This study describes the new design and function of a modified version of a traditional slow sand filter. The Submerged Pond Sand Filter is built inside a pond and has a vertical as well as a horizontal flow of water through a sloped filter opening. The filter provides treated drinking water to a rural Indian village. The filter has functioned with minimal maintenance for five years without being subject to the typical scraping off and changing of sand as needed in traditional slow sand filters every few months. This five-year study showed bacterial removal efficiency of 97% on average with a level of faecal coliforms of 2 ± 2 colony forming units (CFU)/100 mL measured in the treated water. Turbidity was visibly removed during treatment. When water was retrieved from the filter through a manual pump for long consistent time intervals (60 min), faecal coliform counts increased from four to 10 CFU/100 mL on average compared to shorter pumping intervals (5 min). Though the treated water did not comply with the World Health Organization standards of 0 CFU/100 mL, the filter significantly improved water quality and provided one of the best sources of drinkable water in a water-depleted area, where only surface water was available. Furthermore, it is a sustainable treatment method due to low maintenance requirements.
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