Simple locally produced ceramic filters are a cheap way of treating water to produce drinking water for household use in developing countries. It is of course important that the filtered water is microbiologically safe. In order to study this we have tested three ceramic filters that are locally produced in Malawi. This work was done for Hans Kasbergen of the Smart Centre Group that has been active in Malawi for many years.
For the test we used WWTP effluent so that we could be sure that many different bacteria and E. coli would be present. Every day for three days we tested the untreated and treated water with our ORVIdetect qPCR for the number of E.coli bacteria and the total number of bacteria.
Clearly the treated water has a different colour and fewer floating particles than the untreated water (see photo). Furthermore the results have shown that the filters remove >99.6% of the E. coli bacteria, but only 30-74% of the total number of bacteria (see chart). Further research should show whether the bacteria still present in the treated water form a potential risk, or that the water is safe to drink in all cases.
Thommy Verschuuren works at Orvion looking from innovative and often unexpected angles at the challenges that face customers. He likes to show that cost savings and sustainable development can go hand in hand. “Often the green solution is also the economically advantageous solution, but it just does not occur to you”.