A Word of Caution
You are free to use this information at your own risk. I take no responsibility for any personal injury or property
damage caused by any information gleaned from this website.
This website is about developing techniques for making safe and affordable drinking water from hazardous water.
This includes contaminated ground water, surface water, rainwater, seawater and brackish water. My concern is
for people in developing countries and those caught in natural disasters - situations where clean safe water is scarce
and expensive. My focus is on simple and affordable, do-it-yourself (DIY) methods for treating hazardous water at
the household level. Most of my techniques are powered by the sun and gravity - the freest, most abundant sources
of energy. Using free solar energy and gravity means poor people can spend more of their precious resources on safe
water (and food) and less on costly fuels and fancy equipment.
The Mission of H2oHow is to empower people at risk with the know-how and tools to solve their own hazardous
water treatment problems using abundant, affordable and sustainable resources like the sun, sand, and gravity.
Boiling and Chlorination are best!
Now, before I get too far ahead, let me state for the record, the best ways to disinfect lots of hazardous water
in an emergency are boiling and chlorination. Boiling is your best option. When boiling is not available, use
unscented household liquid bleach (sodium hypochlorite, 5%) or chlorine solution made from calcium hypochlorite.
These two methods are needed where life threatening illness like cholera and dysentery are present. However,
when these two methods are not available - solar pasteurization and solar disinfection (SODIS) are your best
(affordable) options. These methods use heat and ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight to disinfect water.
Both of these methods kill or deactivate all known bacteria, virus and microbial cysts that cause human illness.
Again, use sunlight when boiling (fuel) or chlorine are not an option.
Below is a summary of some hazardous water treatment techniques including pre-treatment filters and sunlight
disinfection tools developed in my backyard (Pearl River, LA, USA) since January, 2010.
Pre-treatment filters are used to remove particles and sediments from hazardous water in preparation for disinfection
and storage. Highly turbid (cloudy, brown, grey) water includes particles and sediments that harbor and conceal
pathogens and imped disinfection using chlorine and UV radiation. Hence, in our model, filtration is the first step in
disinfecting hazardous water. However, filtered water may look and taste clean, but may still harbor pathogens.
Additional testing and disinfection is usually required. The bad news is no water filter can remove virus like hepatitis
that are too small to block. The good news is sunlight, boiling or chlorine disinfection can kill virus and should be used
for final treatment.
Historically, people have used a variety of tools and media to filter water including cotton cloth, silk, sand, charcoal,
ceramics, dialysis and reverse osmotic membranes. These methods vary in effectiveness and affordablity. Reverse
osmosis and dialysis are probably the most effective, but the most expensive and technically advanced filters. Since
I want to focus on simple, affordable and sustainable DIY techniques - reverse osmosis and dialysis are beyond my
Below is a summary of my pre-treatment water filters including gravity fed ceramic, bottle, and biosand filter developed
since January, 2010. Click on a link (below) to learn more about a tool, its development and implementation.
Doulton Ceramic filter
Porous Concrete/Sand Filter
Modular BioSand Filter
Sunlight disinfection includes solar pasteurization and solar disinfection (SODIS). These methods use either heat or ultraviolet(UV) radiation from sunlight to disinfect water. Both of these methods kill or deactivate all known bacteria, virus and microbial
cysts that cause human illness. Again, use sunlight when boiling (fuel) or chlorine are not an option.
Below is a summary of my sunlight disinfection tools and techniques developed since January, 2010. Click on a link (below) to
learn more about a tool, its development and implementation.
SODIS - Light Amplification
Punch Bowl Distiller
A Summary of Water Pasteurization
Techniques from The Solar Cooking
Solar Cookers International
Green Power Science
American Red Cross
SODIS Water Project
Church World Service
Global Water Challenge
Water Aid America
Rescue Task Force
| TMA Seva -BioSand Water Filters
Cleft of The Rock Ministries
KWAHO - Kenya Water for Health
Darfur Peace and Development
Save the Children
Emmanuel International Mission
Water for People
Action Against Hunger
Living Waters for the World