Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 861–874 | Cite as

Modeling exposure period for solar disinfection (SODIS) under varying turbidity and cloud cover conditions

  • Husnain Haider
  • Waris Ali
  • Sajjad Haydar
  • Solomon Tesfamariam
  • Rehan Sadiq
Original Paper


Solar disinfection (SODIS) is widely practiced all around the world. The process requires variable exposure periods depending upon a number of process parameters (e.g., water turbidity, atmospheric temperature, and cloud cover conditions). This paper describes the development of a mathematical model to estimate required exposure period to achieve Fecal coliforms (FCs) removal for changing process parameters. Daily and hourly solar radiation were estimated and found to be suitable for SODIS application with intensity of 500 W/m2 over a period of 3–5 h/day. Randomized SODIS experiments over a period of 3 years were conducted to consider seasonal and weather variations. Six samples each for five levels of turbidity (0, 5, 10, 20, and 30 NTU) were exposed to sunlight under variable cloud cover conditions on different days during the 3-year sampling period. Samples were collected and analyzed for remaining FCs at different intervals in each sampling day. Analysis of variance revealed that turbidity and percent of cloud cover are the most significant process parameters. It was found that FCs die-off in SODIS bottles followed the first-order kinetics. Different data sets were used for the development and calibration of the model. The calibrated model was further verified against the literature. Simple characteristics curves have also been established for practical application at household level to estimate exposure periods. The study revealed a significant difference between the required exposure periods for different turbidity and cloud cover conditions.


Solar disinfection SODIS Turbidity Cloud cover Drinking water Solar exposure period First-order kinetics 



Experimentation work for this study was conducted at the Institute of Environmental Engineering and Research (IEER), University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore, Pakistan. Modeling and analysis have been carried out at School of Engineering, University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO), Canada. Support of the IEER laboratory staff especially Mr. Shabbir for sample collection and analysis is acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Husnain Haider
    • 1
  • Waris Ali
    • 2
  • Sajjad Haydar
    • 2
  • Solomon Tesfamariam
    • 1
  • Rehan Sadiq
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EngineeringUniversity of British Columbia OkanaganKelownaCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental Engineering and ResearchUniversity of Engineering and TechnologyLahorePakistan

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