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Tal-Ħandaq Nostalgia

Memories of the Royal Naval School, Malta, 1947 - 1978.


Distilling Plant - Sliema Ferry - October 2009 ©

Under a preservation order? Used to contain a printing press in the 60s, now used as offices. (Not sure I would want to drink water from Sliema Creek even if thrice distilled).

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phillrose   [May 03, 2010 at 10:11 AM]
Well remember the place as a printing works, of course in those days the right hand wall was directly on the waterside. Would be interesting to know what plant they were using to produce the "fresh"? water. We used to produce under vacuum which of course reduced the tempereature required to evaporate, but did not kill nasties in the water.
Prefect   [May 03, 2010 at 10:52 AM]
I've been Googling again - "Malta claims credit for the worlds first commercial desalination plant, which opened at Sliema in 1881 " "In 1881 the first sea water distillery on the island was erected in Sliema in order to provide water to the British barracks on the Tigne Seafront." So as it was for soldiers, perhaps they weren't too bothered about the quality Exclamation
Martin Powell   [May 03, 2010 at 11:23 AM]
Maybe it was fine, especially mixed with rum or gin. It would've been boiled to distil anyway.
Prefect   [May 03, 2010 at 12:43 PM]
Phill, I've no idea what temp it was done at but before the days of RO plants, we used to vap straight to the domestics. (That was when I could persuade the Second to spare me some!) Don't remember killing anybody.
phillrose   [May 03, 2010 at 12:55 PM]
Our rules were that we could only pump to domestic tanks over 25miles from a coast in the hope that the sea water was not contaminated by human waste, closer than 25 it went in the engineers tanks for boilers and engines.
Would not want to make to the domestics in Bombay for example, or Plymouth for that matter.
Prefect   [May 03, 2010 at 01:06 PM]
Nothing wrong with Eau de Guzz !! We pay a large fortune in water bills to ensure pristine beaches for the Grockles. Yes I remember that rule coming in. We used to ignore it around the Falklands.
Martin Powell   [May 03, 2010 at 02:57 PM]
All very pertinent as there is now an RO plant at Dingli, presumably for consumption. True it's not coming from Sliema Creek, but the sewage treatment is probably still pretty basic. Do they have any UV treatment? Apart from the sun I mean.
Prefect   [May 03, 2010 at 04:08 PM]
Dont know but there are three RO plants, at Pembroke, Cirkewwa and Ghar Lapsi. RO is much more betterer than distilling. I used to have one on my well in rural Shropshire.
phillrose   [May 04, 2010 at 04:08 AM]
All most interesting, right about the Falklands, not much human waste around there, much like Ras-al-Hadd. Know litle about RO, understand the water is forced through a fine membrane, not sure if that makes it potable, as you say Martin UV might be wise.
Prefect   [May 04, 2010 at 04:39 AM]
Yes its very effective, but expensive and you need to replace minerals to improve the taste . "Reverse osmosis is incredibly effective at desalinating water and providing mineral-free water for use in photo or print shops. It is also effective at providing pathogen-free water. In areas not receiving municipally treated water or at particular risk of waterborne diseases, reverse osmosis is an ideal process of contaminant removal."
Martin Powell   [May 04, 2010 at 09:49 AM]
OK for Dingli read Ghar Lapsi. Presumably oil or mains-powered, as you say expensive.
Prefect   [Jun 24, 2010 at 06:59 AM]
I now learn (from yesterday's TOM) that there are sewage treatment plants and by the end of this year, Malta will be fully compliant with EU Directives by not discharging any untreated sewage to sea. They also produce "2nd class water" which is used for irrigation, concrete mixing and firefighting. Some 55% of the potable water is now produced by the RO plants using less energy than previously. but there is still concern about the lowering of the water table.
Martin Powell   [Jul 03, 2010 at 06:37 PM]
I remember Mrs Thatcher, when challenged about raw sewage discharges, saying "I think you'll find it's treated sewage, TREATED sewage". The big lumps mashed up. No aspersions on the ToM statement - just a rueful recollection.
phillrose   [Jul 05, 2010 at 01:43 PM]
For sure it's the lumpy bits you have to watch. Remember mum taking me to see the naval doctor about an ear infection, he said that the seas round the island are cryastal clear, but it is like swimming in a sewer, we survived though!!
Martin, did Old Bat get in touch with you about Wednesday?
Prefect   [Jul 06, 2010 at 08:01 AM]
Oh Ye of little faith! Apparently Malta will be the first country to fully comply with EU requirements which I'm sure takes more than mashing up the lumpy bits. Mellieha Beach now has a Blue Flag! (Barbecues are banned - to local consternation.)
Martin Powell   [Jul 07, 2010 at 07:35 PM]
Yes yes, we have de fait'. We were just reminiscing. And it's a very low class of persin dat camps on de beach (quote), also now banned.
Prefect   [Jul 08, 2010 at 01:28 PM]
Correction - Mellieha is still working towards Blue Flag. St George's and Bugibba "Perched" Beach have them.
  [Nov 11, 2010 at 01:49 PM]
Luckily the building already housed a printing firm when we arrived in '36. As there were two bungalow type flat roof dwellings built on stilts over the water a few yards away towards the ferry, their sanitary disposal must have added great flavour to the water.
Martin Powell   [Nov 11, 2010 at 08:00 PM]
I remember houses on stilts still there early 60s, we (age 10) used to hang from the girders and travel fom one to the next above the water. Where are you Tommy Taylor? Remember Denise Procter?
sheila macdonald   [Nov 12, 2010 at 08:54 AM]
We always had to boil all water before drinking it. Byut that did not stop us from going to the magic kiosk by the Ferries. You could get a drink there called a sensation. all different coloured cordials which were put into one glass and never ran into each other.

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