EmSWATS: Empowered Sustainable Water Treatment and Sanitation

Project Summary

Research Advisor:  James N. Jensen (Environmental Engineering)

Project Theme:  Pollutant Source Control

This topic comprises several projects with the same theme: empowering people in low-resource environments to treat their own drinking water and prepare for sanitation issues. Four projects are available depending on participant interest. First, ceramic water filters will be designed and evaluated for their flow characteristics and ability to remove turbidity and microorganisms, Past EmSWATS projects have employed agricultural byproducts such as sawdust, rice husks, and byproducts of coffee manufacture. Second, solar thermal disinfection devices (parabolic and circular troughs) will be evaluated for their ability to focus sunlight and inactivate pathogens. This project involves work in design and field evaluation. Third, fabric will be evaluated as a filter medium for particle-associated pathogens in the environment. Fourth, natural materials (including sawdust and straw) will be evaluated for use as menstrual health maintenance (MHM) products. The purpose of this project is to develop MHM products that could be constructed by school-age children to empower girls to stay in school in low-resource settings.

Primary Activities:  Bench studies; Field work

Skills/Courses Recommended:  General chemistry; Introduction to environmental engineering/chemistry; Exposure to drinking water treatment (recommended)

Anticipated Conference Participation:  American Water Works Association; American Public Health Association