Plant seeds of change graphic

“You cannot reap what you have not sown. How are we going to reap love in our community, if we only sow hate?” - Archbishop Oscar Romero

Using Ultraviolet Light To Purify Water

On March 16th, CoCoDA hosted an Ultraviolet Water Purification workshop in Suchitoto. The workshop invited Central American community leaders, engineers, and water board members to an introduction to this cutting edge technology in water purification.

Chlorine shocking is the current method of water purification for Central American water systems. Unfortunately, the chlorine method requires continual application and purchasing, precise utilization, and also changes the water flavor. For these reasons, as well as possible long term negative health effects of chlorine, CoCoDA's intern, Tanner Gesell of Valparaiso University spent the summer of 2018 researching alternatives. Tanner presented his findings during the workshop.


Ultraviolet water purification nullifies many of these negative side effects. UV purification works by exposing the targeted water to UV light and eradicating harmful microorganisms in the water. This technology is easily installed and requires limited maintenance. UV purification, along with being simple, economical, and effective, doesn't change the taste of the water.

In the figure below, water flows into the inlet at point 1 and through the stainless steel purification chamber described by point 2. Inside the purification chamber, the water is exposed to UV light, mitigating the harmful microorganisms present. The purified water then flows out of the outlet at point 4. In Central America, a simple stone and mortar distribution tank can act as the purification chamber.



Central American leaders left the workshop with an extensive knowledge of ultraviolet water purification, and potential applications to their respective communities. CoCoDA will be working with these leaders in applying these lessons in their communities.