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The long-term sustainability of household bio-sand filtration

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conference contribution
posted on 12.02.2018, 15:08 by Eric Fewster, Adriaan Mol, Cleo Wiesent-Brandsma
The introduction of intermittently operated slow sand filters, suitable for use at household level, is gaining momentum in the developing world. An estimated 100,000 bio-sand filters are already in use, providing improved drinking water to more than half a million people. Laboratory and field research has shown that bio-sand filters are capable of impressive reductions of turbidity and pathogen levels. However, long-term sustainability, social acceptance and appropriateness have not been well documented. An evaluation was therefore conducted in rural Kenya to measure the performance of filters introduced 4 years previously. Measuring turbidity and E.coli removal rates, maintenance practices and user perceptions, the study found all but one filter were still in use with over 70% producing water of good quality. Underperformance of some filters pointed at poor maintenance habits. As a ‘point-of-use’ water treatment solution, bio-sand filtration seems to be very appropriate, effective and cheap. Strategies to introduce this promising technology at a large scale need to be seriously investigated.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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WEDC Conference


FEWSTER, E. ... et al, 2004. The long-term sustainability of household bio-sand filtration. IN: Godfrey, S. (ed). People-centred approaches to water and environmental sanitation: Proceedings of the 30th WEDC International Conference, Vientiane, Laos, 25-29 October 2004, pp. 558-561.


© WEDC, Loughborough University


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