Optimisation of household Biosand filters Richard Outhaite
The household Biosand filter is a well-established example of
technology used throughout the developing world to improve the quality ofdrinking water. This project studied two methods to optimize its performance andmitigate some of the risks that can arise from incorrect operating conditions andprocedures. It also investigated the filters ability to remove pesticides from rawwater. The first method to optimise the filter was by
one filter using sandfrom an existing Biosand filter to speed up the maturation of the filter. The secondmethod used to improve the performance of the filter was the addition of a tap tothe outflow pipe, which would prevent the need for users to store water that hadbeen filtered, thus removing the possibility of recontamination through storage.The ability of the filter to remove pesticides was studied to allow us to establishwhether the filter could be used on waters contaminated by other pollutants. Totalcoliform counts were used as the indicator to quantify bacteriological removal andGas Chromatography-Mass spectrometry was used to detect the residualpesticide, Metaldehyde, in the filtrate. Headlosses, pH, turbidity and DissolvedOxygen were also measured and studied. The seeded filter reached 99% coliformremoval after 16 days, 10 days before the unseeded filter. It showed significantlyhigher coliform removal rates than the unseeded filter throughout the study acrossthe 3 samples taken during each test (
< 0.01). The filter with the tap showedthat it could still maintain significantly high coliform removal rates (99.2%,
<0.01)even after pausing the flow of water. These two modifications to the installationand operating system indicate that they can both improve filter performance andreduce the risk of operational misuse. The filter did not show consistent removal ofthe Metaldehyde, as a wide spectrum of removal rates were recorded (0.00% -73.5%). Whist the results were not conclusive to show that the filter couldconsistently remove the pesticide; it does however show some potential, whichcould be investigated in further studies.