Until 2005, the water consumed by many rural families in the Tubarão Region did not go through any protection, filter or treatment. In order to contribute to the quality of life of this population, the Epagri's technicians searched for water filtration alternatives for collective use that were economically feasible, easy to maintain and that provided water with enough quality and quantity. A slow-flow system was built, which is environmentally, technically and economically feasible and suitable for our needs. 

The filtration is carried out in three stages: a pre-filter and two filters made of concrete tubes, completely waterproofed, filled with filtering bed composed of pebbles, gravel and sand, of several sizes, arranged in layers. It also has a cleaning system in the bottom part once the filtration flows upward. Technical reports described an improvement in the quality and quantity of water which resulted in a reduction in the number of people in the communities' health clinics; an increase in the environment care, community organization, and a subsequent improvement in the quality of life in the rural region..

 

A - General information

 

START: October 2005 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITIES: EPAGRI - Company of Agricultural Research and Rural Extension of Santa Catarina 

PARTNERS: Microbacias II Project

SUBMITTED BY: Noeli Catarina Pazetto and Suselei Brunato Weber

RESOURCES:  Proprietary and third parties

VALUE RANGE: Up to US$5,000 

CATEGORY: Project 

MAIN THEME AREA: Food and Nutrition Security

KEYWORDS: Water treatment, slow-flow filtration, water, sanitation, rural families, Imaruí filter, community organization.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Groups of families and rural community associations

LOCATION: Rural area 

GEOGRAPHICAL SCOPE: Santa Catarina State

SPECIFIC AREA OF IMPLEMENTATION: Imaruí the rural communities served were: Laranjal, Águas Mornas, Vila Herculano, Forquilha do Rio D'Úna, Riacho Ana Matias, Várzea do Rio D'Úna, Passagem do Rio D'Úna, Costão, Figueira Grande, Fazenda São Paulo, Sertão do Cangueri, Cangueri, Ribeirão de Imaruí, Ponta Grossa, Fazenda Rio das Graças, Costa de Baixo, Aratingaúba, Sertão do Aratingaúba, Forquilha do Aratingaúba, São Tomás, Samambaia, Vila dos Rochas and Rodeio.
Other municipalities that use the slow filtration technique in the State of Santa Catarina are: Laguna, Pescaria Brava, Tubarão, Orleans, Lauro Muller, Armazém, São Martinho, Pedras Grandes, Angelina, Vitor Meireles, Urubici, Palmeira, Luiz Alves, Luzerna, Itapema, Jacinto Machado, among others.

 

B - Description of the practice

 

1- BACKGROUND

In the State of Santa Catarina, water is an abundant resource, but it is not always available in quantity and quality to meet the existing demand. During the preparation of the Microbasins Development Plans for the Prapem/Microbacias 2 Program, it was found that the poor quality and low quantity of available water were recurring problems in practically all microbasins studied in the Tubarão Region.  In the municipality of Imaruí, 10 microbasins and an indigenous community were identified, covering 23 rural communities and approximately 1,900 families whose consumed water was not protected or treated. The catchment was made directly from open-air streams where animals had access to the springs, which caused the contamination of the water by waste, other types of organic matter and contaminants. The municipal/state company responsible for the water treatment and supply did not perform its role in the rural area.  In 2005, the Prapem/Microbacias 2 Project met this great challenge, allowing discussion among the involved parties (community/public power) and seeking solutions to mitigate the problems caused by poor quality and low quantity of water.

  

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE

To improve water quality and availability for human consumption by means of a slow-flow filtration system.

Specific objectives:

  • Organizing the families of the community to undertake responsibilities in the implantation and management of water filters;
  • Raising awareness among families about the relationship between environmental preservation of riparian forests and the quality of water available for consumption;
  • Introduce management practices and responsible use of filtered water.

 

3 - SOLUTION ADOPTED

Current challenges present us with problems whose complexity demands the search for sustainable solutions to the issues of water management and it use in rural areas. During the execution Prapem/Microbacias 2 Program, Epagri's technicians and managers confirmed that the poor quality and low quantity of available water were recurring problems in practically all microbasins studied in the Tubarão Region. The search for alternatives to solve these problems was considered a priority in the communities.

The first action developed by the project involved Epagri's local/regional team and some farmers. It consisted in conducting several experiments with the objective of identifying the most adequate filtering system, in technical and financial terms, for the rural reality of the municipality. As a result, a slow-flow filtering system was built, which is environmentally, technically and economically suitable for our needs. This "Imaruí" slow-flow water filtration system operates through upward flow and consists of three filtration steps as can be verified in detail in Appendix 1.

