Determination of the Filter Potential of Luffa Sponge (luffa aegyptiaca) in Water Quality Analysis
Adie D.B, Igboro S.B, Daouda N,  Eladere E

Abstract
Surface water is unprotected and exposed to the vagaries of weather and environmental pollution and therefore, the possibility of contamination. The main target of water treatment is the removal of chemical and bacteriological contamination and inactivation of disease causing organisms. A filter model with luffa sponge as filter media was tested for its effectiveness in the purification of water. The experimental work was conducted on selected luffa sponge in a plate form inserted in a Perspex plastic filter model that has been designed for this purpose. The filter medium (luffa sponge) was placed in the four separated chambers starting from the more porous to the least one in the direction of flow. The system was operated in series. Each compartment was separated by a cascade and the sponges were held in place to avoid the deformation of the filter media. The filter bed was provided with an under drain system for flushing after a certain running time. It was observed that luffa sponge has high hydraulic efficiency and that the horizontal filter is more efficient than the vertical filter. However, it only has a moderate TSS removal capacity due to its high porosity value. It was calculated that the filter media performance efficiency was 18.15% for turbidity removal, 48.33% for TSS, 10% for hardness, 0% for alkalinity, 16% for chloride, 16.66% for ammonia nitrogen and 80% for bacterial removal. The study showed that the luffa aegyptiaca (cylindrica) sponge possesses a great potential for heavy metals removal in water as well as hardness and microbiological reductions. Because of these advantages and the fact that it performed poorly in the reduction of parameters of importance in potable water quality, it is concluded that the luffa sponge filter media can be considered as a preliminary wastewater roughing filter, but cannot adequately be used as a filter media for potable water supply. However, the size of the sponge limits the filter size and its fibrous nature offers high degree of porosity

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