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Tribal College Develops Zeolite Water Filter

NSF Award:

Northern Cheyenne Connected Learning Network  (Chief Dull Knife Memorial College)

Congressional Districts:
Research Areas:

In collaboration with the University of Montana (UMT), professor Jim Gannon, Chief Dull Knife College (CDKC) researcher, and instructor Bob Madsen initiated the CDKC Zeolite Water Filter project in 2007. The team was particularly interested in developing low-cost filters for use in developing countries. Initial tests showed that Zeolite alone would filter out approximately 60 percent of the bacteria in test water containing 1,000,000 bacteria per milliliter.

After initial testing, a second generation of filters, developed using various combinations of Zeolite and cement, filtered out 99.999 percent of the bacteria. A group of students at CDKC was able to improve filtration speed from 2 to 5 milliliters per hour to 15 milliliters per minute, making the filters even more practical. The resulting filters exceeded international filtering standards, and in some cases, were even superior to expensive commercially manufactured models.

To date, many other CDKC-developed filters have met international filtering standards with acceptable flow rates. CDKC hopes to develop filters that can be manufactured and used nationally and internationally to improve drinking water.


  • Image of a water filtration device
A water filtration device
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