Bottle makes dirty water drinkable

Friday, 11 January, 2008

Michael Pritchard has introduced the Lifesaver container, a plastic bottle that claims to instantly clean the dirtiest water, making it safe to drink.

Pritchard said he felt duty-bound to develop it after watching TV coverage of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 that killed at least 230,000 people and left a vast swathe of destroyed communities and infrastructure. Many of the survivors had little or no supply of fresh water to help recovery.

“In the days and weeks afterwards, people were dying from drinking contaminated water and it took ages for response teams to reach them. That really affected me and I thought something had to be done,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard — who runs a water treatment business in Ipswich, eastern England — spent the next three years and his life savings to create the health aid that makes “foul-smelling water drinkable in seconds”.

The Lifesaver device is an all-in-one filtration bottle that removes all bacteria, viruses, cysts, parasites and fungi from water — without the aid of unpleasant tasting agents such as iodine or chlorine.

The 750 mL plastic bottle can be filled with liquid from a dirty pond or river and — with just a few pumps and the twist of a cap — clean drinking water is produced.

The bottle uses a highly advanced filtration system originally developed for industrial applications. Conventional filters can cut out bacteria measuring more than 200 nanometres but not viruses that are typically 25 nanometres.

It can clean up any water including faecal matter; it stops anything longer than 15 nanometres, meaning that viruses can be filtered without the use of chemicals. The bottle can distil from 4000 to 6000 litres without changing the filter.

Its activated carbon filter captures a broad spectrum of chemical residues including pesticides, endocrine-disrupting compounds, medical residues and heavy metals such as lead and copper. It also eliminates bad tastes and odours from contaminates such as chlorine and sulfur and protects against cholera and cryptosporidium. But it cannot make seawater drinkable.

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