Clay pots containing filtration materials are a cheap and effective way to remove dangerous levels of arsenic commonly found in well water in Bangladesh, according to a new report.
The filtration system consists of three unglazed clay pots that can hold 15 liters of water, stacked one above the other. The top two pitchers contain filtering material consisting of sand, iron chips, brick nuggets and charcoal. The bottom pitcher collects the filtered water, which is then used for drinking and cooking.
In the study, the researchers placed 20 pitcher systems in homes in 3 arsenic-affected villages in northern Bangladesh. Arsenic levels were tested in the filtered water each month for two months and compared to arsenic levels in the well water source. On average, the water filtration system removed 95 percent of the arsenic.
While many of the users said they were happy with the taste of the water, many also noted that they were able to filter only 25 to 28 liters of water per day with the system. This was not enough for cooking and drinking for a family of eight to 10 members. The researchers note that bigger clay pitchers can be used for bigger families and that more than one filtering system can be used in a household.
The cost of the filtration system used in this study was approximately $6.10. Materials used to make it are readily available in most villages.