Rhodes creates cheap water testing kit

07 February 2013 - 09:10 By Times LIVE
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Hydrogen Sulphide strip testing may be an inexpensive and accurate way for local authorities and consumers to gauge water quality.

According to a report in the Dispatch Online a test kit made from basic school science laboratory chemicals and everyday household items could help improve South African tap water quality.

The kits were modified by doctoral student Catherine Luyt, who also piloted student tests in Grahamstown. Apparently the tests can be used by most people, and require only minimum training and a basic education.

The test is also very cheap to produce, only costing Rhodes University’s pharmacy department R5 to make.

Tap water is poured into a bottle containing the test cocktail, which turns black within three days if it contains bacteria.

The test won't say which specific bacteria are in the water, and a positive test would need to be followed up by an accredited bacteria, but the test could enable local authorities to test tap water in problem areas to pinpoint supply line breaks and gauge how widespread the contamination is.

Conducted by homeowners, they also mean local authorities do not need to employ loads of highly trained staff to try and identify problem areas that need to be sorted out.

You can read the full story on the Dispatch Online.