Australian company Infinite Water has built a pilot water treatment plant in rural Bangladesh to decontaminate groundwater and improve public health.
Arsenic is a significant contaminant in groundwater wells in Bangladesh, affecting 70% of the country with up to 77 million people at risk. High levels of arsenic in drinking water can cause cancer, skin lesions, and impair intellectual development.
Around one in 12 people living in the rural village of Alampur have fallen ill and 25 people have died over the past five years because of exposure to arsenic.
Infinite Water partnered with the Bangladesh Government to design and build a custom water treatment plant (WTP) that delivers up to 8000 litres of safe, clean drinking water a day to the population of Alampur.
Using an innovative technology called Hydroxon, the WTP has successfully treated groundwater with arsenic levels of 178 micrograms per litre, reducing them to just four micrograms per litre. The World Health Organisation standard is 10 micrograms per litre.
Chief Engineer at the Bangladesh Government’s Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) Saifur Rahman said the DPHE’s partnership with Infinite Water is helping to achieve its water and sanitation goals.
“The early results of catalytic oxidation-based water treatment are very positive, and we feel that there is a wide range of future applications for this technology in our country,” Rahman said.
A key target for the DPHE is the supply of safe, clean drinking water to 10,000 schools across Bangladesh. Currently over 100,000 children die each year from diarrhoeal disease linked to contaminated water.
Infinite Water Director of Strategy and Special Projects David Marquard said the pilot project is making a difference to the people in Alampur.
“Our ability to provide clean, safe water reliably and at low cost is changing lives,” he said.
“I could see this in the heartfelt thank you that a Year 10 student gave me in a video call earlier this week.”
Infinite Water will expand the use of Hydroxon technology across Bangladesh and into other regional communities.