Technology test: Membrane Filtration

The membrane filtration unit brought for testing and possible use in Afghanistan is SkyJuice. The is membrane filters Packed together in a compact unit for quick mobilization and use for emergency purposes and smaller applications.

The unit is produced in Australia by SkyJuice, an NGO focusing on support to developing countries and emergency relief.

Why testing here: Can the filter remove turbidity, particulates and bacteria and can each unit produce up to 1000 liters per hour with 2-4 meter pressure? Cleaning and backwashing is manual, no energy needed nor spare parts except chlorine for monthly media cleaning. How does this work.

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Technology testing as described in Project brochure: on symbol for enlarged picture


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Membrane Filter Test Rig at MRRD.

The Skyjuice unit can be used alone as shown here or grouped together i parallel units. The unit is about 1.5 meter tall and easy to lift and move.

The feeder tank needs to be placed to provide a head of between 0.5 to 4 meters. The lower the head the lower the flow.

The frame was designed and constructed in Kabul and tanks provided locally

Test purpose:

  • To check flows and rate of clogging.
  • to check if the unit really could remove bacteria
  • to learn how to operate and how to apply for Afghan situations
  • to prepare expertise to MRRD and the drinking water sector.
Photo above: Eng. Aprar about to assemble the units for testing

Water source for testing membrane filter: Rivers near Kabul
Collecting river water for testing at MRRD, from the same river where women and children collects their drinking water. The tanker brings the water from Char as Yah river near Kabul. Yasir is stretching out for a water sample of the raw water.

Possible application for membrane filtration

River and irrigation canal waters:

Water has also been sampled from Lalandar river. Here is both a river running in the bottom of the valley but on the left, an irrigation canal is leading water further afield for cultivation.

Both river water and water from irrigation canals are often used for drinking where available, but hardly safe!

Treatment is in progress
Tanker arrive at MRRD with the raw water

Eng Abrar is asking Cecilie Kolstad and Yasir about the results. Things are looking good.

Tests generate interests
Visitors are getting curious and looking at the results Cecilie and Yasir are checking water flow by collecting one minute water flow and measuring rates.
Technical data Raw water in the middle and treated water to the right. Just great! and impressive
Bacteriological tests: Good results confirmed.


The water was tested for ecoli and to total coliform. Wattech kits are used, incubating the samples at 37 and 44 degrees respectively.Dr. Zabiullah is doing the tests in the RuWatSIP water testing lab at MRRD A confirmative test only showing positive or negative results of the presence of ecoli. To the left, treatet water, no contamination. To the right, raw water clearly contaminated with ecoli. (Merck method)
Membrane filtration tests. Raw water ( let) heavily contaminated with many colonies visible in a 100ml sample. To the right, treated/ filtered water sample with no colonies.

In this sample the photos clearly shows the colonies identified in the raw water sample. This water is unsafe to drink!

Checking data and results
Prof Eqrar and Eng. Safi discussing treatment results with Cecilie Kolstad, turbidity reduction and flows. Prof Zarinkhail tasting the water. The MRRD lab has tested the water and in raw water there were " "uncountable" ecoli but in the treated water the results showed NIL ecoli. Perfect!. This was confirmed but a confermative ( non.menbrane bacteriological test)
Information and data
A table for information Backwashing. ( should be done once per day). Manual operation. Water looks dirty showing all turbidity removed. It seems like only 20-30 liters are needed for backwashing with water from the header tank.
Project news flash
The treated water just looks better! Visitors from NCA inspecting the Sky Juice filtration unit. Eng.Naqibullah Abrar, Camilla Kolstad (researcher), next Patrig Maccarthy, Bendecte Hafskold and Liv Steinmoeggen ( last three from NCA)