Developing efficient ways to test drinking water in rural communities
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Testing drinking water for E. coli takes time and is expensive.

Using paper strips similar to those in litmus tests, researchers at the University of Waterloo have invented a fast, affordable way for rural and remote communities to test drinking water, enabling routine, affordable testing.

Unlike current tests that cost about $70 and can take up to three days to get back from the lab, the Waterloo invention uses paper strips similar to those in litmus tests to produce results in less than three hours at a cost of 50 cents.

“This has the potential to allow routine, affordable water testing to help billions of people in the developing world avoid getting sick,” said Sushanta Mitra, executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. “It is a breakthrough.”

Now being refined by Glacierclean Technologies Inc., a startup company co-founded by Mitra, the test could also improve water safety in remote or rural areas of the developed world and greatly reduce testing costs for municipal treatment systems.

For more information, visit the University of Waterloo.

“This has the potential to allow routine, affordable water testing to help billions of people in the developing world avoid getting sick. It is a breakthrough.”
Sushanta Mitra
Executive Director, the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology
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