A Low Cost Family Water Filter for Developing Countries

EPA Grant Number: SU835994
Title: A Low Cost Family Water Filter for Developing Countries
Investigators: Meegoda, Jay N
Institution: New Jersey Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Sergeant, Anne
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2015) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Awards , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Sustainability , P3 Challenge Area - Water

Objective:

The main objective of this research is to develop a low cost family water filters for developing nations. The filter will remove pathogens as well as pesticides and heavy metals such as Pb, Cd, and As in drinking water due to the application of agricultural chemicals. The aim is to use the locally available materials such as bio-char, charcoal and hematite found in the developing nations for the development of low-cost clay-pot filters. The proposed filter is a fully sustainable design with the ability to purify water at affordable costs. The production is a low energy process where agricultural waste will be combusted in the Kiln to heat the air dried filters. The filtering system will have the capability to operate under adverse economic, social, and environmental conditions.
 

Approach:

The design of the compact clay-pot filters involves the impregnation of locally available additives such as bio-char, charcoal and hematite. Proposed filters will be a variation of the clay-pot filters that were previously developed for Milot, Haiti by our research team. The outstanding capabilities of hematite and magnetite for heavy metal absorbance, active carbon of charcoal or bio char for organics removal and colloidal silver in clay-pot technology for pathogen removal will be integrated for water purification. The amount of additives, thickness of filter and the pore structures of the filter will be varied to optimize the removal efficiency. Particularly, the pore structure of the filter will be varied by the addition of saw dust, which will be burned inside the kiln to produce micro-pores. The design will be evaluated in terms of the removal efficiency of pathogens, organics and heavy metals in the raw water to be filtered through. A surrogate mixture of pathogens, organics and heavy metals representing drinking water from North Central Province of Sri Lanka will be used for the above evaluation. We will also perform a qualitative assessment to monitor the life improvement of the areas where heavy metals in drinking water have severely impacted the lives of the communities in developing nations.
 

Expected Results:

The proposed filter is fully sustainable designed with the ability to purify water at affordable costs. The production is a low energy process where agricultural waste will be combusted in the Kiln to heat the air dried filters. The filtering system will have the capability to operate under adverse economic, social, and environmental conditions. This project will educate NJIT students involved; specifically they will learn concepts of sustainability through research and through the instructions by the principle investigator. Students not directly involved will be educated by other forms such as workshop series. The proposed design requires the coordination of interdisciplinary expertise from civil, environmental, and chemical engineering.
 

Supplemental Keywords:

Pathogens, Agriculture, Fertilizer, Heavy metal, Pesticides, Developing countries, Sustainable development, Adsorption, Filtration, Clay-pot filter