Session 3.75

Monday, October 15, 2012
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Carr Center Conference Room (R-219)


Watch this Event on Video!


Susan Murcott, Senior Lecturer, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at MIT

Title: Lessons in Safe Drinking Water from Northern Ghana: Assessing Seven Years of Work in Household-Scale Ceramic Water Filters

About the talk:

Susan Murcott will provide an overview of lessons from the 7-year implementation of household ceramic water filters in Northern Ghana with Pure Home Water.

Pure Home Water is a non-profit organization that produces and distributes low-cost ceramic water filters to the most remote areas of Ghana where the infant mortality rate can be 25 times that of the United States (155 infant deaths/1000 live births in N. Ghana). Pure Home Water has distributed filters to 100,000 households to date, but, with 2 billion people worldwide lacking safe drinking water, the goal is far more ambitious. In the past 7 years, over 100 MIT engineering, planning, policy and business students have done field research in Ghana, assisting Pure Home Water to improve product reliability, reduce production costs, monitor progress, become financially sustainable and scale up.

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Susan Murcott is a Senior Lecturer in the MIT Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is an expert water and sanitation infrastructure systems in developing countries with a focus on the bottom billion(s) lacking safe water and basic sanitation.

Susan Murcott’s research is on water and sanitation in developing countries, including the treatment and safe storage of household drinking water. Murcott's field of endeavor is water and wastewater treatment technologies in developing countries. During the 1990s, her research and professional consulting practice focused on innovations in wastewater treatment for megacities in Mexico, Brazil, Eastern Europe and China. Since 1998, she has led multi-disciplinary teams in developing country field projects through the MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering, Masters of Engineering Program. She is a leader in the emerging field of household water treatment and safe storage. These are technologies designed explicitly for those who lack a piped water supply and/or as an additional barrier of protection to those who have “improved” water from piped supplies, boreholes, rainwater harvesting, protected wells or springs. She has led projects in Nepal, Haiti, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Peru, Kenya, Ghana, Bangladesh and Cambodia. These initiatives are part of her larger effort “Safe Water for 1 Billion People” to train MIT students as water professionals and global citizens and to concurrently assist in bringing safe drinking water and sanitation to the developing world.

Murcott and her student teams have won many competitions and awards, including the Kyoto Water Prize - Top Ten Finalist (2006), St. Andrews Prize for the Environment - 2nd Prize (2006), the Wall Street Journal - Technology Innovation Award - Environment (2005) and a World Bank Development Marketplace Prize (2003). She received the CEE Award for Outstanding Service to the MIT Master of Engineering Program (2003).

At MIT, Murcott teaches “Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in Developing Countries” (11.479J / 1.851J) and “D-Lab III: Disseminating Innovations for the Common Good.” (SP723). At Cambridge University, she has co-taught “Sustainable Development for Large Infrastructure Projects” and “Design for Developing Countries.” She is the author of over 50 professional papers.