Revival of Dormant Biosand Water Filters Proves Promising: Study to Be Shared at the WEDC International Conference This Week

Rutland, VT – July 28, 2015:
A field study testing the reactivation of point-of-use, biosand filters after two months of inactivity yields positive results.

Michael Reed, Pure Water for the World, Inc. (PWW) volunteer, conducted the study during his year of service with the organization in the rural region of Trojes, Honduras.

FilterPure Water for the World, Inc. operates community-wide safe water solutions. Providing schools with access to safe water is an important component of the clean water programs. Biosand filters are an established point-of-use water treatment technology for household use. However, their need for daily operation has challenged the potential of using this technology in school settings, where long holidays may mean the filters remain dormant for several months.

Michael Reed, an engineer by trade, wanted to test this theory. Reed’s study took a sample of eight schools in the rural region of Trojes to determine whether school filters could be restarted, without reinstallation, after having remained dormant during the two-month Honduran winter break.

Reed worked closely with PWW partner CAWST (Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology of Calgary, Canada) during the study. CAWST is a non-profit organization that provides water, sanitation and hygiene training and consulting to organizations that work directly with populations in developing countries who lack access to clean water and basic sanitation. CAWST provided consulting support and feedback to Reed, and the PWW team, during this study to ensure data accuracy, including gathering, quantifying, measuring and reporting.

Results of Reed’s study proved positive, with all test filters performing acceptably two weeks after being restarted. No reinstallation was necessary. These initial results indicate that the biosand filter is a viable technology for schools in rural Honduras.

“We needed to find a solution for our schools, where coffee growing season and school holidays mean the filters are left dormant for long periods of time,” states Reed. “Reinstallation of biosand filters is cost and resource intensive. Studying the reactivation of the filters was critical to determining the feasibility of this technology. The initial results are exciting.”

Continued studies are being planned, with the Pure Water for the World teams in Haiti and Honduras, to further understand best practices with the revival of biosand water filters post latency.

Results of Reed’s study will be shared this week at the 38th WEDC (Water, Engineering and Development Centre) International Conference in London, England. David Weatherill, International Technical Advisor at CAWST will be presenting the results. This year’s WEDC conference is focused on improving access and sustainability to water, sanitation and hygiene services beyond 2015.

PWW and CAWST hope that this research will assist other water project implementers in making decisions about using biosand water filters in schools, as well as in households, which have undergone a period of dormancy.

About Pure Water for The World, Inc.:

Pure Water for the World, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to improve the health and livelihood of children and families in the developing world by partnering with communities to establish safe water solutions. To date, PWW has served over 200 communities across Latin America and Haiti, reaching more than 750,000 individuals. For more information, visit