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September 17, 2018: Rod McCarroll, All Natural BioSand Water Filter     Friends Who Care International on Facebook

Rod McCarroll is an Albertan, born and raised, a graduate of the University of Calgary, and married to Ingrid for 52 years. They have two children and three granddaughters.

After ending his career in real estate successfully, he and his wife decided to travel. They have been to over 50 countries. In 2001, they created Friends Who Care International, a non-profit Canadian-registered charity with the mission to find a need and fill it. They focused on clean, healthy water in third world countries. They took one of the first courses in 2000 on Biosand Water Filters offered by CAWST (Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology). To date, they have introduced biosand water filters to India, Mexico, Nicaragua, Kenya and recently Bolivia. Rod says he is REFIRED - not retired!

Rod had a great PowerPoint presentation, which I have and would be happy to share with you if you request. In summary, here are some significant facts that elevate the need for clean, safe water.

  • 1.8 billion people are drinking contaminated water, and every day more than 30,000 people die because of contaminated water.
  • Gastrointestinal sickness accounts for thousands of hours of lost school and work-place time, negatively affecting lifestyle and the economy.

Rod and his wife, Ingrid, have introduced biosand water filters to third world communities. The ongoing leadership, labour and all materials originate from the subject country. Nothing is imported. They perform a technology and information transfer to the local organization and work with them until they take ownership. The project is fully owned by the local organization. They identify and solve their own water issues.

The biosand water filter is made from concrete, so it is heavy and not easily relocated. I have attached a picture below of what components make up the biosand filter. It is completely natural. Water is poured into the top of the filter. The diffusion plate slows the force of the water. The water then travels slowly into the biological layer at the top of the sand. Water continues slowly through the sand bed. After passing through both levels of gravel, the water is propelled up by the forces of gravity and out. There are no moving parts. The result is 99.5% pure water! A teaspoon of chlorine for each 20 litres can be added.

CAWST has distributed 750,000 biosand water filters in more than 164 countries, impacting 14,900,000 people with clean water and sanitation! They also teach hygiene, and educate children and families. 99% of their teaching aids are pictures because of low-literacy rates. They appeal mostly to the women who want to relieve their families of disease and have healthy children. They also deliver wheelchairs when they travel to areas to teach.

Rod invited all of us to the CAWST Annual General Meeting, Thursday, September 20, 5 - 7:30pm at B2, 6020 2 Street SE, Calgary. Go to for more information.

In response to questions, Rod stated that the cost of materials is about $15, labour $15 and set-up and follow-up is $15. Cement is available everywhere he has operated. His charity, Friends Who Care International, is Rod and Ingrid McCarroll's non-profit organization. The biosand filter produces eight litres of water per minute. The largest install they have done is five units in a church. If it gets plugged, it is easy to fix by agitating the biological layer with the fingers and scooping out the dirty water. The filter removes particles like bacteria and parasites, but cannot remove chemicals i.e. dissolved substances.

Steve Rickard ably thanked Rod, and presented him with our Boltman. Steve remarked that it was very commendable that Rod and Ingrid's family charity has supplied 175,000 biosand filters to the needy.

  • Steve Rickard, RodMcCarroll, and Tim Anderson Steve Rickard, RodMcCarroll, and Tim Anderson
  • Biosand Water Filter

reported by Marie Rickard

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