Fresh water consumption in the scouring of raw wool at a Mill in South Africa has been dramatically reduced by a combination of two factors, namely the purification and recycling of some of the wash water for reuse during rinsing, and the recycle of water from the firm's biological degradation ponds for use in the earlier stages of wool washing and in neutralising. Purification is undertaken by means of formed-in-place hydrous zirconium (IV) oxide membranes which are deposited automatically on porous sintered stainless steel supports. While about the same total quantity of water is used to wash the wool as traditionally, fresh water consumption on selected washlines has been reduced by approximately half.

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