Clean Water Systems using Local Materials

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Access to safe drinking water is one of the UN's Millennium Development Goals. This goal is currently not on track to be met.

Contaminants in Drinking Water

  • Minerals
    • Arsenic
    • Cadmium
    • Chromium VI
    • Lead
    • Mercury
  • Organics
  • Biologics
    • Viruses
    • Bacteria
    • Parasites
    • Algae
    • Others

Sources of Contamination

  • Naturally Occurring
  • From Agriculture
  • From Industry
  • From Consumer Use

Purification Techniques

Design Considerations for Low-Cost Water Purification

Water Purification Technologies and Products

Prof. Abul Hussam of George Mason University has created a water filtering system that requires no electricity to remove arsenic and organic chemicals from drinking water. The filter systems are made from locally available materials: clay pots, sand, cast iron shards, brick chips, and charcoal. SONO Diagnostic Inc. (originally an arsenic testing service) supervises manufacturing by a local organization in Bangladesh, at 100 units per day. Each filter, costing $35, produces 20 to 50 liters of clean water per hour and can serve two families. Already 32,500 such filters have been distributed, two-thirds for free. Plans are are being made to deliver more than 10,000 filters to UNICEF and other nongovernmental organizations.

The George Mason University Foundation oversees the Abul Account, which supports Dr. Abul Hussam's continuing research. People interested in contributing to it can write a check to the GMU Foundation, with a note that the money should be credited to the Abul Account.