Zamzam Water Tanks, Saudi Arabia
Permare® meets stringent new standards twelve years on in Zamzam water structure.
Located in Makkah – the world’s holiest Muslim city, the sacred water from the Zamzam Well is offered to millions of pilgrims each year as they visit the grand mosques of both Makkah itself and Madinah. Demand is especially high during Ramadan and the Haj Holy Festival. The water, which has been blessed for all humanity, flows constantly and is famed for its healing properties.
Back in 2004, the well’s eight underground concrete water storage tanks required refurbishment following the failure of the existing sheet system. The failure had occurred in the joints between sections of the sheet and at details where complex angles required the system to be cut and bonded. This failure had allowed water penetration into the concrete, which if left untreated, would undermine the structural integrity of the tanks.
Stirling Lloyd’s high performance Permare® EPW tanking and lining membrane was used to protect the holy Zamzam water storage structures, covering approximately 12,000m2. Twelve years later, in 2016 the in-situ product, which was applied in 2004, has passed the rigorous testing to meet the new standards set by the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), confirming continued protection of the water facilities.
Grand Mosques Authority
Dar Al Handasah
Issam Kabbani & Co
- Zamzam Water Tanks
In 2004, the Gran Mosques Authority was looking for a Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) approved coating system that was, seamless and liquid applied - to ensure detailing without any vulnerable joints - as well as durable. The system had to be easy to maintain, whilst not promoting the growth of aquatic microorganisms to ensure the holy water would be untainted. It was also vital that the chosen system would form a strong bond to the concrete substrate, so that should any unnoticed damage occur during maintenance in later years, it would remain localised and not allow water to spread underneath the membrane and cause greater damage.
Following a year-long product study, in which Stirling Lloyd’s Permare EPW successfully met all the given criteria - supported by its proven track record of successful applications throughout the Kingdom - the Grand Mosques Authority and consulting engineers, Dar Al Handasah, approved the system for use on this sensitive project.
Preparation of the substrate and application of the system was undertaken by authorised contractors Issam Kabbani & Co. Once they had shot blasted the concrete substrate to thoroughly remove any contamination - including loose salt deposits, which could interfere with any systems bond to the substrate - the surface was evened out using grinders. The membrane was then applied to the concrete tanks using short-fleece rollers in two coats to aid on-site quality control and ensure 100% integrity.
The use of Permare EPW proved invaluable on this sensitive project. Permare EPW system’s proven compatibility with potable water was essential and has helped ensure that the Zamzam water’s unique flavour, chemical composition and curative properties are retained. The system’s tolerance of high temperatures, of up to 55°C, and high humidity enabled the refurbishment to take place in July - one of the city’s hottest months of the year. In addition, its speed of application and cure allowed the vital storage tanks to be rapidly returned to service.
In 2016, the SGS - set up by the Zamzam Studies and Research Centre (ZSRC) – set new standards to ensure that the water used by millions of pilgrims who visit each year retains the highest possible quality.
Despite its strong track record - having provided internal protection on Zamzam water holding structures without the need for repairs or re-coating for twelve years - the Permare EPW Tropical system had to be retested and SGS set out stringent pass/fail criteria according to the highest international standards for all tanks.
“The key requirement of the new regulations is to provide durable internal protection to the concrete Zamzam water holding structures with suitable coatings without affecting water quality,” says James Hopper, Stirling Lloyd Regional Sales Manager – Middle East. “Several previously approved coatings failed this new testing regime despite providing credible international certification.”
Anis Ur Rehman, Sales Manager – Utilities, Stirling Lloyd Middle East, added: “It is safe to say that the Zamzam water supply is protected by a new and uncompromising testing regime which filters out substandard products. Stirling Lloyd is pleased to be continuing to help protect a continuous supply of Zamzam water to serve the Kingdom and the millions of pilgrims from around the world.”
The Zamzam Well has provided drinking water for millions of travelling pilgrims for many thousands of years. The selection of Stirling Lloyd’s Permare EPW system in 2004 has ensured the important task of protecting and maintaining the continued supply of this holy water has been successfully fulfilled for the past twelve years, with the system capable of continuing to fulfil this objective for many years to come.