Study Finds Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter Achieves Significant Reduction in Waterborne Disease

Originally posted in CSR wire

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Aug. 14 /CSRwire/ – Triple Quest, global distributor of the Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter, today announced that an extensive field study conducted in rural Cambodia by researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Georgia State University has found that the Hydraid® filter significantly improves water quality and reduces diarrheal disease, one of the leading causes of death in the developing world. The results of the study were published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The study, a cluster randomized controlled trial, evaluated the performance and health impact of the plastic Hydraid® filter, including its potential to perform to the same benchmarks as the concrete BioSand filter, a widely implemented predecessor technology. The device tested is a simple, eight-pound unit with no moving or replacement parts. It incorporates patented advancements to a slow-sand filtration method originally devised more than 150 years ago. Since 2006, more than 55,000 Hydraid® filters have been implemented in 35 countries worldwide.

The study comprised 189 households and 1,147 participants in the Angk Snoul district of Cambodia’s Kandal province, which was selected in part for its lack of access to piped water and concrete BioSand filters, and the presence of families with children less than five years of age – a highly vulnerable population. Researchers randomly chose seven intervention villages to receive the Hydraid® filter six months sooner than a group of six control villages, and then conducted recurring household-level diarrheal disease surveillance and water quality sampling and analysis during a five-month period from August to December 2008.

Hydraid® Filter Effect

The study found that the group using the Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter reported 59% lower incidence of diarrheal disease compared to the control group. In addition, the Hydraid® filter group reported diarrheal disease episodes of shorter duration (1.9 days vs. 3.4 days for the Hydraid® filter and control groups, respectively (p=0.018)). Hydraid® filter households also had drinking water that was of significantly better microbial quality than control households; the filter achieved a geometric mean 93.3% reduction in E. coli when comparing all untreated water in the Hydraid® filter group to water taken directly from the filter. Similar results were found for drinking water turbidity.

According to the researchers, these results suggest greater or comparable reduction in diarrheal disease in comparison to studies involving concrete BioSand water filters in Cambodia, the Dominican Republic and Kenya, which demonstrated 47% (Cambodia and Dominican Republic) and 54% (Kenya) reductions in diarrhea in children younger than five years of age. The study team also noted that these results compare well to studies of other household drinking water treatment technologies such as ceramic filters and solar water disinfection. In addition, user acceptance was high, with 89% of households reporting using the Hydraid® filter at least three times per week, which the researchers noted is consistent with previous studies of concrete BioSand filters.

The study also noted that the Hydraid® filter’s lightweight design and rapid production capability has the potential to play an important role in addressing the challenges of scale posed by the global safe water crisis. 1.1 billion people, roughly one-sixth of the world’s population, do not have access to safe drinking water, and each year 3.5 million people – most of them children – die from waterborne disease.

“Given the promise of household point-of-use water treatment technologies, there is a growing effort to identify approaches that can be scaled up to meet the needs of the population without access to improved water supplies,” said Assistant Professor Christine Stauber of the Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, who directed the study. “Our field research suggests that the plastic BSF (BioSand filter) can be a powerful tool in the toolkit of implementers looking to scale up the BSF, particularly in regions such as Cambodia where reported BSF filter usage and adoption is high.”

Christina Keller, Triple Quest business unit leader, remarked: “This important field research invites NGOs and other aid groups – including those who have long used concrete BioSand filters and other technologies in the field – to take a closer look at the significant health impact and other advantages Hydraid provides. Whether as a standalone solution or as a complement to an existing water relief effort, the Hydraid filter offers one of the most sustainable, effective and efficiently deployable means for making safe water available to the developing world.”

*Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter *
The Hydraid® filter is a simple, lightweight unit with no moving parts. Users can reduce biological contaminants by pouring surface or ground water through the filter to obtain water that is safe for drinking, food preparation, personal hygiene and sanitation. Powered by gravity and with no parts to replace, the Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter is extremely durable and lasts beyond 10 years, making it the most sustainable filter available today. More than 55,000 Hydraid® filters have been distributed in over 35 developing countries worldwide.

About Triple Quest

Triple Quest is a collaborative venture involving Cascade Engineering and The Windquest Group, a West Michigan-based private investment fund. Triple Quest is a sustainable enterprise that provides essential needs products to at-risk families in developing countries by bringing together the resources and objectives of non-governmental organizations, corporations and other partners. Triple Quest’s partners include nonprofit groups Safe Water Team, Thirsting to Serve, Global Sustainable Partnerships, Rotary, and Pure Water for the World; socially responsible companies such as Amway, Dow, Bobble and Lighthouse Foods; and the U.S. Navy’s Project Handclasp logistics support initiative.

To learn more about the Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter, visit http://www.triplequest.com.