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Low cost chlorine dispensing device improves tap water safety in low-resource regions

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A team of researchers led by engineers at Tufts University's School of Engineering and Stanford University's Program on Water, Health and Development have developed a novel and inexpensive chlorine dispensing device that can improve the safety of drinking water in regions of the world that lack financial resources and adequate infrastructure. With no moving parts, no need for electricity, and little need for maintenance, the device releases measured quantities of chlorine into the water just before it exits the tap. It provides a quick and easy way to eliminate water-borne pathogens and reduce the spread of high mortality diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and diarrhea.
The chlorine treatment device requires little maintenance and no change in collection of water from the tap. Credit: Amy Pickering

According to the CDC, more than 1.6 million people die from diarrheal diseases every year and half of those are children. The authors suggest that the solution to this problem could be relatively simple.

In communities and regions that do not have the resources to build water treatment plants and distribution infrastructure, the researchers found that the device can provide an effective, alternative means of water treatment at the point of collection. The device was installed and tested at several water collection stations, or kiosks, across rural areas in Kenya.

The study, which also looks at the economic feasibility and local demand for the system, was published today in the journal NPJ Clean Water.

"The idea we pursued was to minimize the user burden by automating water treatment at the point of collection," said Amy J. Pickering, former professor of civil and environmental engineering at Tufts (now at Stanford) and corresponding author of the study. "Clean water is central to improving human health and alleviating poverty. Our goal was to design a chlorine doser that could fit onto any tap, allowing for wide-scale implementation and increasing accessibility to a higher-level of safe water service."

Water is a simple substance, but a complex global health issue in both its availability and quality. Although it has long been a focus of the World Health Organization and other NGO's, 2.1 billion people still lack access to safe water at home (WHO). In areas of the world where finances and infrastructure are scarce, water may be delivered to communities by pipe, boreholes or tube wells, dug wells, and springs. Unfortunately, 29…
Science X staff
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