Volume 88, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



A field study assessing the sustainability and efficacy of 55 biosand filters installed during 1999–2010 was conducted in the Artibonite Valley, Haiti during 2011. Twenty-nine filters were still in use. Duration of filter use ranged from < 1 to 12 years. Water quality, microbial analysis, and flow rate were evaluated for each functioning filter. Kaplan-Meier analysis of filter lifespans showed that filter use remained high (> 85%) up to seven years after installation. Several filters were still in use after 12 years, which is longer than documented in any previous study. Filtered water from 25 filters (86%) contained concentrations of < 10 most probable number of coliforms/100 mL. Recontamination of stored filtered water was negligible. Bacterial removal efficiency was 1.1 log. Comparable results from previous studies in the same region and elsewhere show that biosand filter technology continues to be an effective and sustainable water treatment method in developing countries worldwide.

[open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's Re-use License which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund, 2012. Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. Geneva: World Heath Organization and United Nations Children's Fund.
  2. World Health Organization, 2003. Quantifying selected major risks to health. World Health Report 2002: Available at: http://www.who.int/whr/2002/en/. Accessed June 10, 2011.
  3. Fewtrell L, Colford JM, , 2004. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Interventions and Diarrhoea. A Health, Nutrition and Population Discussion Paper. Washington, DC: World Bank.
  4. Aiken BA, Stauber CE, Ortiz GM, Sobsey MD, , 2011. An assessment of continued use and health impact of the concrete biosand filter in Bonao, Dominican Republic. Am J Trop Med Hyg 85: 309317.[Crossref]
  5. Stauber CE, Ortiz GM, Loomis DP, Sobsey MD, , 2009. A randomized controlled trial of the concrete biosand filter and its impact on diarrheal disease in Bonao, Dominican Republic. Am J Trop Med Hyg 80: 286293.
  6. Duke WF, Nordin RN, Baker D, Mazumder A, , 2006. The use and performance of biosand filters in the Artibonite Valley of Haiti: a field study of 107 households. Rural Remote Health 6: 570.
  7. Sobsey MD, Stauber CE, Casanova LM, Brown JM, Elliot MA, , 2008. Point of use household drinking water filtration: a practical, effective solution for providing sustained access to safe drinking water in the developing world. Environ Sci Technol 42: 42614267.[Crossref]
  8. Clasen TF, , 2009. Scaling Up Household Water Treatment among Low-Income Populations. Geneva: World Health Organization.
  9. Stauber CE, Elliot MA, Koksal F, Ortiz GM, DiGiano FA, Sobsey MD, , 2006. Characterization of the biosand filter for E. coli reductions from household drinking water under controlled laboratory and field use conditions. Water Sci Technol 54: 17.[Crossref]
  10. Elliott MA, Stauber CE, Koksal F, DiGiano FA, Sobsey MD, , 2008. Reductions of E. coli, echovirus type 12 and bacteriophages in an intermittently operated household-scale slow sand filter. Water Research 42: 2662.[Crossref]
  11. Liang K, Sobsey M, Stauber C, , 2010. Improving household Drinking Water Quality: Use of BioSand Filters in Cambodia. World Sanitation Program. Available at: http://www.wsp.org/wsp/sites/wsp.org/files/publications/WSP_biosand_cambodia.pdf. Accessed May 19, 2011.
  12. Vanderzwaag J, , 2008. Use and Performance of the Biosand Filters in Posoltega, Nicaragua. Master's Thesis. Vancouver, Canada: The University of British Columbia.
  13. Earwaker P, , 2006. Evaluation of Household BioSand Filters in Ethiopia. Master's Thesis. Silsoe, United Kingdom: University of Cranfield.
  14. Magnani R, Sabin K, Saidel T, Heckathorn D, , 2005. Review of sampling hard-to-reach and hidden populations for HIV surveillance. AIDS 19: S67S72.[Crossref]
  15. Faugier J, Sargeant M, , 1997. Sampling hard to reach populations. J Adv Nurs 26: 790797.[Crossref]
  16. Kalbfleisch JD, Prentice RL, , 2002. The Statistical Analysis of Failure Time Data. New York: John Wiley and Sons.[Crossref]
  17. Klein JP, Moeschberger ML, , 2003. Survival Analysis: Techniques for Censored and Truncated Data. Second edition. New York: Springer-Verlag.
  18. Lawless JF, , 2003. Statistical Models and Methods for Lifetime Data. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
  19. McNair JN, Sunkara A, Frobish D, , 2012. How to analyze seed germination data using statistical time-to-event analysis: non-parametric and semi-parametric methods. Seed Sci Res, doi:10.1017/S0960258511000547.
  20. Sisson AJ, Wampler PJ, Rediske R, Molla A, , 2013. An assessment of long term biosand filter use and sustainability in Haiti. J Water Sanitation Hyg Dev 3: 5160.[Crossref]
  21. Brown J, Sobsey M, Proum S, , 2007. Use of Ceramic Water Filters in Cambodia. Available at: http://www.wsp.org/UserFiles/file/926200724252_eap_cambodia_filter.pdf. Accessed January 2, 2012.
  22. Fewster E, Mol A, Wiessent-Brandsma C, , 2004. The Long Term Sustainability of Household Bio-Sand Filtration. Proceedings from the 30th WEDC International Conference, Vientiane, Laos.
  23. Kaiser N, Liang KR, Maertens M, Snider R, , 2002. 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; Samaritan's Purse.
  24. Lee TL, , 2001. Biosand Household Water Filter Project in Nepal. Master's Thesis. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  25. Stauber CE, Printy ER, McCarty FA, Liang KR, Sobsey MD, , 2012. Cluster randomized controlled trial of the plastic biosand water filter in Cambodia. Environ Sci Technol 46: 722728.[Crossref]
  26. Fiore MM, Minnings K, Fiore LD, , 2010. Assessment of biosand filter performance in rural communities in southern coastal Nicaragua: an evaluation of 199 households. Rural Remote Health 10: 1483.
  27. Schmidt WP, Cairncross S, , 2009. Household water treatment in poor populations: is there enough evidence for scaling up now. Environ Sci Technol 43: 986992.[Crossref]

Data & Media loading...

  • Received : 30 May 2012
  • Accepted : 27 Jan 2013

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error