View Full Version : Demonstrating contaminated water

10-18-2008, 13:14

I got an email requesting ways to demonstrate to a 3rd world community that their water supply is contaminated. A low tech way with equipment obtained rurally would be great.

I'll pass on a couple links from the VITA link in the other thread and some cheap fecal coliform kit links, but I'm not sure the latter would be appropriate/available. Mentioned trying to lead a walk-about to find point/nonpoint pollution sources, and comparing clean vs. contaminated water via sight, odor, turbidity, etc. Also contacting a friend who was a Peace Corps conservation specialist.

Might you folks have some ideas?

Thanks for any input,


Recieved email:
My sister J works in Guatemala for an organization called Food for the Hungry. I am forwarding a message I received from her (see below). She is trying to help several local communities develop a filtering system for their water. However, the people are not aware of the bacteria levels in the water and do not connect recent illnesses with the poor water quality. What are some ways that she could show or demonstrate bacteria in the water and educate the people about the need for filtration? She does not have a microscope. Is a microscope necessary?

I am going to be starting some water projects here having to do with purification, maybe even building filters. But first I need to show people that they need a filter and that many of their illnesses are coming from their water. My problem is trying to find a simple experiment or way to show them that there are bacteria and other organisms in their water. I realize I'll probably need a microscope, but beyond that I'm not sure what to do.

04-24-2009, 20:42

March 24, 2006

Low-tech Solar Water Purification: It works


TANZANIA - A village is piloting a new way to purify water with simple means. The method is so simple it hurts to think that it has not been put into wide use. Take a transparent plastic water bottle, fill it up with water, lay it on a black roof for several hours. If the sun is beating down good, one hour is enough.

I'd contact WHO (World Health Organization) to see what educational resources are available from them on this subject.

I know some people who have done missionary work in the past, I'll PM you if I get relevant information they used to educate locals on contamination.

-First post in medical forum-
Required information per sticky:
Medical experience: No practical experience.

04-27-2009, 13:32
Here are the web sites for CDC and WHO



04-27-2009, 14:50
You need to exercise your digits, With the help of the search function, I think you can find either your answer of a close facsimile.

One thread, back in January, had detailed discussions on inexpensive water filtration systems,, dam near free..