MadiDrop: Water Filter for Developing World

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In developing nations, people living in rural or poor communities rely on local groundwater that is often contaminated, and water filters are often too expensive to install.

MadiDrop may be the solution.

MadiDrop is an effective, long-lasting, and inexpensive water filter invented by PureMadi, a non-profit organization run by University of Virginia researchers.

“Each filter can serve a family of five or six for two to five years,” said James Smith, a University of Virginia civil and environmental engineer who co-leads the project with Rebecca Dillingham, director of the university’s Center for Global Health.

Clay, sawdust and water are molded into a disk, fired in a kiln and subsequently painted with a thin coating of silver or copper particles which get rid of 99.9% of water contaminants.

The silver or copper particles act as a disinfectant for waterborne pathogens that can cause diseases like cholera, E. coli, as well as diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration.

Tests have proven MadiDrop safe to use, as only trace amounts of silver or copper particles have been found within the water.

MadiDrop is the second water filter created by PureMadi. Its predecessor was the flowerpot shaped MadiFilter. MadiFilter was more expensive, which limited its distribution throughout the developing world.

MadiDrop and MadiFilter would ideally be used in conjunction. “MadiDrop is cheaper, easier to use, and is easier to transport than the PureMadi filter, but because it is placed into the water, rather than having the water filter through it, the MadiDrop is not effective for removing sediment in water that causes discoloration or flavor impairment,” Smith said.

MadiDrop is an improvement on the MadiFilter with respect to its cost ($5), ease of use and distribution.

Users of MadiDrop simply pour water from an untreated source, like a river or well into MadiDrop, and 1-3 liters (approximately 1/4-3/4 gallons) of filtered water will flow into a 5-gallon bucket placed underneath per hour.

MadiDrop is created from widely available materials and can be easily built, which means it can be built in the developing countries that need water filters the most. This provides jobs for the local public and also ensures easy access to the much needed water filters.

A small percentage of the profits are kept by PureMadi in order to build more factories.

PureMadi has already set up a factory in the Limpopo province of South Africa which has already produced several hundred water filters.

PureMadi hopes to develop factories that will be able to produce 500-1,000 filters per month. “Eventually that factory will be capable of producing about 500 to 1,000 filters per month, and our 10-year plan is to build 10 to 12 factories in South Africa and other countries,” said Smith.

– Kasey Beduhn

Source: psfk, Earth Techling
Photo: Flickr

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