Microbiological performance of a water treatment unit designed for household use in developing countries
Interventions to improve water quality, particularly when deployed at the household level, are an effective means of preventing endemic diarrhoeal disease, a leading cause of mortality and morbidity. Following a national survey indicating widespread faecal contamination of drinking water in Indian cities, a point-of-use water treatment unit was developed, which combines filtration and disinfection, does not require power or water pressure and has an operating cost of Rs. 0.25 (US$0.0057) per litre. We assessed the microbiological performance of the unit in the laboratory over the full 1500 l design life of the unit's consumable components. Geometric mean reductions for the units were more than 6 logs (99.9999%) for bacteria, more than 7 logs (99.99999%) for viruses and more than 3 logs (99.9%) for the test surrogate for protozoan cysts. Geometric mean reductions exceeded levels established for microbial water purifiers. The product water was free of detectable chlorine. If these results are validated in field trials, the deployment of the unit on a wide scale among vulnerable populations may make an important contribution to public health efforts to control intractable waterborne diseases.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Disease Control and Vector Biology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK 2: Hindustan Lever Research Center, Unilever Research India, Bangalore, India 3: SRL Ranbaxy Clinical Reference Laboratories, Mumbai, India
Publication date: 2006-09-01