Water disinfection using IV: An important project in Senegal

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Published on 03 July, 2024
Access to clean drinking water has been acknowledged as a human right since 2010. Yet, in many places, water remains a rare good and the quality often does not hold up to the high standards of what is considered drinkable water. While dissolved and undissolved particles can usually rather easily be extracted from water, bacteria and viruses prove to be more challenging.

Hygienic Water

Water treatment offers a wide range of technology to convert almost any water into safe drinking water. When filters have captured an excess of minerals or metals, the final stage focuses on the smallest of creatures: Bacteria and viruses.

Bacteria can be so tiny that for detection, a sample is stored away for days to allow multiplication. If bacteria are present, they become visible under a microscope as colony forming units, made up of millions of bacteria.

Per se, bacteria, as well as viruses, do not have to be harmful. There is an unnumbered amount of bacteria being essential for the human body to function. However, there are quite a few pathogenic microorganisms that thrive in water and that can harm seriously.

Pathogenic microorganisms that cause waterborne diseases, typically severe diarrhea, are for instance:

  • bacteria: Campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio cholera
  • viruses: Rotavirus, Norovirus, Hepatitis A and E

For a hygienic condition, water needs to be disinfected. Disinfection is defined as removal, deactivation or killing of pathogenic microorganisms.

Methods of water disinfection

For the safe disinfection of water, a number of technologies can be applied: Chemical (Chlorine, Ozone, Hydrogen Peroxide) or physically (boiling, ultraviolet light).

All methods have pros and cons:

  • boiling does not require complex components – but pushes the energy consumption to provide the heat needed
  • Chemical methods can provide disinfection and preservation for an extended time – but the right dosing (not too much, not too little) can be challenging to set
  • Ultraviolet light (UV) provides a powerful and instant disinfection – but cannot be used for long-term preservation

Further, especially for chemical disinfection methods, bacteria can develop an immunity towards a used composition.

A proper disinfection therefore should be a two-level approach, using two different disinfection technologies.

Technology: UV-Disinfection

The capacities of ultraviolet light to provide disinfection has been known for more than 100 years. For more than 50 years, UV-systems have been developed and used for the disinfection of water.

The core of any UV-system is a lamp that generates artificially ultraviolet light for germicidal effect. The best-in-class UV-lamps achieve to focus the produced electromagnetic waves on 254 nm, which provides the maximum impact on microorganisms.

The generated UV light penetrates the cell wall of the microorganism, causing damage to the genetic code, blocking the nucleic acid replication of the DNA.

By that, the microorganism is deactivated and rendered unable to reproduce or infect. This, the goal of any disinfection, UV light provides instantly, no exposure time required.


UST Umwelt-Systemtechnik GmbH is a German company found in 1991 in the town Gera in Thuringia. The company has 20+ years of experience, designing and manufacturing water disinfection systems that generate artificial UV-radiation. Over 15.000 PURE WATER systems have been built since. The systems are installed mostly in Germany to disinfect drinking water wells, replace chlorine in swimming pools and to treat industrial process water.

At UST, we believe, PURE WATER UV-systems should be part of any proper water treatment station.

Advantages of UV in the water disinfection

  • Simple installation & operation (connect to piping and energy source, switch on)
  • Immediate disinfection (no residence time, as it is required with oxidation processes like chlorination)
  • No addition of hazardous substances (like chlorine), therefore no efforts to train personnel, storage and transportation
  • Always full disinfection performance, no need for adjusting of dosing systems
  • There is no change of the chemical water quality; minerals and other properties are not impacted by UV, and therefore there is no change of taste and smell of the water (unlike other technologies like chlorination or reverse osmosis)
  • There is no formation of resistance of bacteria and viruses as it does happen with chemical disinfection substances

Project in Senegal

In 2022, UST tested new waters and found with SEV the perfect partner in Senegal to bring UST's UV-systems to West Africa.

SEV has been operating in Senegal for over 20 years, primarily involved in the distribution and installation of solar-powered groundwater pumps. Improving pumped water into drinking water quality with the help of the PURE WATER technology seemed to be the logical next step for both UST and SEV.

In June 2023, the collaboration was advanced through two joint projects. In Kafountine in the Casamance region, two ULTRA V41/O3-SOLAR systems were installed. One system provides clean drinking water to the local hospital, while the second system was installed in a vocational school. There, water from a fish farming facility is treated with the aim of improving breeding results.

Both systems are supported by the Renewable Energy Solutions Programme (RES Program) of the Export Initiative Energy of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.


The successful completion of the 2 projects in Senegal proved very useful as a showcase of the technology, making it possible to see, feel and taste the impact a PURE WATER-system does have.

Already before the official inauguration in Dakar a new partnership was born. Philippe Tchere, founder of allemand24, has an in depth understanding of the needs and demands of his clients that are looking for genuine products from Germany and other European countries. Instantly, the benefits of a cooperation were acknowledged.

The first shipment of PURE WATER systems arrived before the end of 2023, allowing clients to see and test the systems in operation. By mid of 2024 the latest series of submersible UV-systems will be available in Abidjan, setting the next milestone for strong partnership, that makes UV- systems for the water disinfection available to everyone.

Technically, any water can be upgraded to safe drinking water. All necessary technologies are available, tested and proven. The access to drinking water is limited only by the inability to distribute the technology to the places where they are needed. To overcome that challenge, governmental programs are organised as well as unnumbered initiatives of NGOs. An even bigger impact, however, private and international cooperation can make – in an ideal constellation bringing together identified needs and the fitting technology, forming a commercial and thereby sustainable venture.

is an innovative company based in Gera, Germany. Since 2004, they have been developing and producing systems that generate ultraviolet light for water disinfection.

 is a Senegalese company based in Dakar that has been distributing and installing solar-powered groundwater pumps for over 20 years. In 2022, the portfolio was expanded to include PURE WATER systems for the disinfection of drinking water.

 is an online store found in Abidjan with to date 3 stationary shops offering genuine and original products, imported directly from Germany and other European countries. Since September 2023 Allemand24 offers PURE WATER for Côte d'Ivoire.

German Energy Agency (dena)

The German Energy Agency (dena) is a centre of excellence for the applied energy transition and climate protection. dena studies the challenges of building a climate-neutral society and supports the German government in achieving its energy and climate policy objectives. Since its foundation in 2000, dena has worked to develop and implement solutions and bring together national and international partners from politics, industry, the scientific community and all parts of society. dena is a project enterprise and a public company owned by the German federal government. 's shareholder is the Federal Republic of Germany.

German Energy Solutions Initiative

With the aim of positioning German technologies and know-how worldwide, the German Energy Solutions Initiative of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (BMWK) supports suppliers of climate- friendly energy solutions in opening up foreign markets. The focus lies on renewable energies, energy efficiency, smart grids and storage, as well as technologies such as power-to-gas and fuel cells. Aimed in particular at small and medium-sized enterprises, the supports participants through measures to prepare market entry as well as to prospect, develop and secure new markets.  

Renewable Energy Solutions Programme (RES Programme)

With the RES programme, the Energy Export Initiative of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (BMWK) helps German companies in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors enter new markets. Within the framework of the programme, reference plants are installed and marketed with the support of the German Energy Agency (dena). Information and training activities help ensure a sustainable market entry and demonstrate the quality of . 

The RES Project Senegal is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action as part of the Renewable Energy Solutions Programme of the German Energy Solutions Initiative.