Field trial of an automated batch chlorinator system at shared water points in an urban community of Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Point-of-use water treatment with chlorine is underutilized in low-income households. The Zimba, an automated batch chlorinator, requires no electricity or moving parts, and can be installed at shared water points with intermittent flow. We conducted a small-scale trial to assess the acceptability and quality of Zimba-treated municipal water. Fieldworkers collected stored drinking water over a 10-week period from control (n = 24 households) and treatment (n = 30 households) compounds to assess levels of free chlorine and E. coli contamination. Overall, 80% of stored drinking water samples had a safe chlorine residual among treatment households, compared to 29% among control households (P < 0.001). Concentrations of E. coli were lower (mean difference = 0.4 log colony-forming units/100 mL, P = 0.004) in treatment compared to control households. Fifty-three percent of mothers (n = 17), thought the Zimba was easy to use and 76% were satisfied with the taste. The majority of mothers mentioned that collecting water from the Zimba took more time and created a long queue at the handpump. The Zimba successfully chlorinated household stored drinking water; however, further technology development is required to address user preferences. The Zimba may be a good option for point-of-collection water treatment in areas where queuing for water is uncommon.

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