Oct 27, 2016

Portable Bleach Maker Helps Fight Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

WaterStep donates product in wake of recent Hurricane

haiti, hurricane, cholera, bleach maker, chlorine, disinfection, water, safety

In response to the Category 4 Hurricane Matthew that hit Haiti in October, Louisville, Ky.-based nonprofit WaterStep shipped portable bleach makers to its in-country Haitian partners to be used in hospitals and medical clinics treating displaced refugees in the area of Jeremie.

The widespread flooding caused by the storm has triggered a massive cholera outbreak in Haiti. Using water, salt and a 12-V car battery, WaterStep’s bleach maker uses electrolysis to create sodium hypochlorite, more commonly known as chlorine bleach. The device already has been field-tested in countries around the world, including Kenya, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Uganda and Ecuador.

"We all know safe water and health go hand in hand," said Mark Hogg, founder and CEO of WaterStep. "Our experienced and creative design team listened to these needs from the field to create an inexpensive device that makes effective disinfectant on demand—something that will empower health clinics, schools, orphanages and private homes so they can fight dangerous germs and disease. After years in the making and many months of testing, we're ready to share and celebrate this impactful product."

The need for a simple and portable bleach maker became increasingly apparent when WaterStep received a request from organization Project Hope during the Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2014. The concept was further developed at Hack2o 2014, a hack-a-thon hosted by WaterStep and FirstBuild to create solutions to the world water crisis. WaterStep volunteers Frank Diebold, David Mekus and Joe Jacobi led a group from the University of Louisville, Louisville Water Co. and GE's First Build Innovation Center, who worked together to develop a disinfectant tool. WaterStep's portable water chlorinator and portable bleach maker provide a sustainable, long-term source of safe water and sanitization at a low cost.

Since 2007, nearly 100 of the M-100 water chlorinators have been installed in Haiti. The M-100, which was developed by WaterStep with the help of volunteer engineers from GE and the Louisville Water Co., is a water chlorinator small enough to fit in a backpack, yet powerful enough to provide safe water for thousands of people each day. It currently is deployed in more than 30 countries around the world.

WaterStep has been working to provide safe water and health education to communities in Haiti since 2007. To support WaterStep's work in disaster situations like Haiti, visit www.waterstep.org or call 502.568.6342