Water filters that can be constructed locally
Please describe the different types of water filters that can be constructed locally to address the various world wide water quality related health concerns. Please describe the cost and benefits of various water filtration approaches and give examples off projects where each technology was used successfully to both create jobs and improve human health outcomes.
There are several types of water filters that can be constructed locally to address various water quality-related health concerns. These filters can be made with locally sourced materials and are relatively affordable, making them suitable for use in communities with limited resources. Here, we will discuss some of these water filtration approaches, their costs, benefits, and examples of successful projects.
* Ceramic Water Filters * Cost: Low to moderate * Benefits: Effective at removing bacteria, protozoa, and sediments * Examples: Potters for Peace (worldwide), Ceramic Water Filter Solutions (Cambodia)
Ceramic water filters are made from porous clay mixed with a combustible material like sawdust. The mixture is shaped into a pot, which is then fired at high temperatures. The combustible material burns away during firing, leaving behind a porous ceramic pot that can effectively filter water. These filters are typically used in combination with a container and a spigot. They are effective at removing bacteria, protozoa, and sediments, but not viruses or chemicals.
* Biosand Filters * Cost: Low to moderate * Benefits: Effective at removing bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and sediments * Examples: Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) projects (worldwide)
Biosand filters use a combination of sand, gravel, and a biological layer to filter water. The biological layer, which forms on the surface of the sand, helps to break down organic contaminants. Biosand filters can remove bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and sediments. They are not as effective against chemicals. Biosand filters are easy to construct with locally available materials, making them an affordable solution for many communities.
* Slow Sand Filters * Cost: Moderate * Benefits: Effective at removing bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and sediments * Examples: Projects by the International Reference Centre for Community Water Supply (IRC) (worldwide)
Slow sand filters consist of a large sand-filled tank through which water slowly flows. A biological layer forms on the surface of the sand, breaking down organic contaminants. These filters are effective at removing bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and sediments, but not chemicals. Slow sand filters require more space and infrastructure than biosand filters, making them a more moderate-cost solution.
* Solar Disinfection (SODIS) * Cost: Low * Benefits: Effective at inactivating bacteria, viruses, and protozoa * Examples: SODIS projects supported by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) (worldwide)
Solar disinfection uses sunlight to inactivate waterborne pathogens. Contaminated water is placed in transparent plastic bottles and exposed to sunlight for 6-8 hours. Ultraviolet radiation and heat from the sun inactivate bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, but this method does not remove sediments or chemicals. SODIS is a low-cost solution, as it only requires plastic bottles and sunlight.
* Coagulation-Flocculation * Cost: Low to moderate * Benefits: Effective at removing sediments, bacteria, and some viruses and protozoa * Examples: Susteq projects (Kenya)
Coagulation-flocculation is a process in which a coagulant, such as alum or moringa seeds, is added to water. This causes contaminants to clump together, forming larger particles that can be more easily removed through sedimentation and filtration. This method is effective at removing sediments, bacteria, and some viruses and protozoa, but not chemicals. Coagulation-flocculation is relatively low-cost, as coagulants can often be sourced locally.
Each of these water filtration approaches has been used successfully in various projects worldwide to improve human health