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Sustainable Water Filters in Southern Peru

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Randy S. Lewis Brigham Young University

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Dr. Randy S. Lewis is professor of Chemical Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU). He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from BYU and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively. He currently serves as chair of the Education and Accreditation Committee of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and as an ABET commissioner for accrediting engineering programs. He previously served in several national positions of AIChE. His research interests include biomaterials development, engineering education, product design for developing areas, and the utilization of renewable resources for the production of chemicals.

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Terri Christiansen Bateman Brigham Young University

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Terri Bateman is adjunct faculty in the Brigham Young University College of Engineering and Technology where she has worked with Women in Engineering and Technology at BYU, numerous mechanical engineering capstone senior design teams, the Global Engineering Outreach class, and the Compliant Mechanisms Research Group. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering from BYU and also worked at the Ford Motor Company as a manufacturing and design engineer in Automatic Transmission Operations.

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Michaela Sutton

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Ethan Hasler

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Jessica Lee Williams

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Jennifer J Irvin Brigham Young University

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Joseph Richley Hirt Brigham Young University

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Since 2007, a two-semester Global Engineering Outreach (GEO) course in the College of Engineering and Technology at Brigham Young University has enabled engineering and technology students from multiple disciplines to design and implement humanitarian-based engineering projects in Tonga, Ghana, and Peru. Since 2009, project development has focused on two communities in Peru. One such project involves water filtration on the Uros Islands in Southern Peru. The initial project was implemented in 2011 and has undergone several iterations.

During the first iteration, a three-stage sand filter design was implemented in 2011. Following implementation and community feedback, a simpler one-stage filter was designed and implemented in 2012. In 2015, a one-stage filter with a reservoir was implemented. Finally, in 2016 a simplified process for developing and maintaining the filters was implemented. A critical aspect of the design improvements has involved community feedback. The feedback occurred through regular interaction between students and their Peruvian counterparts during all stages of development.

This work presents an overview of the development of the water filter through all iterations, including challenges and design strategies to overcome the challenges. Challenges have included sand separation, tubing materials, construction time, and maintenance. The most current water filtration system, which includes a feeding reservoir, will be described in detail. Specifically, design and technical constraints that are critical for a sustainable filter are identified. Over ten water filters have been implemented on the islands and have had significant positive health impacts on those using the filters.

Future work includes additional monitoring of water quality, assessing water output rates over long periods of time, assessing filter lifetime, and developing filters that minimize the use of non-Peruvian parts.

Lewis, R. S., & Bateman, T. C., & Sutton, M., & Hasler, E., & Williams, J. L., & Irvin, J. J., & Hirt, J. R. (2017, June), Sustainable Water Filters in Southern Peru Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28894

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