Household water treatment : slow sand filtration
Corporate Authors:National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (U.S.). Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases.
Description:Studies have shown that household water treatment and safe storage interventions improve water quality and reduce diarrheal disease incidence in developing countries. Five of these proven options – chlorination, solar disinfection, ceramic filtration, slow sand filtration, and flocculation/disinfection – are widely implemented in developing countries. The decision of selecting which options are most appropriate for a community is often difficult, depending on existing water and sanitation conditions, cultural acceptability, implementation feasibility, availability of technology, and other local conditions. This series of technical bulletins is designed to assist organizations in comparing and selecting the most appropriate options.
A slow sand filter is a sand filter adapted for household use. Please note that although commonly referred to as the BioSand Filter, the BioSand Filter terminology is trademarked to one particular design, and this fact sheet encompasses all slow sand filters. The version most widely implemented consists of layers of sand and gravel in a concrete or plastic container approximately 0.9 meters tall and 0.3 meters square. The water level is maintained to 5-6 cm above the sand layer by setting the height of the outlet pipe. This shallow water layer allows a bioactive layer to grow on top of the sand, which contributes to the reduction of disease-causing organisms. A diffuser plate is used to prevent disruption of the biolayer when water is added. To use the filter, users simply pour water into the top, and collect finished water out of the outlet pipe into a bucket. Over time, especially if source water is turbid, the flow rate can decrease. Users can maintain flow rate by cleaning the filter through agitating the top level of sand, or by pre-treating turbid water before filtration.
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