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Water 2016, 8(3), 95; doi:10.3390/w8030095

Performance and Acceptance of Novel Silver-Impregnated Ceramic Cubes for Drinking Water Treatment in Two Field Sites: Limpopo Province, South Africa and Dodoma Region, Tanzania

1
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
2
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Univerity of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33146, USA
3
Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
4
Department of Microbiology, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, Limpopo 0950, South Africa
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miklas Scholz
Received: 20 December 2015 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 29 February 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract

Diarrheal disease and environmental enteropathy are serious public health concerns in low-income countries. In an effort to reduce enteric infection, researchers at the University of Virginia developed a new point-of-use (POU) water treatment technology composed of silver-impregnated porous ceramic media. The ceramic is placed in a 15 L plastic container of water in the evening and the water is ready to drink in the morning. The purpose of this study was to assess field performance and local acceptance of technology in two communities in Limpopo Province, South Africa, and one community in Dodoma Region, Tanzania. Performance was determined by coliform testing of treated water. Acceptance was determined using data from 150 household surveys and a nine-day structured observational study at a local primary school. At the primary school, 100% of treated water samples had no detectable levels of total coliform bacteria (TCB) in buckets filled by researchers. For all treated school buckets, 74% of samples achieved less than or equal to 1 CFU/100 mL and 3.2 average log reduction of TCB. Laboratory experiments with highly contaminated water diluted to lower turbidity achieved 4.2 average log reduction of TCB. Turbid water (approximately 10 NTU) only achieved 1.1 average log reduction of TCB; turbidity and organic material may have interfered with disinfection. The Tanzania primary school (deep groundwater source) had less turbid water and achieved 1.4 average log reduction of TCB; however, it did have high chloride levels that may have interfered with silver disinfection. The surveys revealed that the majority of people retrieve, store, and dispense water in ways that are compatible with the new technology. The willingness-to-pay study revealed potential customers would be willing to pay for the technology without subsidies. The results of this study indicate that this novel silver-impregnated ceramic POU water treatment technology is both effective and appropriate for use in the study communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: drinking water; water treatment; water disinfection; water purification; social entrepreneurship; international development drinking water; water treatment; water disinfection; water purification; social entrepreneurship; international development
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kahler, D.M.; Koermer, N.T.; Reichl, A.R.; Samie, A.; Smith, J.A. Performance and Acceptance of Novel Silver-Impregnated Ceramic Cubes for Drinking Water Treatment in Two Field Sites: Limpopo Province, South Africa and Dodoma Region, Tanzania. Water 2016, 8, 95.

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