We are so excited to share the preliminary results of our water testing. Using the water from San Francisquito Creek, we found that – before filtration – the water did not meet WHO standards in the following categories: iron, lead, total chlorine, fluoride, and pH. Interestingly, it did not possess any E. coli bacteria (as indicated by a negative test result) – something that we had been expecting and hoping to test the effectiveness of our filter on. This could be due to the way that we stored the water, the questionable quality of the test itself, the fact that the test blew over during the incubation period, or misinformation about E. coli levels in the creek. After the filtering process which took approximately 45 minutes, we retested the water and were pleased to find that our design dramatically improved the water quality. More specifically, it reduced the levels of all contaminants, bringing them within the range of WHO standards and thus making it drinkable with regard to these metrics. So awesome!
With the promising results, we want to continue our designs and testing in a few different ways. First, a sub-group of the team has turned their attention to the second filter prototype – the single-bucket gravity filter – and are beginning the construction phase today. Additionally, we want to test the first design with a more robust and credible test, such as the IDEXX ones described in an earlier blog. And lastly, in an effort to learn more about our filtration system's ability to remove bacteria, we are retesting the filter with new, more legitimate bacteria tests. We also plan to refrigerate our next batch of creek water – a step that will contribute to the health of the E. coli population. It seems weird to be promoting this type of growth but it is in the name of the safety of our users!
On the kiln side, we started sourcing materials for a larger, full-scale TLUD kiln. Our initial focus is the oil drum. We have found some options on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace and are working on selecting the best drum – considering costs, presence or absence of paint, and distance from Stanford. We understand that our team may not finish building this design. Instead, we aim to set up the next ESW Biochar team for success!