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What’s a WAPI?

  Water Pasteurization Indicators (WAPIs) are a very simple devices for showing when water has been heated adequately to make it safe to drink. Traditionally families have been told to boil their water to make it safe, mostly because it is a visible endpoint. This sometimes requires a large amount of cooking fuel and time. In many parts of the world obtaining fuel or firewood is expensive and time consuming,

Portable Microbiology Laboratory Provided to Workshop Participants

Everything necessary to accurately and safely test drinking water for bacterial contamination can be packaged in a large ziplock bag.  These materials, called a “laboratory in a bag” by its developer  Dr. Robert Metcalf are a modern adaptation of standard microbiology procedures but are much simpler to perform. Worldwide, health organizations recommend testing for e. coli bacteria in water as an indicator of contamination.  The contents of the “PML” include


In many parts of the world families must cook over open fires. Often used in areas with poor ventilation, these smoky “three rock fires” cause asthma, eye problems and sometimes terrible burns. Women and children especially spend hours each day gathering firewood for these fires, and many areas of the world now face significant deforestation because of over harvesting of the forests. In recent years designs for simple stoves have

Simple Water Testing Procedures

Finding E. coli bacteria in water is an indication of fecal contamination. E. coli are always present in large numbers in feces and live a long time outside the body. Rather than testing for all possible organisms, testing for E. Coli will tell if the water is safe to drink. The World Health Organization recommends testing for this organism as the method of choice for detecting fecal contamination of water.


SODIS stands for Solar Disinfection. It’s a simple method of making safe drinking water by using the UV radiation of the sun. UV light penetrates through clear plastic or glass bottles and kills pathogenic bacteria and organisms by damaging their protein structures. Usually 6 or 8 hours of direct sunlight on a clear day is adequate to kill most pathogens. UV radiation is stronger in southern latitudes and at higher