Fe 0 /H 2 O filtration systems for decentralized safe drinking water: Where to from here?

Charles Péguy Nanseu-Njiki, Willis Gwenzi, Martin Pengou, Azizur Rahaman, Chicgoua Noubactep

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Inadequate access to safe drinking water is one of the most pervasive problems currently afflicting the developing world. Scientists and engineers are called to present affordable but efficient solutions, particularly applicable to small communities. Filtration systems based on metallic iron (Fe 0 ) are discussed in the literature as one such viable solution, whether as a stand-alone system or as a complement to slow sand filters (SSFs). Fe0 filters can also be improved by incorporating biochar to form Fe 0 -biochar filtration systems with potentially higher contaminant removal efficiencies than those based on Fe 0 or biochar alone. These three low-cost and chemical-free systems (Fe 0 , biochar, SSFs) have the potential to provide universal access to safe drinking water. However, a well-structured systematic research is needed to design robust and efficient water treatment systems based on these affordable filter materials. This communication highlights the technology being developed to use Fe 0 -based systems for decentralized safe drinking water provision. Future research directions for the design of the next generation Fe 0 -based systems are highlighted. It is shown that Fe 0 enhances the efficiency of SSFs, while biochar has the potential to alleviate the loss of porosity and uncertainties arising from the non-linear kinetics of iron corrosion. Fe 0 -based systems are an affordable and applicable technology for small communities in low-income countries, which could contribute to attaining self-reliance in clean water supply and universal public health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number429
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Appropriate technology
  • Bio-sand filter
  • Developing world
  • Household water filters
  • Zero-valent iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

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