UW Students Win Award for Water Testing

Nancy Anderson
Posted by

A team of students from the University of Washington have been awarded US$40 thousand by the Rockefeller Foundation for their work on a method for testing water to ensure it has been properly treated, and is safe to drink.

The method of water treatment is not new -- water in plastic bottles is disinfected by ultraviolet light from the sun -- and it is cheap and easy to do anywhere in the world. The problem is that until now, it has been difficult and expensive to determine whether exposure has been sufficient to render the water drinkable. The system the students have developed is purported to be as simple as a cheap solar-powered calculator. It contains a temperature sensor that can tell when the water temperature has been sufficiently maintained to kill waterborne pathogens, and a light sensor to calculate when a sufficient dose of solar radiation has been absorbed. Apart from that, there’s a blinking light that stops blinking when it’s safe to drink.

The non-profit Sodis Foundation, who promote the use of Solar Disinfection to bring clean water to those in need of it, have been granted a nonexclusive license to develop the detection technology, and to create a version suitable for use in large-scale and disaster relief applications.

Photo copyright Flickr.com user Jill Clardy, used under Creative Commons BY-SA-2.0.

Looking for a job in Engineering? Visit http://www.engineer-jobs.com/ to get started on the path to your new career.

Mike Wrightly is mostly diesel fumes and duct tape; he grew up around heavy equipment, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch