What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.
The principal inventor of the Kanchan Arsenic Filter is Tommy Ngai, now of CAWST, but at the time (2002), he was a graduate student of Susan Murcott's in the Master of Engineering Program, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, MIT. Tommy's invention derived from then-current work by classmate, Heather Lukacs, who was studying the biosand filter, and from earlier work of MIT M.Eng. students (Jessie Hurd, Tse-Luen Lee, Nat Paynter). The invention would not have been possible without the advice and guidance of our MIT partner organization in Nepal, ENPHO, and subsequently, our partner organization, CAWST of Canada. In every sense, this was Tommy's invention and a team achievement.
Central to this invention was the "discovery" of the efficacy of rusty iron nails as an arsenic adsorption media. This was an insight originally gained by Jessie Hurd and Susan Murcott when Jessie was testing some earlier arsenic remediation options in 2001. One of those options - the 3-Kolshi system - was effective at removing arsenic, but it clogged readily. Moreover, the arsenic adsorption zero-valent iron filings media used in that system, was brought to the Nepali village all the way from the USA. This village, Parasi, was located 10 hours by bus from Kathmandu. It had one dirt road that was the "center" of village commerce. Jessie and Susan walked through that village to find locally available iron products to test as an arsenic media. We found small iron nails and they worked!
Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material
Susan Murcott is a Senior Lecturer at MIT. Her work is dedicated to providing safe water to 1 billion people. For the first decade of her environmental engineering career, her focus was on innovative wastewater treatment for megacities, with projects in Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Budapest, Beijing and Hong Kong. Since 1997, she has been a leader in the emerging field of household drinking water treatment and safe storage, with projects in Ghana, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia and China.