HYDRAID® Biosand Water Filter – Proven Technology to Address the Global Water Crisis498px-HydrAid_BioSand_Water_Filter


HYDRAID01According to United Nations reports, lack of access to water that is safe for human consumption is associated with four billion cases of diarrhea and millions of other cases of illness each year. In 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the death of more than 2.2 million children per year could be prevented by reducing the diarrheal and malnutrition impacts related to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene. For children under 15, this burden is greater than the combined impact of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The U.N. estimates nearly 900 million people receive their water from an unimproved drinking water source. In places where homes or villages have no improved water or infrastructure for sustainable water sanitization, people have little choice but to get their water from the same sources in which animals drink and defecate, which leads to water-related diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery and cholera.

HYDRAID02BioSand Technology One of the world’s most effective, sustainable and proven water purification methods, BioSand filtration significantly reduces the leading causes of waterborne disease and death in the developing world through a combination of biological and mechanical processes. Users reduce contamination through the force of gravity alone by simply pouring surface or ground water through the filter to obtain water that is safe for drinking, food preparation, personal hygiene and sanitation. A typical system can treat up to 20 liters of water in about 30 minutes.

HYDRAID03This family-sized, intermittent-use technology is based on a centuries-old slow sand filtration method and grew out of work conducted in Nicaragua in the early 1990’s by leading water expert Dr. David Manz of the University of Calgary, Alberta. It is estimated that today there are more than 400,000 BioSand filters in more than 70 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, North, Central and South America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Many of these filters are made of concrete, which is prone to breakage and production consistency issues, and can be difficult to transport. In addition, concrete production capacity is generally one to two filters per day per mold. These challenges aside, BioSand technology has been extensively tested in laboratories at the University of North Carolina, University of Calgary, and elsewhere, and the research consistently shows the filters to be effective, reliable and affordable. Health impact studies have demonstrated improved quality with a 95% reduction of E. coli and 44% reduction in diarrheal disease.4

HYDRAID04Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter Triple Quest’s Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter involves the same, effective BioSand filtration technology developed by Dr. David Manz – using a lightweight plastic vessel instead of a concrete one. This technology is dramatically more portable, scalable (plastic production is upwards of 980 filters per day per mold) and low-cost compared to traditional concrete filters — all critical factors in implementing a safe water project for rural and highly remote areas of the world. Water project teams using the Hydraid® filter can spend more time assisting families with health, hygiene and sanitation issues than molding concrete filters. The unit’s medical-grade plastic is FDA approved for drinking water, UV resistant and projected to last beyond 10 years. To date, an estimated 50,000 plastic Hydraid® BioSand Water Filters have been distributed in a broad array of countries.5 Based on several factors such as: sustainability, water quantity produced, ability to treat a range of water qualities, ease of operation, time to treat, cost per liter, and supply chain requirements, Hydraid® BioSand Filter technology ranked as the best overall technology for the developing world according to industry expert Dr. Mark Sobsey of University of North Carolina.6


Hydraid® BioSand Product Specifications

  • Height – .77m (30.5), diameter – .42m (16.5)
  • Weight: Empty – 3.6kg (8 lbs.), Filled – 63.5kg (140 lbs.)
  • No moving parts or parts to replace
  • Intended Use: Point-of-use in homes
  • Easy Installation: about 30 minutes (level and fill with sand)
  • Power Source: Gravity (no electricity or plumbing required)
  • Convenient: Operates on demand
  • Filtering Capacity: 47 liters/hour
  • Serves the needs of 8-10 people daily.
  • Prep Time: Surface biological layer forms naturally in about 2 weeks
  • Low Maintenance: cleaned in place by user, instructions provided


Alternative Technologies

Household water treatment options for rural villages without electricity and piped water range from boiling, sedimentation, combined coagulant-chlorine disinfection systems, SODIS-transparent polyethylene terephthalene (PET or PETE) bottles exposed to solar UV and heat, ceramic filters and BioSand filters. Other manufactures have introduced hollow fiber membrane filters (e.g., Sawyer filters, Tata Swach). In some cases, “ad hoc” BioSand filters have been assembled from local plastic vessels, PVC pipe, sand and gravel, increasing the potential for inconsistent performance.

Many of these alternatives lack independent, scientifically sound lab and field studies documenting their ability to improve water quality and reduce waterborne infectious disease in real world conditions. Accurate independent studies are available for the following technologies.

HydraAid table

* Summary estimates stratified by type of intervention (from a meta-analysis of drinking water quality interventions and diarrheal disease reductions). Summary estimate from meta-analysis on POU chlorination (includes both free chlorine disinfection and combined coagulation-disinfection).

HYDRAID06Multiple Health Impact Studies

Health impact studies have long been used to assess the impact of various technologies and investments in water, sanitation and hygiene interventions and are particularly useful as evaluation tools in understanding the interconnected necessity of water, sanitation and hygiene for health and development.

