NEERI develops cheap water purifier helpful during disasters

Branded as 'NEERI-ZAR', it is suitable for rural and remote locations particularly in calamity situations like floods, heavy rainfalls and cyclonic conditions when there is a cut in electricity supply.

It is a typical unit with two 100-litre vessels and can serve up to 30 persons on the basis of 6-10 litres per capita consumption for drinking and cooking purposes.
NEERI-ZAR brings down the turbidity of filtered water to less then three NTU (nephelometric turbidity units) from raw water in the range of 100-300 NTU. The operation unit includes disinfection by chemical agent.

The unit has been tested by NEERI for treatment of raw water spiked with turbidity, bacterial and zooplankton and the results indicate that the unit produces filtered water with a turbidity in the range of 1.1. to 2.8 NTU.
According to Dr Arindam Ghosh, Scientist and Head Research & Planning Unit, the total Coliform and E-Coli counts in the water were in the range of usual surface water sourced from flood waters. But after the tests, there was a reduction of 90 to 99 percent in bacterial load.

After disinfection total Coliform and E-Coli counts were nil in the treated water samples, Dr Ghosh told PTI.

Zooplankton species like Cyclops, Nauplius, Daphnia, Branchionus also also removed during filtertation, NEERI said clarifiying that the filter unit can not be used for treatment of brackish water.

The institute has claimed it is simple to fabricate, easy to operate, minimum maintenance, lightweight, easy to transport and installtion, gravity operated and requires no power supply.

It was first time used during Barmer floods in a border district of Rajasthan where people had to walk to fetch drinking water.

The District Collector had approached NEERI for installation of 100 units in flood affected remote areas of Barmer some years back.

As a feedback, NEERI sought opinions of locals and users which was quite encouraging. They were happy with the purifiction system since all available potable water sources were destroyed, contaminated or submerged due to floods.
Dr Ghosh said as the technology was developed for societal need, they propose to make available this technology free to everybody.

He said there was need for proper marketing of the product and efforts are on to rope in the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for this.
During the recent cyclonic storm Laila', NEERI supplied and installed 400 units in Sunder Bans (West Bengal) for the locals to purify water and use it, Dr Ghosh added.

It is almost four years since 2006, NEERI developed the device but due to lack of proper publicity and marketing the product is yet to gain  all-India presence.

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