Dr. Chicgoua NOUBACTEP

Research Interests


  • Contaminant mobility in the environment
  • Geochemistry of iron, manganese and uranium
  • Mechanism of contaminant removal by elemental iron (Fe0)
  • Long-term reactivity of reactive material for environmental remediation
  • Decentralized safe drinking water provision
  • Design of Fe0/sand filters



Teaching - Lectures


  • Hydrogeochemistry
  • Decentralized Safe Drinking Water Supply



Philosophy of decentralized safe drinking water production

The main goal of teaching decentralized safe drinking water provision (e.g. this course) is to empower interested students to contribute to a paradigm shift in supplying very small (up to 500 inhabitants) and small (< 3000 inhabitants) with safe drinking water. No community with up to 3000 inhabitants should be supplied by piped water from a distant (larger) agglomeration (e.g. city). Moreover, the suitability of supplying large agglomerations by several small decentralized water production plants should be examined.

A specific goal of this course is to demonstrate, that for a reasonable scale, water treatment development and governance of safe drinking water can be technically and administratively devolved to the small community (e.g. village level). All what is required is an efficient, reliable and affordable technology, which is ideally chemistry free and easy to operate! The reality for developing countries is still that, virtually no affordable treatment technologies apart from disinfection (e.g. SODIS) are available. However, the best disinfection technology can not address chemical contamination as disinfection is designed to provoke a die-off of micro-organisms.

Another specific goal of this course is to give a survey of technologies applicable for decentralized safe drinking water provision and discuss their universal application. Some technologies need electric energy to operate (e.g. reverse omosis), some others are only efficient for some classes of contaminants (e.g. activated carbon for organics), some use materials that may be efficient but are not universally available (e.g. zeolithes).

As a rule the quality of available waters (raw waters) is rarely analytically determined in the developing world. In other words, the water quality is not known but after treatment the product should be safe for drinking purposes. Accordingly, suitable available technologies are the ones addressing all types of contaminants: biological, chemical and physical (e.g. color). At first glance, only membrane technologies fulfil these requirements but they are not yet cost-efficient and do work with electricity. Alternatives are still seek.

The last specific goal of this course is to present metallic iron filters (Fe0 filters) as an efficient, affordable and universal safe water provision technology at small scale level. The properties of Fe0 rendering it a universal treatment media for water filtration will be discussed, together with design approaches and the suitability for the developing world.