Scalable Safe Drinking Water Access Made Easy for Families in Developing Countries

Votes: 1
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When people lack easy and reliable clean drinking water access, it is a major burden on their lives. Beyond basic health concerns and the fact that 500,000 people die annually as a direct result of diarrheal illness from inadequate drinking water, daily struggles also include having to walk far distances and wait in long lines at community water points.

By placing water filters right inside people’s homes, OHorizons is working to mitigate these issues.

We’ve engineered a Wood Mold for the production of concrete BioSand Filters (BSFs). Our low-tech design is affordable, utilizes 100% locally-sourced materials, tools, and labor, and is open-source and DIY-friendly so any organization, anywhere can download our online construction manual and bring safe drinking water access to their community!

That sounds amazing, but what’s a BioSand Filter? BSFs are a proven and simple household water filter capable of providing users with clean water for more than 15 years. They don’t use electricity or moving parts, require minimal maintenance, and are composed of basic, universally inexpensive materials (sand, gravel, and cement). BSFs use natural biological processes to separate pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and helminthes (worms) from drinking water, making it safe to drink. BSFs are an extremely durable, sustainable, and effective means of water filtration for rural communities; however their traditional production method, a steel mold, was a barrier to starting BSF projects. Each steel mold costs between $500-2000 and requires a skilled welder.

Our Wood Mold reduces the financial and technical barriers to producing BSFs. Depending on local prices, a single Wood Mold typically costs $70-100. Anyone can make it; our original pilots proved the Mold can be built off-grid using only hand tools and by people with limited to no construction experience. In the past, other wood molds have been designed in a similar effort to provide an alternative to the steel mold, but none have been capable of producing more than 5-10 filters/mold. The OHorizons’ Wood Mold can produce approximately 50 filters/mold or more depending on care and the quality of wood used. Our design is significantly more durable due to the use of our patented collapsible inner core and 2” x 2” supports that hold the outer walls of the Mold together with bolts rather than screws.

Having a BSF in the home improves their user’s lives. They avoid getting dangerously sick from waterborne illnesses and get hours back in their day. When women and children, whose task it is to gather water for their families, aren’t forced to walk far distances and wait in long lines to access a community water source, they’re able to spend more time on child rearing, going to school, earning an income, etc. Watch our video to see several testimonials.

By reducing the financial and technical barriers to clean water filtration, our locally made, easy to use BioSand Filters, keep their users healthy and provide women with the time to pursue additional life opportunities!



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  • Name:
    Ohorizons Team Members
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Tamara Minick-Scokalo Natalie Relich Dylan Lunney
  • Profession:
    Business Owner/Manager
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
  • Ohorizons Team is inspired by:
    We believe everyone deserves reliable access to safe drinking water. That's why we've engineered an appropriate technology that makes it cheaper, faster, and easier for families in rural areas of developing countries to gain access to sustainable safe drinking water.
  • Patent status: