PILOT STUDY ON LOW COST DOMESTIC SLOW SAND FILTER FOR GROUNDWATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
Most waterborne diseases can be prevented using simple, low cost water filtration techniques. The aim of this study is to design a low cost domestic slow sand filter, which can be operated and maintained effectiveness at household level by a member of the family, and determine its effectiveness in removing selected contaminants from the raw groundwater. Fine sand, activated charcoal, coarse sand, and gravel were used as media column for the developed slow sand filtration media. Common selected physico-chemical and microbial water parameters were examined before and after filtration with the slow sand filtration system. The filter was able to remove turbidity of the raw groundwater in the range of 86 - 92% without hampering the pH value or the temperature below the acceptable standards set by the Nigerian standards for drinking water quality. The filter media was able to reduce an average of 44 - 82%, 29 - 53% and 60 – 66% of total hardness, calcium hardness and chloride content, respectively from the chemical composition of the groundwater samples. The media also showed high effectiveness in reducing biological impurities from the groundwater. It was able to remove effectively the concentration of E-Coli and coliform counts. The average percent removal of E-coli and coliforms was found to be 100%. These were achieved with the aid of the bio-film layer that developed on the topmost part (fine sand layer) of the filter which was able to predate on the microbes in the groundwater samples. Slow sand filters are a sustainable means of water treatment when applied to appropriate source waters and when designed and operated properly.