South Africa’s recent water crisis and the 2016 drought that had gripped the country, are nightmares the populace is yet to fully recover from. Coming to the succor of ever-increasing pains of the economically disadvantaged could be the simple method of slow soil filter.
This discovery was made by a fourth-year chemical engineering student at the University of Witwatersrand, Busisiwe Mashiane.
“Many South Africans living in disadvantaged communities across the country, not only have difficulties accessing water but also face many health risks due to the lack of access to clean drinking water, says Mushiane.
Although his solution to the current water crisis in the country is remarkable, the slow sand filter, as a matter of fact, the method dates back to 1804 and has been redesigned through the years.
“Our research project is aimed at figuring out the mechanism of the slow sand filter, to see how it functions under different conditions, and to find ways to optimize it” explained Mashiane.
If well-designed, slow sand filter can effectively purify water and help remove the bacteria found in it. The popularity of this type of purification system lies in the fact that it is cost-effective and easy to use in a household, which is where the initial solution is focused at.
“We want to discover where it’s limitations are and eventually find the best way to replicate the design and easily cut down the set-up time currently between three to four months, due to the need to wait for the biological layer to form.”
This project is specifically aimed at the lower income section of the country, who have inadequate access to clean water and are plagued the most by the pathogens organisms found in water.
“Imagine they could go to the river and get a bucket of water, come home, pour it through the system and be able to drink it. That is the idea; to make natural water source accessible to people!” Mashaine tells with a smile.
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