Point-of-use chlorination of turbid water: results from a field study in Tanzania

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Household-based chlorine disinfection is widely effective against waterborne bacteria and viruses, and may be among the most inexpensive and accessible options for household water treatment. The microbiological effectiveness of chlorine is limited, however, by turbidity. In Tanzania, there are no guidelines on water chlorination at household level, and limited data on whether dosing guidelines for higher turbidity waters are sufficient to produce potable water. This study was designed to assess the effectiveness of chlorination across a range of turbidities found in rural water sources, following local dosing guidelines that recommend a ‘double dose’ for water that is visibly turbid. We chlorinated water from 43 sources representing a range of turbidities using two locally available chlorine-based disinfectants: WaterGuard and Aquatabs. We determined free available chlorine at 30 min and 24 h contact time. Our data suggest that water chlorination with WaterGuard or Aquatabs can be effective using both single and double doses up to 20 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU), or using a double dose of Aquatabs up to 100 NTU, but neither was effective at turbidities greater than 100 NTU.

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