Unusual filter may help purify Bolivian water.

"Aquathin OP-ED Commentary"

You cannot believe what you are about to read...the development of a new (well maybe not) filter media. Here's a question...after the metal is removed, what of the "new" media that is dissolved into the water?

 

Unusual filter may help purify Bolivian water

 

LAP PAZ, BOLIVIA — In the United States, manure from animals is a bane for clean drinking water supplies, but filters made from llama droppings may be used to

purify polluted water in the Bolivian Andes.

Scientists in Newcastle in England said llama waste in Bolivia is an ideal home for bacteria which remove metals from the water, a report by the Ananova news service said.

The technique was adapted from compost filters used around abandoned mines in North East England.

The water supply in the city of La Paz runs through an abandoned mine and picks up harmful iron and cadmium along the way, Ananova said.

Bacteria in the compost uses dissolved sulphate found in mine water as an energy source and produce sulphide as a byproduct. The sulphide then reacts with the iron and

traps it in the compost and a limestone bed, the article said.

The problem for the people of the Andes is that cattle and horse manure is expensive to transport high into the mountains.

So Newcastle University professor Paul Younger decided to test how well llama droppings worked by building a series of test tanks, the article said.

He found they coped well with purifying the water and reduced its acidity, according to Ananova. The llama droppings, the professor said, promote the activity of

sulphate-reducing bacteria, and the average pH of the water rose from 3.2 to 6.3 on passing through the filters.

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Edited from Tech Bank 2/3/02