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Improved Biosand Methodologies for Sustainable Clean Water Solutions in Northern HondurasEPA Grant Number: SU835529
Title: Improved Biosand Methodologies for Sustainable Clean Water Solutions in Northern Honduras
Investigators: Wilber, Gregory G , Lam, Eric
Institution: Oklahoma State University
EPA Project Officer: Levinson, Barbara
Project Period: August 15, 2013 through August 14, 2014
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2013) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability
The project has two primary objectives. The first objective is to improve manufacturing techniques for biosand filter construction, focused on reducing the cost and time required to build each filter. The second objective is to investigate the relationship between organic carbon content of source waters and the performance of the biosand filters. This information can then be used to develop recommendations for filter operation, such as hydraulic loading rates, for various source waters.
Like the objectives, the project will have a two-pronged approach. Filter construction, which is currently occurring in Seis de Mayo, Honduras, will be monitored. Several groups in northern Honduras, following training by the Oklahoma State University chapter of Engineers Without Borders, are engaged in biosand filter construction. Current construction techniques will be reviewed and improvements to the process will be made as needed. Filter performance will also be monitored. Furthermore, as use of biosand filters spreads, the variation in the influent water quality will be monitored to determine its effect on filter performance. The second objective will be achieved with experimental laboratory work. A series of scale model biosand filters have been constructed and will be tested under a variety of conditions. In particular, the relationship between filter performance (as defined by removal of coliform bacteria) and influent water quality (with particular attention paid to organic carbon content) will be determined. The role of hydraulic loading (and organic loading) will also be investigated. Results from these experiments will provide insight into optimum ways to operate filters in different locations which have different influent organic carbon concentrations.
Both aspects of the project will lead to improved construction and operation of biosand filters in Honduras. The Hondurans who have taken on the challenge of constructing and distributing biosand filters appreciate the support and expertise that can be provided in improving the construction process as well as the profitability for them. They also benefit from the experience we can provide when troubleshooting problems in both construction and filter operation and maintenance. Because the influent water quality can vary widely depending upon the source used, additional information on how filter operation can be modified in response to these variations will be extremely valuable.