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Developing an Integrated Water Filteration project for a Community in Ghana

October 20, 2009

Julian Mills-Beale, PhD Candidate in Civil & Enviromental Engineering.
Michael Kivisalu, PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering.

In Danchira, the current water sources for drinking and other purposes are ponds, dug-outs, shallow wells, and non-perennial streams. Water from these sources is unsanitary and is a source of water-borne diseases. Since the Ghanaian government is currently attending to the clean-water needs of other cities, it could be 5 to 10 years before the government provides potable water in Danchira. This inspired Julian and Michael to develop their project. The project employs a borehole, a 20 to 45 foot hole drilled into the ground. Water will be pumped out of this hole using a solar-powered pump and then stored in a storage tank. Next, the water will pass into another tank where impurities—such as plastic, paper, or other large particles—will be removed. After that, harmful chemicals will be removed by a catalytic converter or by an activated-carbon filter. Finally, toxic bacteria will be removed either by UV light or by an activated-carbon filter. Safe, clean water will then be ready for the people of Danchira. (A flowchart of the process is shown in Figure 1.) The project is still in its initial stages, so Julian and Michael welcome suggestions that might help to improve the project. They are also looking for funds to build a water filtration unit in Danchira and to pilot the project.