Biosand Water Filters

1.8 billion people are drinking fecally contaminated water today. BioSand Filters (BSFs) are reducing that number. A BSF is a simple, point-of-use water treatment device. The main component is a barrel- usually made of plastic, steel or concrete- filled with sand that is populated with microorganisms. Water is poured into the vessel, covering the sand, and allowed to idle. During this idle time the sand’s microorganisms develop a sticky layer called biofilm. The biofilm traps and removes contaminants from the water, creating potable drinking water. It does this with a remarkable efficacy rate: BSFs can filter out over 80% of viruses, over 90% of bacteria, and 100% of pathogens*.

BioSand Filters and WEA Women

As of 2015, the Philippines were on track to meet the Millenium Development Goals for water and sanitation. WEA Women were certainly part of the transformation towards clean water within communities, undergoing training and constructing 12 BioSand filters. Providing women with the capability to build and teach others about BSF construction is keeping disease-causing pathogens out of the water sources, so children can spend more time in schools and less time dealing with the repercussions of waterborne illnesses.

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Before buying the Biosand Filter, when someone in her family fell sick from typhoid from the contaminated tap water piped to her house from the municipality, she would end up spending much of her pay on treatment, which made it difficult for her to save money. Because she had 14 people living in her household, she could spend sometimes up to 500,000TSH (approx.: $350) per week on medicines and hospital visits – not to mention lost wages from missing work. After having the BSF for 7 months, there has not been one incidence of typhoid in her family since they installed the filter.

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The Facts

The BioSand filter requires little regular maintenance and is very durable; the filter can last for decades.

BioSand Filters are an incredibly efficient and economically viable solution. The construction of BSFs requires materials that can be sourced locally at cheap rates.

As of 2013, 650,000 BSFs have been implemented in over 55 countries around the world. Over 4,000,000 people have benefitted*.

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Additional Resources

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Center for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology: CAWST works globally to expertly implement technology that ensures a clean and safe water supply.

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OHorizons: is an international non-profit that works to improve lives by providing essential necessities to all. They implements sustainable solutions for Water, Agriculture, Energy, and Economic Development.