Water treatment: improve public health!

As evidenced by some of our recent blog posts detailing the work of Judy Hodge, Katie-Sue Derejko, and Erika Houghtaling and our wonderful public health outreach team, EWB-NY Usalama understands the need for public health data collection and analysis. Without having a quantitative grasp on where and how Usalama’s denizens were obtaining their water, and how their health was being affected by such factors, our team would have a tough time telling just how much of a change we had made.

Even before August 2013, though, when the bulk of the raw health data was collected via in-person interviews throughout the community, our team had seen a problem with water quality in Usalama. Locals had complained of illnesses and described some of the locations where they and their neighbors often went to collect questionable standing surface water for drinking and washing.


An example of one household’s hand-dug well

Marc Santos evaluates the water samples collected and sampled in Usalama, in January 2013.


Therefore, during our design work in 2013, we thought long and hard about a way to help Usalama disinfect its water and hopefully reduce the incidence of water-borne disease.

In the developed world, we benefit from a wide range of disinfection technologies, ranging from the use of ultraviolet light to degrade harmful microorganisms to the dosing of any of several chemicals such as ozone gas, chloramine, and chlorine dioxide. Disinfection is often the final step in drinking water treatment, following primary/secondary/tertiary treatment which greatly reduce solids and nutrient content in the raw water.

Stay tuned to read about the different treatment methods we evaluated before selecting chlorine dosing as our solution.


-Patrick Farnham

January 8, 2015

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