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Project Summary

Project Information

The World Health Organization estimates that, each year, 3.4 million people die, due to a lack of a safe, reliable source of drinking water. In an attempt to address this issue, project team P19464 designed a portable, low cost water pump feasibility model; proving the effectiveness of a pump powered solely by local rivers and streams. The design was focused on accommodating small families of six or less, with the additional goal of being able to fit into a backpack when taken apart.

Picking up where they left off, the goals of this project (P20464) are to first, scale up the design for more than one family unit, as well as to use materials that are more readily available in sub-Saharan Africa. Additional testing was completed using the P19464 prototype, in order to establish relationships between design parameters such as tube diameter, water speed, filter size, and wheel size. Further changes recommended by the previous design team include redesigning the fins on the wheel to increase their efficiency, and scaling up the pump to make it larger and potentially more feasible for more of a communal application.

The team also plans on designing a way to make the device deployable from a distance. There are a lot of dangers associated with getting close to the river, namely the wildlife. The device is also going to be designed so that once is it is in the river and anchored down, it will be able to use the river power to pump the water offshore, farther away from the dangers of the river. Filtration will take place on land to help reduce the risk of contamination and keep the filter accessible in case anything is damaged or needs to be back-washed. An autonomous, river-powered water pump has the potential to be very useful in collecting potable water for communities, and for assisting in disaster relief scenarios.

Project Title: River Powered Water Purifier Scalability, Durability, & Effectiveness

Project Number: P20464

Project Family: Sustainable Technologies for Developing Countries

Start Term: 2191 Fall

End Term: 2195 Spring

Faculty Guide: Jerry Adamski

Primary Customer(s): TBD

Sponsor (financial support): MSD

Team Members

From left to right: Joseph, Matthew, Alan, Daniel, Patrick

Daniel RouleauIndustrial Engineering

Alan KuffnerMechanical Engineering

Lead Engineer
Matthew StreitMechanical Engineering

Patrick McPhersonBiomedical Engineering

Joseph AlmekhaMechanical Engineering

Project Manager


Work Breakdown: By Phase

Work Breakdown: By Topic


Special thanks to our amazing guide Jerry Adamski and the MSD office for working with us and managing all the uncertainties we all faced. Also thank you to Pieter's Family Life Center and the aquatics center at RIT for allowing us to test our prototypes there. Finally thank you to Sawyer who was generous enough to donate a Sawyer Point One filter for our project.

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