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Abstract, Water, 2019

Efforts to provide safe water are challenged by recontamination and regrowth of pathogens in treated water during storage. This study evaluated the potential of metallic silver with a chemically etched surface to reduce recontamination risks during water storage in ceramic water filters. Batch experiments were conducted in the laboratory with water storage buckets containing three configurations of varying amounts of silver. Field trials in a rural area in Kenya assessed the effect of the same configurations in the storage buckets of locally produced ceramic pot filters without colloidal silver coating. The tests revealed that the etched silver slightly reduced microbiological recontamination risks during water storage despite the low diffusion of silver ions (<5 µg Ag/L). The effect was strongly influenced by water chemistry parameters. A statistically significant difference in the removal of E. coli (Δ Log Removal Value (LRV) = 0.6) and total coliforms (Δ LRV = 1.7) was found between households using a filter with silver in the water reservoir and those using a filter without silver. Multivariate regression of water handling factors and hygiene practices on filter performance revealed that the presence of silver in the reservoir and cleaning the filter element with a brush were associated with a better filter performance.

Keywords: household water treatment; water quality; recontamination; low income country; safe storage; silver disinfection; ceramic water filter