Evaluation of low-cost alternatives for water purification in the stilt house villages of Santa Marta's Ciénaga Grande


Water purification is indispensable to guarantee safe human consumption and to prevent diseases caused by the ingestion of contaminated water. This requires a series of water treatment processes which require investment. However, the economic limitations of rural communities hinder their ability to implement such water-treatment systems, as is the case in Ci enaga Grande of Santa Marta (“Large Swamp”, in English) in Colombia. Low-cost systems can be used instead as simple and safe alternatives. Therefore, the objective of this work was to evaluate non-conventional, low-cost water processes to purify the water from the collection point of two stilt house villages in Ci enaga Grande of Santa Marta. These include: 1) Using two natural coagulants, Moringa Oleifera and Cassia Fistula; 2) filtration through a biosand filter and a carbon activated filter; and 3) disinfection through UV-C Radiation and through solar disinfection. The results showed a turbidity values reduction between 52% and 96% using the two natural coagulants; both turbidity and total coliforms achieved reductions of 98.4% and 76.9%, respectively in the filtration process; and removal of total coliforms up to 98.8% in the disinfection process. Despite the high rates of reduction in the different parameters, the water does not comply with the recommended limits for safe drinking water.


Palabras clave

Water treatment, Green engineering, Environmental chemical engineering, Environmental health, Public health, Ciénaga Grande of Santa Marta, Low-cost water purification, Stilt house villages, Non-conventional treatment