desalination towers

Submitted: Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 10:21
ThreadID: 57941 Views:2359 Replies:2 FollowUps:4
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have got a question to those like me that have been up the oodnadatta track a few times, does any one know how the old desalination towers work that are located at each of the old ghan railsidings, how do they take the salt out and what method is used. Funny that cities are say it is all so expensive to do but they had these towers years ago. So if any one can fill me in and get back to me and my wife i would love to know just how they worked as there is so many of them on the old line. I love the look of the old towers today and my favourite place to camp on the track is near one of them at beresford bore.
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Reply By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 10:58

Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 10:58
Sounds like they use a distillation process (heat the water and collecting the condensation)....this blog mentions the 3 chambers and a centre pipe.

Realising that this water supplied probably 1000L at a time with the dimensions being 7m x 30m high, then take this process and multiply it by up to one hundred thousand (obviously there will be efficiency increases in bulk) and you can see the whole issue of supplying water to large cities.

At current day standards, desalination by distillation is very expensive, as well as being slow to achieve high volumes.

They look like a great piece of history though.

AnswerID: 305583

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 11:03

Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 11:03
Actually on second thoughts the Places search for Beresford Railway Siding SA mentions them being water softeners.....different process. They were probably used to remove calcium and magnesium carbonates from the hard water as this inhibits the boilers ability to heat, and causing their components to overheat, due to the buildup on the walls.

FollowupID: 571613

Follow Up By: lockey lux - Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 14:50

Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 14:50
thanks for the info so it sounds from that it was steamed or heated to remove the minerals guessing must have been like a boiler with sections underneath for the fire would have been big coal fires for that. not a lot of wood out there porbably had to get that brought up on the train too
FollowupID: 571645

Follow Up By: Member - John R (QLD) - Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 21:02

Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 21:02
I think they were Kennicott water softeners (not water distillers), but I haven't been able to find out exactly what was done, other than chemicals were added to the water to reduce the formation of scale in the boilers. Kennicott was a UK company formed in 1902 (and the name still exists today).
Cheers, John
FollowupID: 571718

Follow Up By: Member - Bucky (VIC) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 08:11

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 08:11

Agree with you there,...............Water Softener, not desalination

They are a different kettle of fish, as the Vic Government is putting one here in Wonthaggi Vic. .....When all the protesters have given up !

FollowupID: 571758

Reply By: mechpete - Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 21:40

Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 21:40
my understanding was the process used lime ,an it was to stop the boilers on the steam trains from rusting out ,!! cos of the bore water.
AnswerID: 305673

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