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Journal of Water and Health In Press, Uncorrected Proof © IWA Publishing 2014  |  doi:10.2166/wh.2014.223

Assessing point-of-use ultraviolet disinfection for safe water in urban developing communities

Christina K. Barstow, Aaron D. Dotson and Karl G. Linden

Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA E-mail: karl.linden@colorado.edu
Civil Engineering, University of Alaska, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA

First received 23 November 2013; accepted in revised form 12 March 2014. Available online 7 April 2014


Residents of urban developing communities often have a tap in their home providing treated and sometimes filtered water but its microbial quality cannot be guaranteed. Point-of-use (POU) disinfection systems can provide safe drinking water to the millions who lack access to clean water in urban communities. While many POU systems exist, there are several concerns that can lead to low user acceptability, including low flow rate, taste and odor issues, high cost, recontamination, and ineffectiveness at treating common pathogens. An ultraviolet (UV) POU system was constructed utilizing developing community-appropriate materials and simple construction techniques based around an inexpensive low-wattage, low pressure UV bulb. The system was tested at the bench scale to characterize its hydrodynamic properties and microbial disinfection efficacy. Hydraulically the system most closely resembled a plug flow reactor with minor short-circuiting. The system was challenge tested and validated for a UV fluence of 50 mJ/cm2 and greater, over varying flow rates and UV transmittances, corresponding to a greater than 4 log reduction of most pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and protozoa of public health concern. This study presents the designed system and testing results to demonstrate the potential architecture of a low-cost open-source UV system for further prototyping and field-testing.

Keywords: developing communities; drinking water; point-of-use; ultraviolet disinfection

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