Microbiological Evaluation of 5 L- and 20 L-Transparent Polypropylene Buckets for Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS)

Inmaculada Polo, Azahara Martinez-Garcia, Maria Jesus Abeledo-Lamerio, Hipolito Gomez-Couao, Elvira Ares-Mazas, Aurora Rebordeo-Fernandez, Tracy D. Morse, Lyndon Buck, Kingsley Lungu, Kevin G. McGuigan, Pilar Fernandez-Ibanez

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)
    41 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Solar water disinfection (SODIS) is an appropriate technology for household treatment of drinking water in low-to-middle-income communities, as it is effective, low cost and easy to use. Nevertheless, uptake is low due partially to the burden of using small volume polyethylene terephthalate bottles (1.5–2 L). A major challenge is to develop a low-cost transparent container for disinfecting larger volumes of water. (2) Methods: This study examines the capability of transparent polypropylene (PP) buckets of 5 L- and 20 L- volume as SODIS containers using three waterborne pathogen indicators: Escherichia coli, MS2-phage and Cryptosporidium parvum. (3) Results: Similar inactivation kinetics were observed under natural sunlight for the inactivation of all three organisms in well water using 5 L- and 20 L-buckets compared to 1.5 L-polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) bottles. The PP materials were exposed to natural and accelerated solar ageing (ISO-16474). UV transmission of the 20 L-buckets remained stable and with physical integrity even after the longest ageing periods (9 months or 900 h of natural or artificial solar UV exposure, respectively). The 5 L-buckets were physically degraded and lost significant UV-transmission, due to the thinner wall compared to the 20 L-bucket. (4) Conclusion: This work demonstrates that the 20 L SODIS bucket technology produces excellent bacterial, viral and protozoan inactivation and is obtained using a simple transparent polypropylene bucket fabricated locally at very low cost ($2.90 USD per unit). The increased bucket volume of 20 L allows for a ten-fold increase in treatment batch volume and can thus more easily provide for the drinking water requirements of most households. The use of buckets in households across low to middle income countries is an already accepted practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2193
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    Number of pages14
    Issue number11
    Early online date11 Jun 2019
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 11 Jun 2019


    • drinking water
    • household water treatment and storage
    • SODIS
    • E. coli
    • MS2-phage
    • Cryptosporidium
    • Drinking water
    • Household water treatment and storage


    Dive into the research topics of 'Microbiological Evaluation of 5 L- and 20 L-Transparent Polypropylene Buckets for Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this