Engineers Without Borders-Howard University (EWB-HU) is partnering with Running Water International to provide biosand filters for members of Choimim village, a rural community in Nandi Hills, Kenya.

On Thursday afternoon, the team visited the RWI campus to learn about the manufacturing process. The co-founder Isaac Soita walked EWB-HU through the design, material sourcing, production and maintenance of the concrete filter. The team created a plastic prototype at Howard and determined its efficacy as a low-cost and reliable filtration system.

RWI was inspired by a U.S. Agency for International Development project. The biosand filters are made from locally acquired appropriate technologies including quarry-sourced sand and gravel, plastic diffusers and pipes.  After significant trial and error during RWI’s infancy, the filters are now structurally sound and remove about 99 percent of bacteria including E.Coli and coliform. After four years, Running Water International has installed 430 filters across Kenya.

 “I am aware of the global challenges facing developing countries and I sought to create a way for the community to access clean and safe water at an affordable price using simple open sourced technologies with the goal of reducing waterborne diseases…this is what actually pushed me to start Running Water International,” Soita said.

The team will install four concrete biosand filters and will experiment with two plastic sand filters. EWB-HU hopes to pioneer a cheaper and equally efficient plastic filter to reduce production and transportation costs while improving water quality. The concrete based filters cost USD 45. The community will pay a nominal fee to encourage ownership and ensure sustainability.