Purification of Polluted Drinking Water in Developing Nations through the Use of a Hiker's Filter, Chlorine Tablets, and a Self-Generated Charcoal Filter

The researchers aimed to show if a self-generated charcoal filter could be an alternative to current water purification methods in developing nations. The effectiveness of a self-generated charcoal filter was compared to that of a hikerís filter and chlorine dioxide tablets. This was accomplished by seeing which treatment method affected a sample of polluted pond water in the most beneficial ways. The experiment was implemented by purifying water using one of the three treatment methods and comparing the pre and post-treatment levels of nitrate, pH, and bacterial levels brought on by the different treatment methods. These three factors were selected because they are indicators of the quality of drinking water. High nitrate levels, extreme pH levels, and high bacterial levels indicate poor drinking water quality. The nitrate level was determined using a testing kit, pH level was determined using a pH probe, and bacterial level was determined by putting samples of pond water into Petri dishes filled with MacConkey agar and then placing the dishes into an incubator for twenty-four hours. The results attained from the experiment show that bacterial levels were significantly reduced by both the chlorine tablets and the hikerís filter, pH level was neutralized best by the self-generated charcoal filter, and nitrate levels were not significantly affected by any one of the three methods. On average, the hikerís filter decreased the pH level by 0.12 and reduced the bacterial level by 1609.488 bacteria per milliliter. The chlorine tablets effectively killed most of the bacteria, but also decreased the pH level a considerable amount. The self-generated charcoal filter was not effective at reducing bacterial level. During some trials, the pre-treatment levels were lower than the post-treatment levels. However, it did bring the pH level closer to neutral for most of the trials. In the end, the self-generated charcoal filter proved to be an unacceptable water purification method.

Research Done By:

Mahboob Adil
Fitzgerald High School

Sevadul Chowdhury
Fitzgerald High School