MSR SE200 Community Chlorine Maker

Increasing access to safe water at a community level

Countries with established infrastructure deliver safe water directly into homes via large-scale water systems, however, in developing nations water often comes from unsafe and inconvenient sources.

Water collection at a community well.

Community members use the SE200 to treat borehole water. Photo: PATH.

More than 880 million people worldwide get their drinking water from unimproved sources including lakes, rivers, dams, springs, and unprotected dug wells. Those who have access to safe sources often find their water recontaminated during transport, storage, and handling.

Community water treatment systems are an effective and efficient way to:

  • Provide safe water to the very poor at an affordable price.
  • Take the burden of water treatment off the individual.
  • Allow communities to take ownership of their drinking water, ensuring its safety.
  • Create income opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

Innovative technology for community water treatment

The Smart Electrochlorinator 200.

About the size of a soda can, the SE200 creates a chlorine solution from salt and water. Photo: PATH.

In collaboration with MSR Global Health, PATH has developed a portable, battery-powered, easy-to-use device that creates a concentrated chlorine solution using salt, water, and a power source (in this case, 12-volt DC battery).

In 2008, with funding from the Laird Norton Family Foundation, PATH and MSR—a Seattle-based company with extensive experience and expertise in assessment of water treatment technologies, research and development, design, and manufacturing—selected a patented electrochlorination technology from the MIOX Corporation. The underlying technology has been commonly used in the outdoor/backpacking market.

Initial prototype

PATH and MSR built an early prototype that ran off the power of a car battery and included a single push button to operate the device, a run light indicating the device is working, and two warning lights indicating that the salt or battery power is low. The device had a 90-second run time and created a chlorine solution that could treat 20 liters of water which is a common size for water collection vessels in East Africa where initial field tests were conducted. Field tests revealed opportunity for design improvements, including the suggestion to increase the device’s capacity; users wanted to be able to treat larger batches of water per cycle.

Prototype electrochlorinator.

Prototype of an early iteration. Photo: PATH.

MSR SE200 Community Chlorine Maker

Armed with feedback about the technology and additional funding from the Lemelson Foundation, PATH and MSR undertook a redesign and conducted a second round of field trials throughout Africa and Asia. The SE200 is now packaged as part of a kit, which includes an instruction manual connections for that battery, a mixing bottle, a 5-ml teaspoon, and a measuring cup. Test strips are also available to test for accurate levels of chlorine in the treated water.

User feedback during multiple field studies informed the design and development of the SE200 kit. A little larger than a soda can, the SE200 operates using a single push button. Two white lights indicate the device is working and reinforce with users and observers the creation of the chlorine solution. A purple light indicates whether or not enough salt is in the solution, and a red light indicates whether the battery needs to be charged. A seven-minute run cycle produces enough chlorine to treat up to 200 liters or 55 gallons of water.

The SE200 also has the flexibility to allow a user to easily measure smaller doses to accommodate a variety of water container sizes. The smart circuitry in the device measures changes in water chemistry to deliver consistent concentrations of chlorine for accurate dosing without complex monitoring or calculations. The device and its components are portable and easy to set up at most water sources including water trucks, boreholes, and dug wells. Since chlorine is available on demand, there is no need to store or transport the chemical and no risk of chemical degradation over time.

In May 2015, PATH and MSR—both headquartered in Seattle, WA—launched the SE200 Community Chlorine Maker, and the product is now available for purchase.

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