Water Quality Research Journal of Canada
Vol. 44 (2): 111 - 121 (2009). General issue
Field Evaluation of Long-Term Performance and Use of Biosand Filters in Posoltega, Nicaragua
Jason C. Vanderzwaag, James W. Atwater, Karen H. Bartlett, Derek Baker
An evaluation was conducted in 2007 on biosand filters that were installed in Posoltega, Nicaragua in 1999 and 2004.The objectives were to characterize the condition and use of filters eight and three years after installation, determine filter performance of those filters still in use, and identify determinants of successful long-term use and performance. Methods consisted of household identification, user questionnaires, and water quality testing. Of the 234 filters installed, only 24 were found to still be in use. Average log reductions were 1.73 (98%) for total coliforms, 1.36 (96%) for Escherichia Coli, and 0.91 (88%) for turbidity. Statistically significant effects were detected for the magnitude of the contamination of source water, the peak hydraulic loading rate, and the standing depth of water over the filter media. Questionnaire results indicated user training on filter maintenance could improve the peak hydraulic loading rate and hence filter performance. The low rate of sustained use (10%) is an indication of failed implementation, and is attributable to structural failure, particularly cracking of the concrete filters from 2004. Nonetheless, this evaluation demonstrated the biosand filter technology to be robust since those filters still in use were performing as expected three and eight years postimplementation.
Nicaragua, biosand filter, developing countries, household water treatment, point of use