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News item: New Low-Cost Filter Could Bring Water To Millions

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2 comments, last: Sep-8-2009   Add a comment   Contributor:  TheTeam (Mar-17-2009)    Play a Video
Optimism: 4 Categories: Pollution, Population Growth and Control, Sustainable Living

A glass of clean drinking water!

By Chris Baskind

An inexpensive new type of filter being developed in the U.S. has the potential to bring drinkable water to millions — particularly in developing countries.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte think they've hit upon a simple and cheap way to filter drinking water in underdeveloped nations.

The process — which utilizes sand, a short section of PVC pipe, and common purification chemicals — can be produced onsite by minimally trained workers. Dr. James Amburgey says he hopes the low-tech solution will make fresh water available to millions who are now without safe drinking sources.

Amburgey has been experimenting with ways to add low-cost ferric chloride and a pH buffer to a traditional sand filter. The chemicals force contaminants such as Cryptosporidium oocysts to stick to the sand. The Cryptosporidium's tiny 5 micron diameter would otherwise allow it to pass through the comparatively porous filtration layer.

The UNC method has the additional advantage of speed. The chemical pretreatment yields filtration rates 30 to 50 times faster than more expensive methods, and can also be adapted to local varieties of sand and crushed rock.

A UNESCO report released today at the start of an international water conference in Istanbul defines fresh water access as one of the world's most pressing health issues. In Africa, half a billion people lack access to a reliable source of safe drinking water. Some 5,000 children die each day from diseases directly related to unsanitary water.

In prototype testing at UNC Charlotte labs, the new filter design removed 99 percent of Cryptosporidium-sized particles in water sampled from local creeks and rivers.

See original news item: LighterFootsteps, Mar-16-2009  
Related PlanetThoughts.org reading:
  Commodification Of Water (Aug-11-2011)
  "If your experience is that your food comes from ..." (Jul-19-2011)
  The Shrinking Pie: Post-Growth Geopolitics (Jul-7-2011)
  10 Ways To Celebrate World Water Day! (Mar-22-2010)
  'Swelling Glass' Cleans Polluted Water Like A Sp... (Jan-28-2010)
  Michael Pritchard Turns Filthy Water Drinkable (Aug-5-2009)
  What Can Be Done About Micropollutants In Water ... (Jul-13-2009)
  The Plastic Decision: How I Learned NOT to Love ... (Jul-11-2009)
  Adverse Health Effects Of Plastics (Jun-10-2009)
  Biofuel Production And Water Scarcity: A Drink-O... (May-11-2009)

Click one tag to see readings related specifically to that tag; click "Tags" to see all related readings
  
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Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Sep-8-2009)   Web site
And maybe your company could carry something like this? I wonder if it would be profitable for a for-profit company... or is this dependent on government-supported R&D and production?

I understand that offering a product requires a match in many dimensions, but as you point out, some countries have dire needs for purified water in an affordable way.
  
Comment by: DonnaHoffman (Donna Hoffman) (Sep-8-2009)   Web site

If the production could be optimized this way, then further research should be undertaken for it to be at par with the current filters on the market. But for other places/countries with water contamination issues, this should be implemented right away to address pressing concerns.

  
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About contributor Member: TheTeam (PlanetThoughts Team) TheTeam (PlanetThoughts Team)

Member: TheTeam (PlanetThoughts Team) The volunteers of PlanetThoughts.org are happy to give you their best selection of news, opinion, reviews, stories, quotes, tips, and more. We hope you enjoy the reading... and thinking. Thanks!

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