Two health impact studies have been performed and published on BioSand technology in the concrete filter format. In 2008, three health impact studies were performed specifically on the plastic Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter and involved 81 filters installed in Cambodian households, 89 in Honduran households and 115 in Ghanaian households. The studies showed the following results for E coli reduction; they have been published as abstracts and are currently in the peer review process. In 2012 the health impact study on the plastic Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter showed greater or comparable reduction in diarrheal disease in comparison to trials of concrete biosand water filters in Cambodia, Kenya and the Dominican Republic.8

HydraAid table


The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends household water treatment as an effective and affordable solution to waterborne disease.

The Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter is founded on proven, patented technology. It is a simple, lightweight household point-of-use filter powered by gravity. It is extremely durable, has no parts to replace and projected to last beyond 10 years, making it the most sustainable filter available. Most importantly, it reduces parasites, bacteria and viruses found in contaminated water – and is improving the health and lives of families who use it as a part of an overall program of hygiene and sanitation. The collaboration of many different organizations – each with their own approach and sphere of influence –can bring these innovative filters to families, save lives and help lift entire communities out of poverty.

Triple Quest

HYDRAID07Triple Quest is a collaborative social enterprise between Cascade Engineering and The Windquest Group, a West Michigan private investment fund. Cascade Engineering is a multi-business manufacturer and marketer with more than 30 years of experience and expertise in large-part injection molding in the automotive, solid waste & recycling, furniture, material handling and renewable energy markets. Cascade Engineering focuses on making a positive impact on society and the environment, and on being financially successful. Triple Quest is a social enterprise business unit focused on sustainable development and enterprise. Triple Quest holds the only U.S. license to manufacture and market the commercial version of the patented Hydraid® BioSand Water Filter technology. Additional information is available at our website www.triplequest.com or by calling 616.254.4114.

Other Studies

See Appendix A for a listing of studies completed on BioSand filter technology.

Appendix A

  • C. E. Stauber, E. R. Printy, F. A. McCarty, K. R. Liang and M. D. Sobsey. “Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial of the Plastic BioSand Water Filter in Cambodia.” Environ. Sci. Technol. 2012, 46, 722−728
  • Sobsey, Mark D., Christine E. Stauber, Lisa M. Casanova, Joseph M. Brown and Mark A. Elliott. “Point of Use Household Drinking Water Filtration: A Practical, Effective Solution for Providing Sustained Access to Safe Drinking Water in the Developing World.” Environmental Science & Technology 2008, 4262-4267
  • Tiwari, Sangya-Sagam K., Wolf-Peter Schmidt, Jeannie Darby, Z.G. Kariuki and Marion W. Jenkins. “Intermittent slow sand filtration for preventing diarrhea among children in Kenyan households using unimproved water sources: randomized controlled trial.” Tropical Medicine and International Health November 2009, Volume 14 No. pp 1374-1382
  • Stauber, Christine E., Gloria M. Ortiz, Dana P. Loomis and Mark D. Sobsey. “A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Concrete Biosand Filter and Its Impact on Diarrheal Disease in Bonao, Dominical Republic.” American Journal of Tropical Medicine Hygiene 80(2), 2009, pp 286-293
  • Elliott, Mark A., C.E. Stauber, F. Koksal, F.A. DiGiano, M. D. Sobsey. “Reductions of E. coli, echovirus type 12 and bacteriophages in an intermittently operated household-scale slow sand filter.” Water Research 42 2008, 2662-2670
  • Stauber, C.E., M.A. Elliott, F. Koksal, G.M. Ortiz, F.A. DiGiano and M.D. Sobsey. Water Science & Technology 2006, Volume 54 No. 2 pp 1-7
  • Duke, W.F., R.N. Nordin, D. Baker and A. Mazumder. “The use and performance of BioSand filters in the Artibonite Valley of Haiti: a field study of 107 households.” Rural and Remote Health August 2, 2006
  • Elliott, M.A., C.E. Stauber, F. Koksal, K.R. Liang, DK Huslage, F.A. DiGiano and M.D. Sobsey. “The operation, flow conditions and microbial reductions of an intermittently operated, household-scale slow sand filter.” University of North Carolina, CB 7431, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 USA
  • Pokhrel, Damodar, Thiruvenkatachari Viraraghaven, F.ASCE2 and Larry Braul. “Evaluation of Treatment Systems for the Removal of Arsenic from Groundwater.” Practice Periodical of Hazardous, Toxic, and Radioactive Waste Management July 2005

