Many different household water treatment and safe storage (HWTSS) systems have been developed for low-income consumers to produce drinking water of acceptable microbiological quality and to maintain this quality during storage and use. However these HWTSS systems are not very effective in removing or inactivating wide varieties of enteric viruses. These viruses are major agents of infectious diseases such as gastroenteritis.
The goal within this theme is twofold. First, to develop effective and efficient treatment processes to produce safe and virus free drinking water. Membrane technologies, oxidation technologies, UV disinfection as well as adsorption technologies are potential techniques to achieve this. Secondly, to develop an instrument for fast and simple detection and counting of viruses in water. The currently used methods rely on rather complex and time consuming bio-assays. This new detection method, which is based on fluorescent labelling of viruses and spectroscopic detection of these viruses in the filtrate, will be used to quantify virus retention and inactivation efficiency of membrane filters in a quick and easy way. The mechanism of virus inactivation, damage and removal by the potential treatment technologies needs to be elucidated not only for model organisms (MS2 bacteriophages) but also for human pathogenic viruses. The gained knowledge will allow the development of effective, controllable and affordable treatment processes.