The slow sand filter method has been used for centuries to treat water.
It’s so effective that the World Health Organisation has given it its stamp of approval:
“Under suitable circumstances, slow sand filtration may be not only the cheapest and simplest but also the most efficient method of water treatment.”
Until now this method has mostly been used on a large scale, but fourth-year chemical engineering student in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at Wits, Busisiwe Mashiane is researching and developing a slow sand filter to meet the needs of South Africans at home.
Speaking to Azania Mosaka, Mashiane said the point is to make it accessible to people who are in remote areas and have a problem accessing water.
Its a system that is designed for families, so households, there could be one in each household and people will be able to go to their local river, most communities if not all have some sort of river close by.— Busisiwe Mashiane, fourth-year chemical engineering student at Wits
Imagine they could just go to that river and get a bucket of water, come home put it through a system and be able to drink it. That is the idea, to make natural water sources more accessible to people.— Busisiwe Mashiane, fourth-year chemical engineering student at Wits
She adds that the system is largely what is called a continuous system where there is flow from one container to the next until you get the final product.
You pour water into a feed tank, that could be a bucket of 25 litres or bigger, dependent on the needs of the family. And that's the water that we would get from the river or rainwater and we flow it through into that and the water flows through the water.— Busisiwe Mashiane, fourth-year chemical engineering student at Wits
Listen below to the full interview: