Household Water Treatment in Low-Resource Environments

Flat disks stacked in a small chamber.

Test disks for the evaluation of ceramic water filters.

Refine water treatment techniques using the scientific method to identify dependable, low-cost solutions to help individual households gain access to clean water.

Project description

About 800 million people in the world lack access to clean water. This project in focused on helping them, and in particular, the development of low-cost drinking water treatment methods on the household scale for low-resource environments. Previous students have investigated ceramic water filters, fabric filtration, plant-based coagulants, solar thermal disinfection, and iron and arsenic removal. Students should have a grounding in freshman chemistry and calculus. The projects are mostly lab- or field-based.

Project outcome

The primary outcome is the use of the scientific method to optimize household-scale drinking water treatment methods.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About a semester (3-5 months)
Start time Anytime
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Individual student project
Benefits Academic credit; Work study
Who is eligible All undergraduate students who have completed freshman Chemistry and Calculus
Udall and Goldwater Scholarships

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the Udall Scholarship and the Goldwater Scholarship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Project mentor

James Jensen

Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies

Environmental Engineering

207B Jarvis Hall

Phone: (716) 645-4007


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Schedule a meeting with Dr. Jensen using the contact information above. 


Environmental Engineering