Evaluation of point of use reverse osmosis systems for drinking water in colonias

Oscar Daniel Ramirez Giron, University of Texas at El Paso


Clean drinking water is often considered a right and not a privilege, especially in first world countries. However, thousands of residents of colonias (settlements in the U.S. that lack access to basic infrastructure) struggle to obtain clean drinking water, including some in the Paso del Norte Region. Residents of colonias located in Doña Ana County, NM, and El Paso County, TX typically rely on domestic wells and hauled water, respectively, but these sources may be of inadequate quality, potentially posing a health risk due to microbiological contamination, presence of arsenic, or elevated concentration of total dissolved solids. This project brings a solution for the current situation in colonias, with the implementation of a point-of-use (POU) reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment system. The main goal of this project was to present a practical and economically viable solution to the poor quality water through a treatment system. Two different brands of RO systems were tested in the laboratory to assure a good performance. Community health associations were contacted to work together finding willing participants. Water samples were collected and analyzed for various drinking water quality parameters. Installations took place in five different colonias, with 20 families benefiting as of December 1st, 2016. A quality comparison between the tap water and the permeate water from the RO systems was performed, confirming drinking water quality. The filters showed a great performance in both the laboratory and the deployment analysis. Overall, the RO systems proved to be a technically and economically viable solution for the drinking water problem that colonias residents have to confront.

Subject Area

Environmental engineering

Recommended Citation

Ramirez Giron, Oscar Daniel, "Evaluation of point of use reverse osmosis systems for drinking water in colonias" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10251655.