The Development of an Indigenous Fluoride Filter

EPA Grant Number: SU833551
Title: The Development of an Indigenous Fluoride Filter
Investigators: Cumberbatch, Toby , Atipoka, Faustina , Ayamgah, Gilbert , Batiir, Blandina , Momade, Francis
Current Investigators: Cumberbatch, Toby , Atipoka, Faustina , Ayamgah, Gilbert , Batiir, Blandina , Berger, David , Freed, Leah , Momade, Francis , Nyarku, Michael , Pervez, Nadia , Ponce, Beatrix , Rana, Sikha , Venugopal, Varsha , Volk, Lindsay
Institution: The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art , Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 31, 2007 through July 31, 2008
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Water , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


A team of students and faculty from The Cooper Union and KNUST is developing a simple filter for the removal of fluoride ions from groundwater used by remote rural communities in the Developing World. Ingestion of large quantities of fluoride leads to dental fluorosis, a considerable problem in many rural communities in the Bongo District, in Ghana’s Upper Eastern Region.


A simple fluoride filter at affected boreholes would render the water potable. The filter must be adaptable to specific localities, easily constructed and maintained, affordable, use indigenous materials for construction and the filter media, and generate minimal waste. Direct consultation with the communities for whom the filters are initially intended is integral to the design process. The solution must make available the fabrication, installation and maintenance of the complete system to these communities. To this end, we will consult with: local workshops for construction; and the local Community Water and Sanitation Agency, district councils and NGOs for guidelines on installation and maintenance. Six Cooper Union students are characterizing potential filter media and designing a test rig for filter development. The PI, two students, and the Ghanaian team members, connected a test rig to a fluoride contaminated borehole in Ghana during summer 2007. This is being used to simulate the normal operation of the borehole and track the fluoride concentration for a calendar year. These data, in conjunction with input from the affected communities and filter media properties, will be used to design a truly sustainable filter for the removal of fluoride ions. This project is part of an investigation that is partially supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Media, Treatment/Remediation, Environmental Engineering, Sustainable Environment, Technology, Public Policy, drinking water, groundwater, fluoride, toxics, clean technologies, health effects, human health, children, environmentally conscious design, green design, community based,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report