Photo of Juan Carlos  Guaqueta

Biotechnology & medicine

Juan Carlos Guaqueta

Water purification system to treat worm infested sewage for use in irrigation and fertilization

Year Honored

Latin America

Hails From

"About 85% of the sewage water in Colombia is emptied into rivers and other sources of ground water with no prior treatment to eliminate residues. This leads to contamination of the natural water sources and limits access to drinkable water. To address this situation, Juan Carlos Guáqueta founded AcuaCare, a company dedicated to recycling sewage water which is later used to irrigate fields while at the same time producing a compost that serves as fertilizer.

The purification mechanism consists of three steps. The contaminated fluids are filtered to remove large solids and then stored in a tank. Later these fluids are sprinkled over a pool filled with an organic, porous material, worms and sawdust, all of which absorb the contaminants, allowing only the clean water to filter through. The remaining fluids is channeled off to a third container where it is reused as fertilizer.

At AcuaCare 600 liters of fluid per square meter of filter are processed daily, and over the course of a year this process generates 160 kilos of fertilizer made up of worms and microorganisms."