Simple low-cost filter delivers clean, safe drinking water

March 16th, 2009 - 4:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 16 (IANS) An efficient and inexpensive way to treat water could bring clean, safe drinking water to millions of people.
The rapid sand filter system, which is being developed by James Amburgey, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at University of North Carolina, Charlotte, uses inexpensive chemicals to treat water.

“All that is needed is some PVC pipe, sand and inexpensive treatment chemicals. The only way to practically deploy a system to the people of less developed countries is for it to be inexpensive and simple,” Amburgey said in a university release.

He has done work in the past with slow sand filters, but his latest research with rapid sand filters is demonstrating the ability to clean water much more effectively and 30 to 50 times faster.

“One significant challenge with sand filters is in removing cryptosporidium oocysts,” Amburgey said.

“One ‘crypto’ is five microns in diameter, but the gaps between grains of sand are approximately 75 microns. So, we have to get the crypto to stick to the sand grains.”

Amburgey and his students have done preliminary tests on waters from rivers, creeks and wastewater treatment plants. Their results are typically 99 percent removal for cryptosporidium-sized particles.

Another advantage of the system is that it can be adapted by using sands or crushed rock that are indigenous to a particular region of the world, said the release.

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