Clean Water: Is There a Solution?


Feb 22, 2014 (4 years and 1 month ago)


Clean Water: Is There a Solution?

Chemical Engineering III

Defining the Scope of the Problem


Problems with Unsafe Water

Lack of sanitation kills more people than all forms
of violence, including war

Worldwide, children in rural areas that don’t have
clean water are especially affected because their
bodies aren’t strong enough to fight illnesses

90% of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from
unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are of
children under five years old

Shortage of Water

People in rural communities
often need to walk for miles
every day to the nearest
water source

Time spent walking and the
resulting diseases keep them
from work, school, and taking
care of their families

In developing countries,
dehydration from illness
and lack of water accounts
for about 2 million deaths
per year

Group Research

Possible Solutions

Solution 1: Treatment System

5 step water treatment system





Corrosion Control

Step 1: Coagulation

Water from reservoir drawn into large basins
at treatment plant

Alum, lime, CO
2 ,

and polymer added to the

These chemicals cause small particles in water
to coagulate and form larger particles

Steps: 2 and 3


Large particles fall to bottom of basin where they
are removed


Water is pushed through small particles such as
sand and coal

This removes smaller particles from the water

Steps: 4 and 5


Disinfectant added to the water to protect against
viruses and bacteria that may be present

Corrosion Control

pH is balanced by alkaline metals to control
corrosion of plumbing in city, businesses and

Strengths and Weaknesses


It has been proven to work
over many years.

Take into consideration pH
and the plumbing of the city


Very archaic way of treating

Microbes can easily pass
through Sedimentation and

Solution 2: Boiling

Heat the contaminated water until the water
reaches a point where the microbes in the
water are killed by the heat

Most microbes are killed under 100⁰ C,
however boiling the water also removes many
gasses from the water

Pros & Cons


Simple and cheap process

Can be done practically


Longer boiling time required
when altitude is over sea
level by 5000 feet

“Hard water” causes
calcium deposits on

Boiled water stored for long
periods of time grows
bacteria again

Lacks sustainability

Solution 3: Reverse Osmosis (RO)

Reverse Osmosis

permeable membrane created to filter water

An impure solution is pushed through the
membrane and pure water comes out.

Like filtration method but more thorough.

Strengths and Weaknesses


Most effective for large
scale purifying

Easy to create the
membrane used for this


Without proper care the
membrane can become
easily clogged with algae
and bacteria

Membrane can easily rip or

Most expensive

Proposed Solution

Our Solution

We will be using proposed solution number 1,
the Five Step Water Treatment System

This process consists of Coagulation,
Sedimentation, Filtration, Disinfection, and
Corrosion Control

Process Diagram

Why We Chose This Solution

We chose this solution because it has been proven to
work over many years

This solution also takes into consideration pH and the
plumbing of the city, so it can be customized to work
best for the situation it is being used in

The process is sufficiently sustainable (discussed next
slide) and cost effective

Is This Process Sustainable?

Chlorine and other chemicals used to disinfect
the water can corrode pipes and taint the

Therefore, stainless steel pipes will be used in
order to limit this

Equipment always has a functional life and will
eventually need to be replaced


This process is already in place for most large
scale water purification operations

We will stress the importance of stainless steel
piping to limit water impurities


Water is becoming increasingly polluted and
fresh water is becoming more scarce.

As poor countries have difficulty finding clean
water, alternatives developed to unsure
humanity has safe water to drink.

These alternatives include water treatment
system, boiling, and reverse osmosis.

Each way is effective and can help reduce
world thirst for years to come.


With the Better Place Project, we applied our
engineering curriculum to a global problem

We wrote this PowerPoint similar in a lab
report format in order to develop our
technical writing skills

This solution is a viable option that is both
cost effective and sustainable


Please ask us any questions at the GBC ceremony!

Student Reflections

Student Reflections

learned that it is important to make sure everyone's voice is
heard. Each member of the group is valuable and their opinion and
wisdom is needed to make the best project

Lauren Lamping

Through our Better Place Project, I learned there is "a need, a need
for clean water." I also learned we need to give people in need
"water they can't refuse." With our research, we found that people
can "say hello, to a little clean water
!“ Blake Boswell

enjoyed the time we spent working in a group. I liked the
discussions we held and how everyone did their part in creating our
project. Everyone put forth ideas on what our project could be and
it showed that we were interested in our field. It was great working
with people who have the same career goals in life
.” Melissa

“While working on the better place project with my
learning community, I learned how fortunate we are to
have constant access to clean water. I had no idea how
much of our population suffers or die because of lack of
sanitary water. After researching and seeing the data, it
opened my eyes to a large issue within our world that I
hope to one day, as a chemical engineer, help to find a new
and more efficient solution.” Kelly Louie

“Really, the most significant part of the entire program was
just making a few good friends. That’s what I took away, for
the most part.”


“What I got out of this experience was a group of people
who I could go to for homework help and study sessions.

am grateful for that.” Jason Hughes