Tired of Drinking Dirty Well Water, Kerala Man Built No-Electricity Filter to Purify it

water filter innovation by stanley jacob

Kerala resident Stanley Jacob built a water filter that purifies dirty water without electricity for both commercial as well as industrial use. He explains how the innovation works.

“If a major war were to happen in the world in the next 50 years, it would be for clean water and air,” says Stanley Jacob, a resident of Kothad, Ernakulam. 

In a region that was an island until a few years ago, Stanley and his family had a tough time ensuring they could access safe drinking water. His house is in an area surrounded by contaminated water from the river Periyar, and thus, all the wells in his locality have the same dirty water, which is unsafe for drinking without filtration, he says. 

“We used to boil water and wait till the dirt settled down to drink it. Clean water was never available for bathing, or washing clothes or utensils,” recalls Stanley, who is an employee at a fertiliser company.  

“I’ve always been interested in innovating small devices to solve daily issues, so I researched about building a water filter that could process dirty water at large and then pump it to the common tank, from where water can later be used for household purposes,” he adds. 

In 2002, after conversing with professionals in the field and through personal research, Stanley came up with a water purification technology that harnesses the power of gravitational force and does not involve any chemicals to provide clean water. 

“I set up a model in my house that works efficiently even today. Initially, some of my friends and neighbours enquired about the setup and asked if they could get one too. I installed a few at these houses and four years later, after ensuring all the systems were working properly, I decided to launch a water treatment company in 2006,” says the founder of Dubhe Richus, a company that now sells three different treatment plants for water, sewage and effluent.

Anything except salty water can be purified using the device, says Stanley.

Water filter innovation by Stanley Jacob - Dubhe Richus.
The water filter system after installation.

The highlight is that it requires no electricity or battery to run. The only expenses here are the device and its installation charges, which start from Rs 25,000.“ We provide a warranty of five years. Even after that period, maintenance won’t be required on a regular basis if the device is cleaned properly from time to time,” he says.

How does it work?

The filtration takes place using different types of natural stones, which are processed in a crusher. The type and quantity of these particles differ based on the quality of the water. “The particles have the power to remove up to a certain limit of bacteria as well,” says Stanley.

The purification process removes undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids, and gases from water. “It also reduces the concentration of particulate matter including suspended particles, parasites, bacteria, algae, viruses, and fungi, as well as the concentration of a range of dissolved and particulate matter. The methods used include physical processes such as filtration, sedimentation, and distillation, as well as biological processes such as slow sand filters or biologically active carbon,” he explains.

A customer of Dubhe Richus showing the difference between well water and filtered water.
A customer of Dubhe Richus showing the difference between well water and filtered water.

“Slow sand filters use a biological process to purify raw water to produce potable water. They work by using a complex biological film that grows naturally on the surface of the sand. This biofilm, called the hypogeal layer or schmutzdecke, is located in the upper few millimetres of the sand layer. The surface biofilm purifies the water as it flows through the layer, and the underlying sand provides a support medium for the biological treatment layer,” he adds.

The fully integrated and standardised system can be customised as per the requirements and specifications of the customers. The company is backed by a team of professionals who specialise in the field of biotechnology, chemical engineering wastewater designs and advanced engineering solutions. Waste treatment management services are available for household as well as industrial purposes.

Manu K, a native of Ernakulam says, “The water in my home well was too dirty as there is a polluted river nearby. I thought of digging a new well but realised it won’t solve the problem. It was through Facebook that I came to know about this company and their water filters. It works really well and provides fresh water all through the year, without using electricity. The only expense I incurred was the installation charges. Maintenance charges are also low if it is cleaned well.”

He adds that even when the ground floor of his house was drowned during the 2018 floods, the system worked fine after that as no electricity was involved. “We haven’t used the corporation’s water after installing the system,” he adds. 

All the devices developed by Dubhe Richus are patented and sold via their website.

Stanley Jacob in his office in Kalamassery.
Stanley Jacob in his office in Kalamassery.

The devices are classified into mini, medium, standard and commercial. They have sold over 500 devices across the country and are into more commercial-level innovations now, Stanley says. 

“People fear that filtered water cannot be used directly for drinking or cooking. This is purely based on the level of contamination of water, which we calculate before the installation of the device. But in most cases, especially when the wells are located near rivers, the filter provides safe drinking water. In other cases, we suggest boiling or drinking water filtration before using it,” he notes.

The ‘mini’ category is suitable for single-storeyed buildings of up to 1,200 sq ft, and water will be available in four taps at a time without a drop in pressure. ‘Medium’ can be installed in a single-storeyed building of up to 1600 sq ft. While ‘standard’ is suitable for buildings up to 2,500 sq ft and can provide water in five taps at a time, ‘commercial’ ensures unlimited water flow to collection tanks.

“I am happy that the devices are helping people use safe water without the fear of getting diseases. There have been days when my family and I waited hours to get clean water from the corporation’s pipe. We were scared to even drink the well water after boiling it. Even though everyone has the right to clean drinking water, it is not assured nowadays. I hope at least a few people can benefit from my innovation,” says Stanley.

Contact the company here.

Edited by Divya Sethu; Photo credits: Website of Dubhe Richus

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