Project Results: 

Fluoride is an invisible mineral in water that can have a long term negative impact on health if the intake is above 5 mg/l per day. In specific areas, such as the East African Rift Valley and the Northern part of Ghana, the concentrations in drinking water sources are above standard. Treatment can be through absorption. In the Bongo project IHE-Delft piloted the use of a natural absorbent that can be regenerated. In the pilot, both the filter design, the performance of the absorbent  and the service model around it are tested.

Key results

  • The pilot in the Bongo region has confirmed potential of fluoride removal based on use of innovative adsorbent (Aluminum Oxide Coated Charcoal media - AOCC). AOCC is based on modification of locally available and affordable material namely charcoal. Experiments conducted have shown that both family fluoride removal filters and semi-centralized filter units can be employed to produce fluoride free water for population exposed to high fluoride concentration in drinking water;
  • Ten household prototypes and 1 semi-centralized prototype of the defluoridation unit were manufactured and installed in selected households, and in a school;
  • Sufficient amount of fluoride adsorbent namely AOCC was locally produced for 11 defluoridation units;
  • A preliminary search for potential local manufacturers and suppliers (including suppliers of chemicals) was conducted.

Potential for growth
Upscaling of the fluoride removal technology can be achieved either by providing large number of fluoride removal family filters to households in need, or by providing fluoride free drinking water that can be produced with a battery of family filters and / or semi-centralized fluoride removal treatment plants. Higher volumes of fluoride free water can be also produced by providing semi-centralized filters with larger diameter, while keeping other process conditions unchanged (e.g. empty bed contact time). More work needs to be conducted on a business plan. Only preliminary calculations are now available.

Project partners
IHE Delft, Bongo district Assembly (Ghana),  RSS In GOD We Trust Enterprise, Foundation Water in Our World (WiOW)

October 2017 – December 2018



Bongo, Ghana


Presence of fluoride in groundwater used as a drinking water, at concentrations exceeding WHO guideline (1.5 mg/L), imposes a serious threat to public health. At present more than 200 million people, mainly in developing countries is threaten by high concentration of fluoride in drinking water. High levels of fluoride are also found in some parts of Ghana, including the Bongo town, with levels up to 4.6 mg/L. Fluoride contaminated groundwater in the Bongo town, and in many other areas, is the only available fresh water source for drinking water. Consumption of drinking water with elevated fluoride is associated with incidences of fluoride-related health hazards, including dental and skeletal fluorosis. A recent survey revealed that the incidence of dental fluorosis among children in the Bongo township was alarmingly high (63%). Commercially available fluoride removal techniques (e.g. adsorption on activated alumina) are unfordable for the affected population in Bongo, and other parts of Ghana, and most of other affected countries in Africa (e.g. Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, S. Africa, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Ethiopia, etc.).

Target group

The project target group includes the Bongo town population, that is at present affected by fluoride presence in drinking water.

Overview of Goals

The project goal is to create conditions that will support successful implementation of the IHE Fluoride Removal filter in the Bongo area and beyond.

Results and indicators