Zap Chamber Description


Photographs courtesy of RDI


A simple low-cost UV Zap Chamber made from PVC pipe and locally available components allows treatment of large quantities of water at an extremely low cost.

This is a very effective method of purifying water in public dispensation areas or for an urban home. Anywhere AC or DC current is available (and a basic understanding of how dirty water must be treated) this system can be effectively employed.

Resource Development International


Amount of Water Treated
Low pressure mercy arc UV lamp can treat 1 or more liters per minute.

Contaminant Removal
UV lamps have been shown to kill 99.9 percent of vegetative bacteria, enteric viruses, and bacterial spores. Removal rates for UV lamps are lowered by the presence of organic matter, iron, sulfites, nitrites, and turbidity because these particles absorb UV radiation and shield microbes from being hit with UV rays. UV radiation does not treat chemical contamination or turbidity.

Ease of Use
UV lamp need to be cleaned regularly and handled with care because of their mercury content.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Can purify about 100 gallons per hour
  • Removes all germs and bacteria from water.
  • Works on AC current or even a car battery
  • Very cost efficient.
  • Field tests have shown that some rural people fail to operate the system properly despite its relatively simple method of use.
  • Power failure renders this filter useless.
  • Requires a "solids" filter at some point before water goes through the inlet.
Ideal Situation
Communities with solar or grid electricity and financial ability to cover most of initial costs.


For approximately $20 US dollars a UV "zap chamber" can be constructed entirely out of materials that are readily available.


References & Links

Contact Information

Mickey Sampson, Director
Resource Development International
Phnom Penh, Cambodia