Lack of clean water is one of the most important public health challenges in less developed communities. Due to insufficient financial and technical resources in the places in need, development of low-cost water treatment technologies can play a key role in sustainable water provision.
Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC), also known as wet pyrolysis, has been proven as one of the simplest and most inexpensive technology to produce a variety of carbonaceous materials from biowastes. This research is the first investigation on the use of hydrochar (solid product of HTC) as a pathogen adsorbent in water treatment. This study demonstrates the removal of Escherichia coli, human pathogenic rotavirus and adenovirus using simple sand filtration set-ups supplemented with hydrochar adsorbents derived from agricultural residue of maize, stabilized sewage sludge and fresh swine waste. Also, the development of low-cost polymerase chain reaction technologies for virus quantification was described.