Learning about the water crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, this project focused on creating a solution that could be deployed into this type of situation. The SPEW is a low cost, portable emergency water purification system that can be used after a natural disaster or when there are other disruptions or impurities in the water supply.
Interruptions in water supplies are quite common. A 2017 USA Today study showed that 65 million Americans have been exposed to unsafe drinking water over the past decade. The World Health Organization indicates that 2 billion people globally drink contaminated drinking water. A full month after Hurricane Maria, 25% of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million people still had unsafe drinking water.
The SPEW Purification System uses traditional filters and reverse osmosis (RO) to make nearly any fresh water safe to drink. The system removes organic and inorganic compounds down to 1/10,000 of a micron. An additional ultraviolet unit or disinfection cartridge can protect against bacteria, cysts, viruses, and other microorganisms.
The SPEW can produce 50-75 gallons of pure, safe drinking water per day, enough for several families.
The SPEW can be powered by solar, battery, or plug-in power. The batteries last a full day and can be recharged by solar. The SPEW can be operated indoors or outdoors.
The SPEW can be connected to a faucet, hose, or spigot to purify municipal or well water. It can also pull surface water from rivers, lakes, or ponds (not saltwater).
The complete SPEW System, including pump, filters, RO unit, solar panel, batteries, and transport cart, can be easily assembled with about $200 worth of readily available parts.