Frequently Asked Questions

UVX VillageWater Purifier F.A.Q.

VillageWater:  African Children Drinking Reliable, Safe Drinking Water

Product Effectiveness
Villager Training
Product Field Testing
Comparison with Other Water Purification Systems


Product Effectiveness

How effective is VillageWater against bacteria and viruses?
The purifier has been demonstrated to remove more than 99.9999% of bacteria and more than 99.99% of viruses at flow rates up to 2,000L (530 gal.) per hour, from visually clean water at 25°C (77°F) under circumstances similar to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers.

What does VillageWater do to source water?
Our purification systems inactivate all the major organisms from the three major classes of water-borne pathogens as demonstrated by tests performed at the University of Arizona simulating the EPA requirements:

1. Protozoa For example, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Entamoebic Dysentery, Diphyllobothrium and Blastocysts.

2. Viruses For example, Bacteriophage - E. Coli, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, Norovirus, Enterovirus (meningitis), Influenza and Poliovirus – Poliomyelitis.

3. Bacteria For example, Bacillus anthracis – Anthrax, Brewer's yeast, Corynebacterium diptheriae, Dysentery bacilli, Escherichia coli, Leptospiracanicola – infectious, Legionella pneumophilia, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella paratyphi, Salmonella typhimurium, Shigella dyseteriae, Shigella flexneri, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus faecaelis, Trachoma, Typhus amd Vibria comma - Cholera.

Can VillageWater be used to purify muddy surface water?

Surface water is sometimes muddy if the soil has a high clay content. This can be the case during the rainy season in some countries.  There are two methods which have been successfully used to reduce the turbidity of the water to less than 5 NTU to enable purification with the VillageWater system.

One approach is to use a settling tank of sufficient capacity to settle the suspended solids from the surface water prior to purification with the VillageWater system.  To use the method, fill the settling tank with the muddy surface water, then mix in a small amount of NSF approved clarifier, typically 25 to 50 mg of clarifier per liter of  water in the settling tank, in accordance with the clarifier manufacturer's
instructions.  Allow the water in the settling tank to settle for 16 to 24 hours before pumping it into the VillageWater system. 

Using this approach, two settling tanks are typically needed since the suspended Solids in one settling tank are settling while the clarified water in the other settling tank is being used as the source water for the VillageWater system.  Depending on local conditions, trenches dug in the ground lined and covered
with FDA approved polyethylene sheeting may be able to be used in place of tanks.

An alternate approach which has worked well in the village is to dig a 1 meter wide by 1 meter deep trench approximately one to two meters from the nearest edge of the water source (stream or river). Allow the surface water from the stream or river to seep into the trench through the soil in the bank of the  stream or river.  Depending on local conditions, the soil usually acts as a filter for the suspended solids in the water, causing the trench water to be much clearer than the water in the stream or river.  If the turbidity is less than 5 NTU, the water from the trench is then used as the source of the water for the VillageWater system.

If villagers drink VillageWater water in their village, will they lose their acquired immunity to less virulent bacteria?  In other words, will they become sick when drinking untreated water from neighboring villages?

Flora can develop in the intestines to cause people to develop some immunity to the less virulent types of bacteria. However, people do not develop immunity for viruses (such as hepatitis and polio) and protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium).  Therefore, we strongly encourage people to only drink from safe water sources.

How energy efficient is VillageWater?
Our purifier has an extremely low power consumption of 210 watts at a water flow rate of 2,000L (530 gal.) per hour consider how effective it is. Usually, power consumption increases exponentially with bacterial inactivation rate. 

How effective is VillageWater against cryptosporidium?
Although the purifier has not yet been tested for cryptosporidium inactivation at the U.S. EPA testing laboratory, its excellent performance on the virus inactivation test leads experts in the field to conclude that it will satisfactorily inactivate giardia and cryptosporidium.

Why is VillageWater so efficient and effective at removing bacteria and viruses?
We have an entirely new reactor design that makes UV so much more effective at removing bacteria and viruses from water. We call our technology UVX™.

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Villager Training

What training is necessary to operate the purifier?
Minimal training is needed. We have found that users with no experience but have some background in simple mechanical systems can master the purifier in less than an hour.

Do you have any teaching methods for the villages not only for care of the purifier, but for care of anything that will contain the water that the purifier provides before it reaches the mouth?
We have set up day-long training sessions in the villages to teach the villagers about hygiene: how and when to wash hands, how to keep food preparation sanitary, where to use the bathroom, how to wash hands afterward, etc. There has been a great response so far.  We have had to offer food to get the people to attend.

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Product Field Testing

Has VillageWater been field tested?
Our purifiers have been tested for more than 1.9 million liters (500,000 gal.) of water at a field test site as well as in a multi-country field trial in remote villages.

At what qualified laboratory was VillageWater tested?
The purifier was tested by the University of Arizona's Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. The purifier has been demonstrated to remove more than 99.9999% of bacteria and more than 99.99% of viruses at flow rates up to 2,000L (530 gal.) per hour, from visually clear water at 25°C (77°F), under circumstances similar to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers.

Is the VillageWater certified by the National Science Foundation (NSF)?
We do not have NSF Certification.

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How do I purchase a VillageWater?
Email us at and we will promptly respond. Otherwise, call us or send us a letter (see purchasing for more information).

How much time does it take to receive shipment of my VillageWater?
If purifiers are in stock, we can usually ship within 10 days. However, if units are not in stock due to high demand, it may take up to 12-16 weeks to ship.

How do I get the purifier through customs in my country?
Contact your local customs agency for more information.

Where can the VillageWater be used?
The purifier can be used anywhere in the world where it can be used in compliance with local, state and federal laws. Be sure to check with your local authorities.

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Comparison with Other Water Purification Systems

How do tube wells compare to VillageWater?
Tube wells provide an excellent source of safe water if properly constructed and maintained. Wells must be at least 7.62m (25ft) deep to obtain adequate purification through the soil. They may need to be deeper, depending on the depth of the local water table or aquifer. The depth of the well largely determines the cost. In some areas, the natural aquifers are contaminated with inorganics such as arsenic and fluoride. In addition, if the well is not properly sealed and elevated, or if design flaws or lack of maintenance allow the seepage of ground water into the well bore, the well can leach pathogens into their source water, especially during a rainy season.

Do other systems employing chlorine treatment provide safe drinking water?
Chlorine is used to treat drinking water in many areas of the world. When properly applied, chlorine is effective at inactivating viruses and bacteria from drinking water. However, it is not effective at inactivating potentially deadly protozoa such as cryptosporidium or giardia, which are often found in surface water.

The dosage of chlorine needs to be carefully administered to the water because overdosing the water with chlorine can cause serious injury or death. When chlorine is applied to drinking water from sources that contain naturally occurring substances such as decomposing plant and animal material, trihalomethanes are produced which are suspected carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). The President's Council on Environmental Quality states that "there is increased evidence for an association between rectal, colon and bladder cancer, and the consumption of chlorinated drinking water." Research indicates the incidence of cancer is 44% higher among those using chlorinated water.

Chlorine must be used before its expiration date (typically 6 months for bleach), which may be difficult to comply with in remote areas. Many municipal water utilities have replaced chlorine with chloramines in their drinking water supply to avoid the production of trihalomethanes and their potentially carcinogenic effects.

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