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Evaluation of the Implementation (Pilot) of a Small Community Electrochlorination Device—Smart Electrochlorinator (SE200) —at a Field Site in a Peri-urban Community (Kisumu, Kenya)

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While point-of-use and household water treatment have received widespread attention, interest in community-scale treatment of water is growing, particularly in peri-urban settlements that are not reached by municipal water infrastructure. The Smart Electrochlorinator 200 (SE200) is a low-rate initial production device that creates enough chlorine-based, mixed-oxidant disinfectant solution to treat up to 200 L of water per 6-minute run cycle. The SE200 is a device that could potentially fill the gap for options for water quality treatment between the household level and the municipal level by targeting provision of water at sites serving tens to hundreds of people.

The SE200 was used in a field trial in Kasule, a peri-urban community of Kisumu, Kenya. Surveys were administered and water samples were taken from 20 households (non-clients) of the general community in both the wet and dry seasons (April-May and July 2010, respectively). A water kiosk micro-entrepreneur operated the system to disinfect well water for sale to his/her clients. The SE200 was evaluated by sampling for chlorine residual and microbial contamination pre- and post-treatment as well as by tracking ten clients'water quality. Microbial contamination was measured by enumerating total coliforms and Escherichia coli (fecal indicator) bacteria.

Despite having many water sources from which to choose, the study demonstrated heightened vulnerability for non-clients to fecal contamination when shifting from the wet season to the dry season. This trend is associated with the predominant use of minimally contaminated rainwater in the wet season and highly contaminated well water in the dry season (p≪0.01). The study also found that use of the SE200's disinfectant significantly reduced levels of E. coli and total coliforms in the micro-entrepreneur and clients’ water (p≪0.01). Overall, the SE200 is a promising intervention for use in peri-urban settings where access to municipal water systems is limited, purchase of water is common, and populations are more vulnerable to variable water quality.

Keywords: Community water intervention, electrochlorination; E. coli; IDEXX; Kenya; SE200; micro-entrepreneur; microbial water quality; most probable number; outcome evaluation; peri-urban; residual; source chlorination

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

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