Abstracts and Posters

  • Stauber, C.E., B. Kominek, K.R. Liang and M.D. Sobsey. “Randomized Controlled Trial of the Plastic Hydraid™ Biosand Water Filter in Rural Communities of Tamale, Ghana in 2008.” 2011 DRAFT
  • Fabiszewski, Anna M., Christine E. Stauber, Adam R. Walters, Rony E. Meza Sanchez and Mark D. Sobsey. “A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Plastic-Housing BioSand Filter and its Impact on Diarrheal Disease in Copan, Honduras.” 2011 DRAFT
  • Stauber, C.E., E.R. Printy, K.R. Liang and M.D. Sobsey. “A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Plastic-Housing BioSand Filter in Cambodia in 2008.” 2011 DRAFT
  • Elliott, Dr. Mark. “The HydrAid® BioSand Drinking Water Filter.” Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • MacDonald, Laura, Bill Ball, Erica Schoenberger. “Aid Efficacy for Point-of Use Water Treatment: Following Interventions from Origin through Implementation to Evaluation.” Johns Hopkins University
  • Stauber, C.E. Stauber, E. Printy, A.M. Fabiszewski, B.C. Kominek, A.R. Walters, K.R. Liang and M.D. Sobsey. “Field performance of the plastic biosand filter in Cambodia, Ghana and Honduras.” 2011 Abstract 2009
  • Conrad, Kenneth, Roy Keunnen and Anne Hoyt. “Evaluation of Enhanced Pre and Post Treatment Technologies for BioSand Water Filters” Access Business Group

Health Impact Studies

  • Stauber, Christine, Anna Fabiszewski, Erin Printy, Byron Kominek, Adam Walters, Kaida-may Liang, Mark Sobsey. “Randomized Controlled Trials of a Plastic Housing Biosand Filter in Cambodia, Ghana and Honduras” Georgia State University and University of North Carolina. Submission to American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene November 21, 2009.
  • Fabiszewski, A.M., C.E. Stauber, S. Kuhn, M.A. Elliott and M.D. Sobsey. “Effect of sand type and flow rate on biosand filter reductions of E. coli and coliphages MS-2 and PRD-1 in water.” 2011 Abstract, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Chuang, Patty, Mark Elliott, O.D. Simmons III and Mark D. Sobsey. “Bench-scale investigation of Biosand Filter Performance against a Surrogate for Protozoan Parasites.” 2011 Abstract, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Other Research

  • CAWST Center for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology. “Summary of Field and Laboratory Testing for the Biosand Filter.”2008-01
  • Manz, P. Eng., Dr. David H. “Rural, BioSand Water Filter Based, Drinking Water Stations V1.0.” September 2005
  • Manz, P. Eng., Dr. David H. “BSF Community Scale Drinking Water Supply Station V 1.0 Using Concrete Ring and Base Construction.” July 17, 2005
  • Manz, P. Eng., Dr. David H. “BSF Community Scale Drinking Water Supply Station V 1.0 Using Concrete Ring and Base Construction.” July 22, 2005
  • Manz, P. Eng., Dr. David H. “Guidelines Preparation of Media for the BioSand Water Filter, ‘When there is no crushed rock!’ April 30, 2007
  • BioSand Water Filter Removal, Treatment Capabilities and Specific Accreditation and Regulatory Approvals
  • Manz, David H., Byron Buzunis and Carlos Morales. “Final Report Nicaragua Household Water Supply and Testing Project.” December 1993
  • Aiken, Benjamin A. “Sustainability Assessment of the Biosand Filter in Bonoa, Dominican Republic.” A technical report submitted to the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Science in Public Health in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Chapel Hill 2008
  • Elliott, Mark. “Mechanisms of Microbial Reduction and Implications for Design and Operation of the Biosand Water Filter.” December 9, 2009
  • Stauber, Christine E. “The Microbiological and Health Impact of the Biosand Filter in the Dominican Republic: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Bonao.” A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Chapel Hill 2007 6
  • Maertens, Marianne and Andrew Buller. “Kale Heywet Household Water Project: Mid-term Evaluation.” University of North Carolina, March 17, 2006
  • Sobsey, Mark, Kaida Liang, Proum Sorya and Mickey Sampson. “UNC Household Water Filter Treatment and Health Research in Cambodia: 2005-2007.” September 2007


  • Kaiser, B.A., Nathan, Kaida Liang, B.A., Marianne Maertens, B.Sc. and Ryan Snider, B.A. M.Sc. “Biosand Household Water Filter Evaluation 2001. A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Samaritan’s Purse BioSand Filter (BSF) Projects in Kenya, Mozambique, Cambodia, Vietnam, Honduras and Nicaragua.” February 15, 2002

International Certified Lab Results

  • Certified Lab Results commissioned by Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agrícola: “Laboratorio Químico Agrícola, INFORME DE RESULTADOS DE ENSAYO.” San Pedro Sula, Honduras. May 27, 2010.
  • Certified Lab Results commissioned by Mr. Vinod Ready. “Care Labs – AP Government Registered No. 2461/05” Erramanjil, Hyderabad, India. October 29, 2010.

World Health Organization

  • Clasen, JD, PhD, Thomas F., “Scaling Up Household Water Treatment among Low-Income Populations.” Public Health and Environment-Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health-World Health Organization Geneva 2009
  • Stauber, Christine E. “The Microbiological and Health Impact of the Biosand Filter in the Dominican Republic: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Bonao.” A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the

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  • 884 million people in the world do not have access to clean water.
  • 1.6 million children die each year from waterborne diseases.
  • The Millennium Development Goal on child survival (MDG 4) will remain beyond our reach until diarrheal disease, poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water issues are addressed.
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