Mission Senegal

SIMEV UNESCO Chair in Developing Countries: an example of achievement in Senegal

The Summer School co-organised, from the 6th to the 9th of June 2007, by the University of Dakar and SIMEV UNESCO Chair enjoyed the participation of 12 countries, 29 industrials, 58 scientists and 6 NGO. The main topic was: ″Water & Heath – Contribution of Membrane Technology″.
This Summer School was placed under the patronage of UNESCO, of French and Senegalese National Commissions, of the Science Academy of Paris and the Technologies Academy of Paris. During the meetings, a discussion took place, about a Senegalese issue: a drill located at Ndiaffate (300m below the surface), providing water to nearby villages. The water had excessive fluor and salt rates, generating a real and immediate sanitary danger for the local population: weakening of bones and deformation of the skeleton.
Membrane technologies were up to this water and health issue: it was an opportunity to demonstrate in the field some possible applications of Membrane Technologies, and to prove the interest of this Summer School.

September 2007: 100 litres of water from the well of Ndiaffate are sent to the test laboratory of PALL company – France..

Tests showed that nanofiltration (NF) using Membrane Technology is appropriate to the situation. A NF pilot plant was built in France by PALL and PONTICELLI, with SIMEV UNESCO Chair acting as an intermediary on the behalf of CNRS (French national research center) and AIRD (African Initiatives for Relief and Development). The pilot plant arrived in Ndiaffate in June 2009. Scientific monitoring in the field was ensured by Prof. Courfia Diawara of the University of Dakar and his PhD student, Diop Saidou. SIMEV UNESCO Chair helped with buying a spectrophotometer, which was used to perform the necessary assay, in order to check the concentration of fluor and salt in the water. After a few optimization tryouts of the pilot, the experiences were eventually successful. Actual results were even better than in the laboratory: the rate of fluor and salt dropped below WHO standards and water was quite palatable. Moreover, the Chair facilitated the arrival of a student for an internship at the European Membrane Institute (IEM) in Montpellier. This student’s mission was to characterize the membranes needed for this project and to go further into the analysis techniques.


Senegal Ndiaffate2 

March 2010: Studies on the pilot plants are over. The project moves forward…

Three years after Dakar’s Summer School, in 2010, an industrial unit (powered by photovoltaic energy) was built. This unit provided 5000 litres of good-quality water, supplying 8 villages (2800 persons) on a daily basis. A second unit was scheduled to be built in 2011. Diop Saidou monitored the project in field, and his skills, along with his personal qualities, led to the project’s success. He obtained his PhD in November 2010, his topic being the pertinence of the use of NF for the treatment of waters with high fluor rates. After two stays at IEM in Montpellier (6 months each, the first one during his PhD and the second once as a postdoctoral fellowship), he published 3 articles on the topic in international journals. This project is a perfect example of what can be done with West-African countries. Additional assays are currently in progress in Niger and Mali, with the same co-development patterns as in Senegal: a strong and close collaboration between a local scientific team, SIMEV UNESCO Chair and a manufacturer.


April 2012: A summary of the project

Two NF stations, powered by solar energy, are now connected to the water pipe of the drill. Each station supplies a tank, and each tank supplies six specific fountains. The whole installation provides 10 cubic meters of drinkable water a day. Final cost: €1.05 per cubic meter.


October 20 2012: Official opening of Ndiaffate site

The whole installation, including the two NF units, is now fully working, and supplies 10 cubic-meters of drinkable water daily, each unit being linked to six fountains.