Drinking water treatment by multistage filtration on a household scale: Efficiency and challenges

R.C. medeiros, N. de M. N. Fava, B.L.S. Freitas, Lyda P Sabogal-Paz, M. T. Hoffmann, James Davis, Pilar Fernandez-Ibanez, John Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Universalising actions aimed at water supply in rural communities and indigenous populations must focus on simple and low-cost technologies adapted to the local context. In this setting, this research studied the dynamic gravel filter (DGF) as a pre-treatment to household slow-sand filters (HSSFs), which is the first description of a household multistage filtration scale to treat drinking water. DGFs (with and without a non-woven blanket on top of the gravel layer) followed by HSSFs were tested. DGFs operated with a filtration rate of 3.21 m3 m−2.d−1 and HSSFs with 1.52 m3 m−2.d−1. Influent water contained kaolinite, humic acid and suspension of coliforms and protozoa. Physical-chemical parameters were evaluated, as well as Escherichia coli, Giardia spp. cysts and Cryptosporidium spp. oocyst reductions. Removal was low (up to 6.6%) concerning true colour, total organic carbon and absorbance (λ = 254 nm). Nevertheless, HMSFs showed turbidity decrease above 60%, E. coli reduction up to 1.78 log, Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts reductions up to 3.15 log and 2.24 log, respectively. The non-woven blanket was shown as an important physical barrier to remove solids, E. coli and protozoa.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115816
Number of pages13
JournalWater Research
Early online date19 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • Drinking water
  • Escherichia coli.
  • Low-cost technology
  • Protozoa
  • Slow sand filtration

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