Microbial and chemical assessment of ceramic and BioSand water filters in rural Cambodia

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Unless significant advances are made in the water and sanitation sector, it is unlikely that Cambodia will meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target #7 for water and sanitation. Point-of-use technologies (POU), also termed “household water treatment technologies”, have been identified as successful options for providing safe water to rural households. Ceramic water filters and BioSand filters are two major POU technologies that are currently implemented across Cambodia. This paper presents data on the microbial performance of these two technologies in the field on various Cambodian source waters. In addition, data are presented on the occurrence of nitrite in treated water. Results showed that 61% and 88% of BioSand filters and ceramic filters, respectively, produced water in the low risk range for E. coli as defined by the WHO (0–10 CFU/100 mL). In addition, 83% of BioSand filters and 75% of ceramic filters were not meeting the WHO guideline value for chronic exposure to nitrite in drinking water (0.2 mg/L).

Keywords: BioSand filters, Cambodia, ceramic filters, household water treatment, nitrification, point-of-use water treatment

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