Evaluation and Regulation of Household Water Treatment Technologies in Developing Countries
water treatment (HWT) technologies are used to improve microbiological water quality and
reduce diarrheal disease among users without access to safe drinking water. There is
ongoing interest in developing new HWT technologies, which are typically evaluated by
controlled laboratory microbiological efficacy testing, followed by diarrheal disease
reduction through randomized ... read morecontrolled trials. In households, technologies should be
both microbiologically effective and consistently used to achieve maximum health gains,
yet industry standard metrics to evaluate household use are lacking. HWT technology
regulation is limited both globally and nationally; few regulation frameworks exist, and
most existing performance standards focus on efficacy. Given the state of rapid HWT
technology development, lack of industry standard metrics, and weak regulation
frameworks, this dissertation aimed to investigate methodologies of evaluating HWT
technology performance for both technology improvement and regulatory decision-making.
Six research projects spanning laboratory, field, and policy domains were conducted: two
evaluations of field laboratory methods for analyzing water quality indicators; three
field evaluations of existing and prototype HWT technologies, including investigations
of use, performance, and failure mechanisms in realistic household settings; and one
demonstration of a national HWT regulation framework considering technology efficacy,
toxicity, manufacturing consistency, and usability. Results confirmed field water
quality test methods, recommended standard HWT evaluation metrics and evaluations in
realistic settings, and demonstrated a simple national HWT regulation framework.
Overall, six main themes emerged: 1) evaluations in realistic settings are important,
particularly to identify design flaws and establish technological limitations before
widely distributing technologies; 2) there is a need to refine HWT field evaluation
methods and regularly report consistent use and effectiveness alongside disease
reduction; 3) determining HWT "success" remains difficult in disparate field study
settings; 4) HWT regulation must begin with basic parameters; 5) technology is
important, but behavior change cannot be ignored if health gains are to be achieved; and
finally, 6) HWT is a complex public health intervention depending on many actors. HWT
technologies are a viable solution, but it is critical that technologies be evaluated
and regulated to ensure they are effective for those who need it
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2017.
Submitted to the Dept. of Civil Engineering.
Advisor: Daniele Lantagne.
Committee: Elena Naumova, Jeffrey Griffiths, Joe Brown, and Mark Woodin.
Keyword: Environmental engineering.read less