After the flood: an evaluation of in-home drinking water treatment with combined flocculent-disinfectant following Tropical Storm Jeanne -- Gonaives, Haiti, 2004

J Water Health. 2007 Sep;5(3):367-74. doi: 10.2166/wh.2007.032.


Tropical Storm Jeanne struck Haiti in September 2004, causing widespread flooding which contaminated water sources, displaced thousands of families and killed approximately 2,800 people. Local leaders distributed PūR, a flocculent-disinfectant product for household water treatment, to affected populations. We evaluated knowledge, attitudes, practices, and drinking water quality among a sample of PūR recipients. We interviewed representatives of 100 households in three rural communities who received PūR and PūR-related education. Water sources were tested for fecal contamination and turbidity; stored household water was tested for residual chlorine. All households relied on untreated water sources (springs [66%], wells [15%], community taps [13%], and rivers [6%]). After distribution, PūR was the most common in-home treatment method (58%) followed by chlorination (30%), plant-based flocculation (6%), boiling (5%), and filtration (1%). Seventy-eight percent of respondents correctly answered five questions about how to use PūR; 81% reported PūR easy to use; and 97% reported that PūR-treated water appears, tastes, and smells better than untreated water. Although water sources tested appeared clear, fecal coliform bacteria were detected in all sources (range 1 - >200 cfu/100 ml). Chlorine was present in 10 (45%) of 22 stored drinking water samples in households using PūR. PūR was well-accepted and properly used in remote communities where local leaders helped with distribution and education. This highly effective water purification method can help protect disaster-affected communities from waterborne disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chlorine / analysis
  • Chlorine / chemistry
  • Disasters
  • Disinfectants / analysis
  • Disinfectants / chemistry
  • Enterobacteriaceae / isolation & purification*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Feces
  • Filtration
  • Flocculation
  • Haiti
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Relief Work*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Water Pollutants / analysis*
  • Water Purification / methods*
  • Water Supply


  • Disinfectants
  • Water Pollutants
  • Chlorine