Journal of Undergraduate Research


microbes, metals, purifying water, Lake Titicaca


Physical and Mathematical Sciences


Geological Sciences


Pollution of Lake Titicaca has become a major threat to the health and lifestyle of the Uru people who use the lake water for their daily needs. Cities along the coast dump untreated sewage directly into the lake introducing dangerous microbial levels of Escherichia coli. Runoff from nearby mines increases the risk of toxic levels of lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals. Previous members of the ongoing Global Engineering Outreach (GEO) program identified biosand filtration as a viable option for mitigating these risks. As such, they implemented single stage biosand filters in the community, but they were never able to assess their effectiveness. We analyzed the current filtration method, identified metrics for improvement, and modified the filter design to better meet current health standards.