A team of researchers led by engineers at Tufts University’s School of Engineering and Stanford University’s Program on Water, Health and Development have developed a novel and inexpensive chlorine dispensing device that can improve the safety of drinking water in regions of the world that lack financial resources and adequate infrastructure. With no moving parts, no need for electricity, and little need for maintenance, the device releases measured quantities of chlorine into the water just before it exits the tap. It provides a quick and easy way to eliminate water-borne pathogens and reduce the spread of high mortality diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and diarrhea.
According to the CDC, more than 1.6 million people die from diarrheal diseases every year and half of those are children. The authors suggest that the solution to this problem could be relatively simple. In communities and regions that do not have the resources to build water treatment plants and distribution infrastructure, the researchers found that the device can provide an effective, alternative means of water treatment at the point of collection. The device was installed and tested at several water collection stations, or kiosks, across rural areas in Kenya. The study, which also looks at the economic feasibility and local demand for the system, was published today in the journal NPJ Clean Water.
In areas of the world where finances and infrastructure are scarce, water may be delivered to communities by pipe, boreholes or tube wells, dug wells, and springs. Unfortunately, 29 percent of the global population uses a source that fails to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) criteria for safely managed water – accessible and available when needed, and free from fecal and chemical contamination. In many places, access to safe water is out of reach due to the lack of available funds to create and support water treatment facilities. The fast-moving water stream draws in chlorine from a tube attached to the pinch valve. A needle valve controls the rate and thus amount of chlorine flowing into the water stream. The simple design could allow the device to be manufactured for $35 USD at scale.