202899 Evaluation of bleach pretreatment in the performance of personal water filters

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Elizabeth Lynn Carter , Chemistry Department, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
Gary D. Michels, Dr , Department of Chemistry, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
Families in rural areas of the Dominican Republic have limited access to potable water. Personal water filtration systems, consisting of two 5-gallon buckets, a ceramic filter element and a spigot, have been made available to remove the bacterial contamination found in normal sources of drinking water. Pretreatment with bleach is possible as the ceramic filter element contains activated carbon that will remove excess chlorine. This will eliminate bacteria, but reduce the life of the filter element and increase the cost of ownership. Bleach use is limited by cultural, economic, and physical limitations. Our studies indicate that bleach pretreatment may be unnecessary. Severely contaminated water was purified to determine the limitations of purification without bleach. Six personal filters were assembled and allowed to filter multiple trials of water from a local river. The river water was analyzed for E.Coli prior to filtration and purified water was analyzed after 12 hours. Despite the extremely high levels of bacterial contamination in the source water, the ceramic filter elements were effective in eliminating over 99.9% of E.Coli bacteria. There was a correlation between the levels of bacteria of the river water and the filtered water for each trial. In most cases, source water purified without bleach pretreatment will be of little health risk. However, for rivers and shallow wells bleach pretreatment is required.

Learning Objectives:
Describe how personal water filtration systems are made, and how their use improves public health in rural areas. Assess the effectiveness of personal water filtration systems as distributed to rural areas in the Dominican Republic. Identify risk factors of non-potable water with reference to common bacterial gastrointestinal infections. Identify the cultural, economic, and physical limitations of using bleach prior to source water filtration.

Keywords: Drinking Water Quality, Latino Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a member of the Water Quality and Public Health Program initiated through Creighton University, I personally collected and analyzed data relevant to the conclusions of this abstract. I have worked towards creating, testing, and monitoring these personal water filters, and I am familiar with their use in the rural areas of the Domincan Republic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.