Making Water Drinkable

The international charity Water Aid released a study in March which said Equatorial Guinea has one of the highest percentages of people in the world who live without access to clean water. The World Health Organization said in 2015 there were only three countries in the world where less than 50% of the population had access to drinkable water, and Equatorial Guinea was one of those.

When we arrived Erin did her own lab work and discovered our tap water was extremely hard water (high in calcium and magnesium) and had lots of harmful bacteria. Contaminated water can spread Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E, Typhoid, Leptospirosis, Schistosomiasis and other nasty critters that cause sickness and death.

Here is what we did to make sure our water is drinkable and reduce the probability of water-borne illness:

Edited_ImageEasyImageEditor_20160416_128[1]To the faucet we have connected a Sawyer 3-Way Inline water filter. It has a 0.1 micron absolute hollow fiber membrane inline filter and removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli. It removes 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium. From that filter the water is drinkable. We use that water to wash our dishes in the sink and to wash our hands. But, we want to be super-safe, so for the water we drink we take an extra step. We put the water from the first filter into a pitcher and carry it to our two bucket system.

Edited_ImageEasyImageEditor_20160416_129[1]We purchased two buckets, bleached them and drilled holes near the bottom. To the hole in the top bucket we connected the Sawyer SP191 two bucket purifier. It a has 0.02 micron absolute hollow fiber membrane purifier and it removes 99.997% of viruses, 99.99999% of bacteria, and 99.9999% of Protozoa/Cysts. It works via gravity and filters 1-liter of water per minute. We pour the water into the top bucket and it is gravity fed, down the tube, through the filter into the bottom bucket. The water sits in the bottom bucket covered until we are ready to drink it. We take water straight from the gate valve at the bottom of the bottom bucket for drinking.

Our way-over-the-top, better to be safe than sorry, do-it-yourself water purification system cost under $200 (including the custom made wooden table, two buckets, gate valve and both filters). The great thing about this system is there are no parts to replace, therefore they will work great for us here. To clean the system you simply reverse the water flow through the filter and blow the gunk down the drain. We also have the 3-Way Inline filter on our bathroom faucet for brushing our teeth.

Edited_ImageEasyImageEditor_20160416_130[1]Here are the results. The glass on the right came straight from our kitchen tap. The glass on the left came from the bottom bucket after going through our two-filter system. Water clarity isn’t the most important thing, but in a still photo you can sure get the idea of how well it works. The water on the left is cleaner than bottled water.

Pretty cool. Praise God.


One thought on “Making Water Drinkable”

  1. Go Erin! I remember your commitment to keeping MTW teams safe in Haiti. Thankful for your skills.

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