Inadequate access to clean water is an ongoing problem in many developing areas of the world. In developed nations, it is important to plan for access to clean water following natural disasters. In situations without reliable access to electricity and chemical treatment methods, there is a need for an inexpensive water treatment solution that can be used in a wide range of environmental conditions. The Puralytics SolarBag aims to meet these needs by providing a product that can purify water through the use of solar activated nanotechnology. The SolarBag contains a titanium dioxide nanoparticle laced mesh that reacts under sunlight to help inactivate potential microbial contaminants. This work aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the SolarBag and a new prototype, the SolarBag Plus, to treat 3L of surface water in 3 hours of exposure to sunlight. Tests were conducted using two synthetic test waters, a general test water and a challenge test water, which contained higher levels of salts, humic acids, and higher turbidity. To evaluate inactivation of microbial contaminants, synthetic test waters included representative bacteria (Escherichia coli), viruses (bacteriophages MS2 and ΦΧ174) and protozoa (Cryptosporidium parvum). This work additionally aimed to characterize the contributions of various photochemical and thermal processes to the overall treatment of the water. The results from this study indicate that E. coli is primarily inactivated by UV photoinactivation and suggest that inactivation is greatly increased at temperatures above 45˚C. Bacteriophage MS2 appears resistant to treatment by solar irradiation, but shows consistent removal under different environmental conditions. It is hypothesized that this removal is the result of the synergistic treatment by heat and light or a physical removal process like adsorption. Bacteriophage ΦΧ174 is inactivated by a combination of UV light and heat. Finally, C. parvum removal was generally low in the SolarBag under all conditions. Physical removal by filtration contributed to the greatest removal of oocysts in the treatment process, though improvement in inactivation was noted with higher UV intensity. The addition of ClO2 to the water treatment process removed all detectable microorganisms within 2 hours. Some data suggests that the use of ClO2 enhances the activity TiO2, but it was determined that chemical disinfection was the predominant mechanisms of disinfection when present.
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