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OU's WaTER Center turns pond water into drinking water

Members of the University of Oklahoma's WaTER Center hosted a demonstration Thursday to treat a campus pond with water purification packets. They also asked passers-by to try the pond water.
by Silas Allen Modified: September 20, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: September 19, 2013

The WaTER Center — an acronym for Water Technologies for Emerging Regions — is a relatively new OU program that trains students to go to work in developing regions after they graduate. The center is a part of the university's School of Engineering and Environmental Science.

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.