wasteland rainwater filter drinking water water quality testing chemistry legislation


Drinking rain water?


Through the development of the water point, our aims moved from creating just a meeting place, to test how far we could go in purifying urban water or even making it fit for human consumption. We started investigating drinking water standards (according to EU, WHO, ISO guidelines), probes, filter systems and measuring devices and forged alliances with chemist and DIY water-engineers.

The aim was to develop a filter system that would purify pu­blicly accessible water in cities in a way that is as natural as possible, without chemicals, expensive technology or large investments. The “experts” laughed immediately at the idea that every puddle, soap water, fountain and sewage water could be filtered into drinking quality. Our reverie, however, stirred the imagination and led to rather more achievable plans concentrating solely on rainwater.

With the help of engineer Damien Smets and chemist Antoine Pacco a first prototype filter column was made with sand, active carbon and a UV lamp, but these proved no match for the germs in water. Still it remained the ProperWater­Pavilion’s stated aim to de-technologize and de-mystify the purification of water. The quest for filters was continued in doors during the autumn and winter of 2012.

After a long distance search for kitchen sink solutions for the filtration of water involving mussels, fungi, ceramics, plants, reverse osmosis, micro- and ultra filtration (See Filters, p.94); after many debates with experts and dilettantes convinced about one method over the other; after profound analysis of the technical limits of the water ProperWaterPavilion (because we want the filter system to be mobile and compact, to work with varying flows, and to purify up to drinking quality on request), we decided to go for a combination of micro- and ultra-filtration with active carbon.

Finally, in February 2013 we were able to drink rain water!

Even without added chemicals, expensive technology of large investments, specialised laboratory Brulabo was able to label the purified rainwater fit for human consumption. Great joy!



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