Household water treatment: defluoridation of drinking water by using bone char technology in Ethiopia

The first phase of a collaborative project aims at testing the acceptance and performance of bone charbased fluoride removal filters in Ethiopia. The filters were produced by the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru (CDN), Kenya and supplied to 121 households in two project sites in the Great East African Rift Valley. Each unit was regularly monitored, while providing technical support to all applicants. After a study period of one year, more than 80% of the filters in Meki (Weyo Gabriel) and 100% of the filters in Shashemene (Chalalaka) are in use. None of the users expressed any objections concerning the use of charred animal bones, independent of religious or cultural background. Fluoride removal efficiency of the filters was satisfactory, although lifespan is limited due to very high fluoride concentrations in some of the groundwater sources (up to 23 mg/L). Filter design requires modification for improved performance in Ethiopian communities.