Research

Overview

IRES participants will collaborate with KNUST faculty and students as well as teachers and pupils at a local secondary school to conduct research on technological, economic and social aspects of water supply and sanitation systems. The specific research activities will include: water supply projects that will focus on biosand filters, which will be modified to remove fluoride using aluminum oxide coated media; sanitation projects that will focus on low cost, low energy ecological sanitation systems such as constructed wetlands (CW), urine diverting dry toilets (UDDTs) and biodigesters; Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) as a means to shape research from design of experiments, conducting research and dissemination to promote active community engagement. Further description of the research projects is given below.

  • Water Supply Projects: This will involve the development of modified biosand filters that utilize aluminum oxide coated media for removal of turbidity, pathogens and fluoride to address infectious disease and dental/skeletal health risks. In this project, IRES participants will develop appropriate methods of aluminum coating of filter media, develop field appropriate methods of BSF performance, design and construct BSF prototypes and test them in partnership with secondary school teachers and pupils. This also involves the development of cost effective regeneration methods of the adsorbent media and assessment of the performance of regenerated BSF.

  • Sanitation Technology: This project will study decentralized ecological sanitation technologies such as constructed wetlands, urine diverting dry toilets and biodigesters that recover valuable resources (water, nutrients, energy) from human wastes. Students will evaluate existing sanitation infrastructure, waste production and waste characteristics at a local secondary school. They will also interview users and operators at nearby sanitation facilities. Students will design and construct a prototype onsite sanitation system and collaborate with local secondary school teachers and students to monitor system performance.
    • Monitor prototype sanitation system performance, costs and benefits.
    • Assess changes in knowledge and attitudes to sanitation system users and other stakeholders.

  • Financial Aspects of Water and Sanitation
    One of the challenges to water and sanitation expansion is related to financial constraints. Some forms of micro-financing approaches are considered effective in addressing these challenges. In this project, IRES participants will evaluate costs of construction, O&M and potential financing options.

  • Educational and Behavioral Aspects of Water and Sanitation
    IRES participants will engage secondary teachers and pupils in Ghana in authentic science research and community based participatory research to determine the need, testing prototypes, and developing methods to train community members in the use of the water and sanitation technologies. In addition, they will help the Ghanaian teachers and pupils learn how to engage in science practices and community education.