An example of research created by our Chemical Engineering Cohort:
“Development of a Low-Tech Process for Treating Bacterial Contaminants in an Unprotected Spring in Isongo, Kenya”
Dalton Hughes, Chris Mullen
Lee Blaney, Assistant Professor
Approximately 760 million people do not have access to clean drinking water; a disproportionate amount of those people are located in Sub-Sahara Africa. High chemical and bacterial contaminant levels in drinking water may cause a myriad of health complications. The small community of Isongo, Kenya lacks clean drinking water for its 500 residents. The residents currently retrieve water from an unprotected spring located roughly 20 minutes away. In January 2013, the UMBC Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-UMBC) travelled to Isongo to assess the current water quality and interview community members that use this water source. Results from the water quality tests reveal high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. The stream is also contaminated with high levels of indicator organisms and tested positive for fecal and rapid coliforms. Interviews indicated that most children suffer from dysentery and a high prevalence of other waterborne diseases. Residents also expressed an interest in receiving information on topics of sanitation and hygiene. We are currently developing an inexpensive and low-tech method for the removal of these contaminants from the water source. The results of these studies will result in a treatment system that will help to improve the overall health of the Isongo population.
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