Brooklyn company creates filter to bring clean water worldwide

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Each time we turn on a faucet, we take it for granted. But around the world 1 billion people don't have access to safe water.

"One of the biggest causes of malnutrition is kids drinking dirty water, that leads to diarrhea, that leads to death," Natalie Relich said.

Relich is the executive director of Ohorizons, a non-profit that uses low-tech, high-thinking ideas to fight world hunger.

"It's hard to come up with something that's super simple that can be made off grid that anyone can understand," Relich said.  "So it takes just as much creativity to do that as it does to make the next hot app or whatever."

The company designed a wood mold that can be cut from a single piece of plywood and used to make up to 50 biosand filters.

Concrete is poured into the mold, then filled with sand, gravel, and water once it drys.

With gravity and natural biology, it removes 98 percent of the bacteria from the water.

"If I had someone go to Home Depot right now, it would probably cost $60 to $70."

Much less than traditional steel molds which typically cost more than $1,000 and require a welder to build.

Right now the wood molds are being used in Bangladesh to build 1,000 concrete filters.

Enough to provide clean water for up to 5,000 people for more than 25 years.

"The onus is on that particular family to upkeep that particular filter versus one person being in charge of a filter for 300 people or something," said Relich.

The design is completely open source, and the company posts how-to videos on their website and YouTube to show people how to build the mold properly.  Right now they're completely funded through donations and are hoping others will support their cause.

"It's a pretty basic thing, you can't live without clean water and worldwide it's a really really big problem."

But thanks to their molds and your help, maybe not for too much longer.

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