devices assure that the bactericide/U.V. Sterilizer process is complete and only when the whole system is functioning properly can the water be withdrawn from the unit completely sterilized.


C. Quality of the water after treatment. 


The tolerable concentrations limits in drinkable waters (circular n° 33 of the Office of the Italian Health) are widely respected. 


However the results of the laboratory tests of the drinkable water from the Emergency Unit are always dependent from the characteristics of the water before the treatment. In fact the knowledge of the physical-chemical characteristics of the waters to be treated is essential for the optimization of  the process of making the water potable by the Emergency Unit. 


Following are the maximum tolerable concentration limits or chemical and toxic parameters after the potability is returned to the water: 



0, 2 


Composed Phenolic
Polluting Organic







Absorbed Power Kw

Least Use



MEL 500





MEL 1.000





MEL 4.000





Sept. 2003.          

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