Field-testing UV disinfection of drinking water

A recently invented device, “UV Waterworks,” uses ultraviolet (UV) light to disinfect drinking water. Its novel features are: low cost, robust design, rapid disinfection (12 seconds), low electricity use (40W), low maintenance (every 6 months), high flow rate (15 l/min) and ability to work with unpressurized water sources. The device could service a community of 1000 persons, at an annual total cost of less than 10 cents US per person. UV Waterworks has been successfully tested in the laboratory. Limited field trials of an early version of the device were conducted in India in 1994-95. Insights from these trials led to the present design. Extended field trials of UV Waterworks, initiated in South Africa in February 1997, will be coordinated by the South African Centre for Essential Community Services (SACECS), with technical and organizational support from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the Natural Resources Defence Council (both USA). The first of the eight planned sites of the year long trial is an AIDS hospice near Durban. Durban Metro Water and LBNL lab-tested a UV Waterworks unit prior to installing it at the hospice in August, 1997. We describe the field test plans and preliminary results from Durban.