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< prev - next > Water and sanitation Water quality and treatment KnO 100520_Bio sand water filters (Printable PDF)
One approach to household water treatment that has
become more popular in recent years is the bio-sand
water filter. It is a relativly simple approach that can be
established using local materials and manufacturing to
produce a water treatment technology that works in the
The bio-sand filter should be considered as part of the
solution to clean water for families that do not have
access to other sources. It should be adopted in
conjunction with other treatments. The general approach
is to consider the treatment of water in the following
Protect the water source
Clean storage
This systematic approach is explained further in the
Practical Action’s technical brief Household Water
Treatment Systems This brief focuses on bio sand filters
in the home.
Practical Action has used bio-sand filters in Peru and
Bangladesh and this technology has been promoted in
many other countries by other organisations. This bio-
sand household filter is a fairly recent innovation in
Bangladesh and Peru, but has undergone extensive
testing at the University of Calgary in Canada since its
inception by Dr. David Manz. The filter is a small,
household sized adaptation of the slow sand filter
allowing it to be run intermittently.
The filters were first used in Haiti in 1999 and their
usage is still spreading throughout the country as people
become aware of their low-cost effectiveness. The
following description is of the domestic scale bio-sand
filter used by Practical Action.
The bio-sand filter’s simple technology, its proven
effectiveness and availability of production materials are
what make it a viable option for remote households. In
areas where education is limited, people of all ages,
including young children, are able to use the filter and
understand how it works.
Figure 1: Domestic bio-sand filer
used in Bangladesh. Photo: Practical
Action Bangladesh.
Figure 2: A domestic bio-sand water
filter being used in Peru. Photo:
Soluciones Prácticas.
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