Solar disinfection of drinking water

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The provision of good drinking water has always been a preoccupation of man. Modern methods of water treatment are relatively expensive, and a simple way to make bacterially contaminated water fit for drinking would go a long way to alleviate the plight of the rural poor. Solar radiation has long been known to be harmful to microorganisms and thus the study broadly sought to determine the effects of solar radiation on some bacteria and on Cyclops. To achieve this end, experiments were performed initially to find out quality of water in some selected villages. These were Ayeduase, Kotei and Nkwaakuom, all in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The results showed that none of them met the WHO microbiological guideline values for drinking water quality. The microorganisms used were obtained either from one of the sources of water examined or were obtained as pure cultures. The pure strains used were Esaherichia coil, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi and Streptococcus faecalis. These were exposed to solar radiation for six hours, and after experiencing overnight darkness the exposure was continued the following day. The solar radiation had a visible lethal effect on the microorganisms used, but at no time was the radiation able to reduce the number of microorganisms to acceptable clean water standards. Experiments with Cyclops consisted of filtration using two locally available sponge materials and a. rapid sand filter; treatment with trona, a chemical and exposure to solar radiation. The rapid sand filter had the potential of filtering the Cyclops while trona and solar radiation had no effect on them.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Philosophy in Biochemistry, 1992