Well, this is it. Our water purification project! In photos, primarily, since I’m the one writing it; science really isn’t my speciality.
We had originally planned to install the system on the neighbors’ well. However, there are two separate wells for two parts of the community. If we put it in one well, it would dry it up providing water for so many people. If we put one on each, it would cost twice the money. And ultimately, both wells struggle to provide enough water for showers, laundry, and cooking for so many people.
In the end we decided to hook it up to the well in our yard. This way it could be shared by all of the community to promote unity and sharing. It is also less likely to run out of water since this well will only really be used for drinking water, and perhaps a small amount of gardening. Also, in the case that we move, it is transportable–not super easily, but easily enough–and could be put onto their well.
We started by laying a foundation of gravel where the system would go, in hopes of creating a stable foundation that could handle some flooding during rainy season if necessary.
The whole system had to be elevated, including the holding tank at least 1.5 meters off the ground.
We had to split wood for biochar, too, which ultimately led to the little machete incident.
All of this wood was then put into this contraption and burned into biochar on the bottom and cooking charcoal on top. It burned at about 900 degrees Celsius, which is hard to even fathom. It already felt close to that outside, but the neighbors kept walking by on the other side of the road saying, “It’s hot!” and “What are you doing?” We also had to recover a melting toy horse from the bottom, where it was thrown and started smelling fast.
Each batch took about two hours, and we ended up doing five batches. It was hot.
All the biochar then had to be granulated and washed. Due to all the washing, we ran out of water–both our purchased city water and our well water–twice. We ended up purchasing 4000 liters of water from the local fire department, which we didn’t actually know existed until this week!
…And like this from the right. It should be up and running by next week! We need to flush it through a few times, and then it can put to use to provide free, clean drinking water to the whole community!
Although it has been an intensive and exhausting project, we’re so excited to provide something so practical to the community. It’s a great way to be able to save them money and ensure that everyone drinks purified water. Here’s to hoping sickness decreases in the coming year!
We also owe a special thanks to the people who made this possible. Aqueous Solutions partnered with us to provide some materials, teach the system, and they will continue to monitor it in the future. We’re also thankful for Dore Elementary in Sheffield, England, who helped to provide the rest of the financial support to make it happen!