Tomorrow is time to leave Bangladesh, after an amazing experience! Last week we worked a lot to finish the project. In this post we will provide the final results of each of the parts of our project.
Arsenic contamination on the groundwater occurs due to natural formation. Therefore, an important part of our project has been to study how the geology of our village related to arsenic concentrations. During the geology fieldwork drillings were performed and the sediment in three different arsenic contaminated areas was collected. A relation between the colour of the sediment and the arsenic concentrations in the groundwater has been found. Areas with black and white sediment happened to be dangerous whereas areas with reddish sediment were thought to be probably safe.
In order to provide safe water to the village where we have worked, the construction of a small-scale water treatment unit has been done, to provide water to 25 - 50 inhabitants. The first results of the filter provided good results with a reduction of the arsenic almost completely and with no microbial contamination. However, the last two weeks the filter performance declined. This is thought to be due to a problem in the construction of a valve in the filter that does not allow to clean the filter as well as it should. Although for Project Bangla there is no time anymore to fix this problem, our supervisor will stay longer in Bangladesh and fix this valve, which hopefully will solve the problem and hence, it will be possible then to supply safe water to the villagers.
Monitoring the quality of the water is of large importance. Therefore, the third part of the project was to integrate the use of smartphone devices in the testing of the water quality. After having performed several tests to monitor the water quality such as arsenic, iron, and manganese, it has been discovered that the use of strip tests with the help of an app to read those tests can be used to monitor the filtered water.
It is time to leave for us now from Bangladesh. However, we hope that this first pilot will be improved and more arsenic contaminated villages will be helped in the future as well.