Solar disinfection (SODIS) could be a key to providing a clean, hygiene water for birthing uses, but the recommended climate zone is limited, the microbial indicators are related to gastrointestinal illness and not wound infections. SODIS feasibility was investigated to remove Escherichia coli from turbid water at temperatures less than 50 °C in Lexington, KY. Increasing turbidity from 0 to 200 NTU decreased E. coli inactivation from 5 to 1 log. With the same experimental protocol, more than 4-log inactivation of Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis (common human-skin microorganisms related to serious post-partum infections of both mother and child) was achieved at different turbidity levels with a maximum, in-bottle temperature of 49.2 °C after 5.5 h. The thermal inactivation of the bacterial indicators was assessed without UV radiation and turbidity in water at 37 and 47 °C. Skin bacteria were inactivated completely after 9.5 h at 47 °C, but only 58% removal happened for thermo-tolerant E. coli. These results suggest that SODIS application may be expanded geographically to treat water for hygiene purposes. However, as E. coli is also capable of causing wound infections, UV with thermal inactivation may be required to produce safe hygiene water by SODIS outside of recommended latitudes.

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Published in Journal of Water and Health, v. 19, no. 4.

© 2021 The Authors

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY 4.0), which permits copying, adaptation and redistribution, provided the original work is properly cited (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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