The initiative that will benefit more than 100 families began to take shape in 2021 under the objectives of the development plan generated by the community through which they identified the most important needs for this town located in the Salar de Atacama.
With a traditional ceremony of the territory known as Convido, the inhabitants of the Camar community began the ceremony where they commemorated an important milestone: the inauguration of their first drinking water plant, whose initiative, which was supported by SQM, will benefit more of 100 families, and that contributes directly to the habitability and rooting of its people in the territory.
"It is a great achievement. Seeing all the effort made by us and our ancestors come true leaves me happy and excited, because wow! that it cost us, as an organization, to unite and think about the same objectives,” said Manuel Tejerina, a community member from Camar, who recalled the process of starting this project whose work began in 2021.
Having this vital element will allow families to actively participate in various development opportunities such as: entrepreneurship, tourism, agriculture, productive development, among others, generating sustainable growth over time, and being a model and benchmark for other communities in the Salar. from Atacama.
This project is part of the portfolio of initiatives considered in the Camar development plan; a participatory instance where they agreed on the most important needs for the locality. Regarding the materialization of the project, which represents a milestone of progress for everyone who lives in Camar, Héctor Cruz, president of the community, stressed that: "We must thank God, because a project that was within of our development plan, because although we had drinking water through cistern trucks, we longed to have a plant that could feed the entire community, and today it is already a reality”.
A positive impact for this indigenous community that was recognized by the president of the Atacameño Peoples Council, Manuel Salvatierra, who explained that: “The Lickanantay people have lived in the territory for more than 11 years and that historical experience is also due to the resource of water that has been part of the territorial administration that indigenous communities have today. I want to value the people of Camar that aims at development, working in line with the dignity of the population. I believe that with their own efforts and with the support of the company, it is possible to have a water plant that will satisfy all their needs”.
This milestone materializes tAfter a joint effort of more than 5 years and which is reflected in a collaboration agreement between SQM and the community, generating a necessary link to contribute to the execution of the Camar development plan. Gonzalo Guerrero, Chairman of the SQM Board of Directors, stated: “Today we meet again in Camar after a year when we inaugurated, together with the community, the photovoltaic plant that provided energy continuity to the community, and now we are facing a new milestone that also points to the development of Camar”.
The SQM executive added that: “This initiative that fills us with pride is part of the company's Sustainability Plan, which is associated with various environmental goals and commitments, placing special emphasis on the creation of shared social value and sustainable development. of the surrounding communities with which we are linked”.
The inauguration of the plant is intended to abate arsenic and other minerals, to comply with the Chilean drinking water standard. The mayor of San Pedro de Atacama, Justo Zuleta, stressed that: “It is a tremendous project for Camar and the commune of San Pedro de Atacama. Our goal is to work towards the sanitary resolution in each of the localities and for this they must first have drinking water. This joint work with the community and SQM also allows efforts to be concentrated in other communities to achieve the same. The truth is that for us it is very significant and we congratulate you for this achievement of doing all this joint work and for the neighbors themselves”.
Characteristics of the drinking water treatment plant
The water treatment plant has a capacity of 108 m3/day (100 l/m). its main function is to reduce arsenic, from 0,5 PPM (raw water) reducing to <0,005 PPM (after treatment). The Chilean standard for drinking water indicates that the maximum arsenic must be less than 0,01 PPM.
The system used has two stages. The first is flocodecantation, responsible for reducing 98% of the arsenic and other minerals contained in water, through decantation with flocculants and coagulants. Its second stage is filter, adsorption and chlorination, a process responsible for removing flocculant particles and through adsorption process remove remaining arsenic to later add chlorine to the water.