For the implementation of filtering systems in rural communities, several steps were followed:

a) Formation of "water groups".
The first consisted in the formation of "water groups", with their own regulations, built during the planning meetings. Workshops and training were conducted with the beneficiaries in order to raise the necessary funds for the construction and subsequent maintenance of the filters and also for the implementation of filtered water distribution networks.

b) Identification of water catchment sites..
In a second moment the water catchment origin sites were identified. Most of these sites (fountains, streams, and small dams) were already used by farmers for consumption and household use. After the organization of the families and identification of the water catchment origin site, the construction of the system began. The choice of a favorable site for the gravitational flow of water to the community, subject to restriction, and with little circulation of people is essential for the proper functioning of the filtration system. After passing through the filter, the water is sent to reservoirs in the community, which must be calculated according to the families' household consumption. It was constructed by the members of the water groups; the support base for the filters, the washing and placement of the filter bed and installation of the water tanks. All systems implanted in Imaruí and other municipalities were followed up by the Epagri's municipal and regional teams and had active participation of the beneficiary families.

c) Periodic Maintenance
The systems need periodic maintenance, which is determined through the potability of the collected water. It is recommended that the pre-filter and filters are cleaned every 15 days, and after rainy periods. This is a simple procedure: the cleaning tube is opened, letting all the water out of the system. Filtered water reservoirs (water boxes) should be disinfected every 6 months using chlorine.

  

 4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

The results achieved with the "Imaruí" water filtration system can be organized in:

 

Qualitative Results.

  • Environmental conservation in sites of collection of the filtration system water;
  • Increased community integration through the creation of water groups;
  • Improvement of the quality of life of the families, observed through daily activities that require the use of water, for example, feeding, health and cleaning;
  • Real estate valuation by guaranteeing water supply for consumption and domestic use;
  • Positive impact on the public health system through the reduction of cases of food poisoning due to water consumption;  

Quantitative Results.

  • Elevation and stabilization of the amount of supplied water, provided by the care and environmental awareness in relation to the collection sites;Implantation of the system in 23 rural communities of the Municipality of Imaruí;
  • Establishment of 70 informal groups for the construction and management of filtration systems;
    1,700 families served with filtered water;
  • Improvement in water quality after the filtration system – through laboratory analysis* it was possible to verify the reduction of contamination indicators by up to 100% in some cases, according to the reports found in appendix 2.

 

5 - REQUIRED RESOURCES

The following resources are required for the implementation of a "Imaruí" water filtration system, used for the filtration of up to 10,000 liters of water per day:

 

Human Resources

The workforce depends on the location of the water collection and the location where the filter will be implanted. On average, it will be necessary:
04 people, one of whom must be qualified for civil and hydraulic construction and; 01 Epagri's technician or professional with specific knowledge about the operation of the filtering system.
It is estimated that the filter implantation is concluded within five (5) days.
 

 

Material resources:

Site for water collection with an available volume of 10,000l/day (source, brook, dam, stream, etc). 

Area of approximately 10m²;02 machine hours (backhoe) to prepare the installation site (depends on the area);Concrete pipes: 3 half concrete pipes (false bottom); 5 concrete pipes; 3 false bottoms and 3 sealing lids;Base construction and filters grouting: 4 6.3mm rebars; 4 4.2mm iron rebars; 1 Kg of annealed wire; 7 Cement 50 Kg-bags; 2 waterproofing; 2 m³ of gravel; 2 m³ of sand; PVC connections and pipes: 3 32 mm PVC pipe; 2 PVC pipe glue; 3 100 mm Cap; 4 32 mm Weldable flanges; 1 100mm PVC tube; 3 32mm knobs; 7 32mm knee;
Filtering bed:
½ m³ of round peeble or crushed rock
½ m³ no. 4 gravel
½ m³ no. 2 gravel
½ m³ of coarse sand
½ m³ de medium
½ m³ of fine sand
01 10,000l water tank

Approximate value for the 10,000l / d filtration system implantation: R$3,500.00.

 

 

6 - PRACTICE TRANSFER

This slow filtration model was designed and adopted by Epagri that develops projects and activities of technical assistance and rural extension, focused on the environment. Technicians are trained to foster, innovate and disseminate viable techniques that are effective for the environment preservation and recovery.

The practice was replicated in other municipalities of the Amurel (Laguna Region Municipalities Association) region and, later, in other municipalities of the State that knew about the system viability and efficiency. The Imaruí slow-flow water filtration system is implanted in the municipalities of Laguna, Pescaria Brava, Tubarão, Orleans, Lauro Muller, Armazém, São Martinho, Pedras Grandes, Angelina, Vitor Meireles, Urubici, Palmeira, Luiz Alves, Luzerna, Itapema, Jacinto Machado, among others.

The technology was disclosed in regional and state events, excursions, workshops and lectures. This technology was also mentioned in a doctoral thesis defended by Dr. André Lucca, from the UniversitàIuavdi Venezia.

  

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

Slow-flow water filtration consists in a viable water quality improvement system that is viable for the conditions of rural communities in our state. Since it is a simple design and operation system, it requires little investment for its implementation and maintenance. Epagri considers it a good practice, since it has changed the reality of thousands of families regarding the contamination of the consumed water.
Some hindrances faced in the systems implementation are: conflicts of interest in the groups, financial resources for maintenance, rough terrain conditions (access and implantation), as well as the non-fulfillment of regulations provisions elaborated by the beneficiaries themselves.

 

8 - ORIGINALITY OF PRACTICE 

This is an original practice without similar initiatives identified in the region.

 

 

 

Visits can be held from March to November, Monday through Friday, during business hours. Approximately 30 people. Previously scheduled.

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