Biosand Water Filter Evaluation: Pilot Study of Field Use Indicators

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Diarrheal diseases are a global public health burden, killing 1.8 million people annually. Diarrhea disproportionately affects children and those in poverty. Most diarrheal cases can be prevented through safe drinking water, basic hygiene and/or sanitation measures, with drinking water interventions having the most impact on reducing diarrheal disease. A meta-evaluation was completed of studies evaluating a specific household water treatment method, the biosand water filter. Results from the meta-evaluation illustrate that biosand water filters improve drinking water quality and reduce diarrheal disease. However, there is no generally agreed upon field method for determining biosand water filter effectiveness that is useable in low-resource communities. A pilot study was conducted of potential field use indicators, including the Colilert coliform Presence/ Absence test, hydrogen sulfide, alkalinity, hardness, pH, and fluorescently-labeled latex microspheres. The study included both laboratory and field testing. The Colilert Presence/ Absence test had the highest correlation to the United States Environmental Protection Agency standard method (IDEXX Quanti-trays), but more data is needed before making a recommendation. This study adds to understanding about evaluation of biosand water filters and provides preliminary data to address the need for a field use indicator for biosand water filters.


Atlanta, GA

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Abstract originally available through the American Public Health Association.