Project Title

Evaluating a Water Purification System in Haiti

Award

Finalist: 2015 Outstanding Scientific Project

Major

Environmental Health Science

Department

Environmental Health Science

Degree

Undergraduate

Mentor

Jason W. Marion

Mentor Department

Environmental Health Science

Abstract

Clean water access is essential for public health. In underdeveloped countries where clean water access is lacking, many non-profit organizations strive to find ways to purify water at the household and community levels. This past summer a chlorination system located in a small village in Haiti was tested for the first time since installation over a year ago. Using ColiPlates (Bluewater Biosciences, Mississauga, Ontario), we quantified the density of total coliforms and Escherichia coli in 83 water samples collected from the distribution system and adjacent surface water. Of these samples, 37 were from a single tap, 11 from surface water, and the remainder were from other locations within the system. The single tap tested was one of the most used taps in the non-profit compound, and had easy access for collection. Nearly all samples (81%) exceeded U.S. drinking water criteria of zero most probable number (MPN)/100 mL. When comparing drinking water samples to U.S. recreational water, the EPA recommends E. coli should not exceed 235 MPN/100, and 23 of 83 samples (28%) for drinking water were above single-day recreational water advisory conditions for U.S. waters. From the tap samples, 7 of 37 (19%) were above the recreational recommendations for the United States. With the information collected, recommendations were made to improve the system. Regular maintenance coupled with the addition of UV treatment are expected to eliminate or reduce the fecal contamination problem facing the village as evidenced in the observed E. coli levels.

Presentation format

Poster

Poster Number

51

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Evaluating a Water Purification System in Haiti

Clean water access is essential for public health. In underdeveloped countries where clean water access is lacking, many non-profit organizations strive to find ways to purify water at the household and community levels. This past summer a chlorination system located in a small village in Haiti was tested for the first time since installation over a year ago. Using ColiPlates (Bluewater Biosciences, Mississauga, Ontario), we quantified the density of total coliforms and Escherichia coli in 83 water samples collected from the distribution system and adjacent surface water. Of these samples, 37 were from a single tap, 11 from surface water, and the remainder were from other locations within the system. The single tap tested was one of the most used taps in the non-profit compound, and had easy access for collection. Nearly all samples (81%) exceeded U.S. drinking water criteria of zero most probable number (MPN)/100 mL. When comparing drinking water samples to U.S. recreational water, the EPA recommends E. coli should not exceed 235 MPN/100, and 23 of 83 samples (28%) for drinking water were above single-day recreational water advisory conditions for U.S. waters. From the tap samples, 7 of 37 (19%) were above the recreational recommendations for the United States. With the information collected, recommendations were made to improve the system. Regular maintenance coupled with the addition of UV treatment are expected to eliminate or reduce the fecal contamination problem facing the village as evidenced in the observed E. coli levels.