Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Growing Oklahoma

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Growing Oklahoma

senior design team low power ultrafiltration


Low Power Ultrafiltration

Collin Craige, Mikayla Marvin, Qualla Parman



Access to clean drinking water is extremely limited in some parts of the world. This is especially true in developing countries where much of their drinking water comes from potentially contaminated surface water sources and sanitation education is inadequate. Ingestion of contaminated waters can cause serious illness and even death, most of which occurs in children under five years of age. Limited availability to clean water sources has even lead to a number of conflicts over who should have access to this water. Providing education and clean drinking water for the people of these nations is of great importance to improve quality of life and socio-economic stability. UltraTech Solutions’ objective was to assess and improve a water filtration device designed by our client that is capable of removing soil colloids and bacteria from various water sources to produce a safe, clean product using ultrafiltration membranes and National Sanitation Foundation approved materials that is cheap to produce, easy to assemble and maintain with low power requirements for use in developing nations.



Problem Statement

Clean drinking water is a necessity to healthy human life. In many areas of the world, this necessity is lurking just out of reach. According to a recent United Nations news article, at least 11 percent of the world’s population, or 783 million people, still do not have access to safe drinking water, and billions live without sanitation facilities. (United Nations, 2012). Without proper sanitation facilities, fecal matter and other contaminants can easily end up in a community’s drinking water source. Drinking water that has been contaminated with fecal matter can contain bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These organisms can cause severe sickness and even death to those who ingest them. Contaminated water is the major cause of diarrheal illness in developing nations, causing unnecessary suffering and malnutrition to much of the population (Braghetta, 2006). Two million deaths each year are attributed to diarrheal diseases caused by ingesting contaminated water. 90 percent of these deaths are children under the age of 5 (World Health Organization, 2012). This suffering and death is preventable through water purification technology and sanitation education. The Water4 foundation has even reported that improvements in sanitation and drinking-water could reduce the number of children who die each year by 2.2 million (Water4). These developing nations are in desperate need of a water filtration system that is easy to ship, construct, and maintain, that requires no or limited amounts of power, and removes the viruses, bacteria, and parasites that cause diarrheal diseases. Such a filter would not only improve the quality of life for the community, but would allow more children to see their fifth birthday.

Scope of Work

This document presents the results of UltraTech’s assessment and testing of Pumps of Oklahoma’s ultrafiltration filter modules. Some specific objectives for this project include: (1) Identify a potting technique for the module’s resin, (2) Ensure filtered water is free of microorganisms and safe for human consumption, and (3) Compare flow rates and backwashing needs of given and larger modules. UltraTech Solutions’ project, water filtration using ultrafiltration membranes, is to assess and improve upon a filtration system designed by Pumps of Oklahoma. Ultra Tech also designed a filtration module and corresponding system that will remove contaminants from a variety of water sources ranging from bacteria infested pond water to potentially contaminated shallow groundwater (see Appendix III). The specifications for the system as a whole are to remove sediment, parasites, bacteria, and viruses from water, rendering it safe for human consumption. The system will need to vary in size to satisfy the needs of a family or a community. The system should also be easy and relatively inexpensive to construct, preferably from readily available National Sanitation Foundation approved materials. Electrical power is often widely unavailable and extremely unreliable in the areas where these filters are designed to be installed, thus the need for the system to require little or no electrical power. If a power supply becomes necessary, UltraTech Solutions will power the system with solar or wind energy. The design will need to be structurally stable to prevent accidental tipping, especially in areas where children my try to climb the system.



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