The technique the students demonstrated Thursday is a good option in an emergency situation, where people need clean water immediately and don't have another way of treating it. In an actual emergency, the water would be poured through a makeshift filter like a towel or a piece of clothing to filter out the sediment, she said.
Water filtration packets aren't always the best option in a developing region with water security issues, said Jim Chamberlain, the center's staff researcher. For the packets to work correctly, the water must be stirred for at least five minutes, he said. If a person doesn't know to stir it for long enough, the water could still be contaminated.