A Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI) is a simple thermometer that indicates when water has reached pasteurization temperature and is safe to drink. It was invented by Fred Barrett and Dale Andreatta.
Pasteurization destroys all microorganisms that cause diseases from drinking contaminated water and milk. A small polycarbonate tube contains a wax that melts when water or milk is heated enough to be pasteurized (65˚C/149˚F). This saves much fuel by eliminating the need to boil water or milk to ensure that the pasteurization temperature has been reached. See also Instructions for building WAPIs.
Since water pasteurizes at temperatures well below the boiling point of water, WAPIs save time when solar pasteurizing, and save fuel when using traditional fuels.
Recent news and developments
- November 2013: Study of water treatment in Kenya demonstrates the effectiveness of the WAPI - Bob Metcalf, research microbiologist, and FOTO worked together on a study to compare results of various water treatment chemicals to the WAPI water pasteurization indicator used with a CooKit solar cooker. One finding of note is that the WAPI, when used with the CooKit, was 100% effective in producing negative results for E.coli, while the WaterGuard (3 drops/liter) method was only effective in most cases. Read the study at: The Goal is Zero: A Strategy to Eliminate Water-bourne Disease in Lower Nyakach, Kenya
Articles in the media
- January 2010: WAPIs set to go to Haiti - Recorder Online
- May 2007: Little pieces go long way to provide safe water - Knoxville News Sentinel
- December 2003: Professor sees solar solution to safer water - Sacramento State News
- WAPIs can be purchased from Solar Cookers International.
- The Monterey Sunrise Rotory Club sells a kit that contains the materials to make 200 WAPIs. Contact PDG Don Kremer at WAPI@pacbell.net.* North Star Devices sells WAPI assembly kits and materials.
- Sun Ovens International sells WAPIs and Solar Ovens
- The Cool WAPI design does not require heat sealing the tube, but uses a plug to seal the ends instead. See various types, and purchasing information at The Cool WAPI
Solar Cookers International has recent started manufacturing and selling an improved WAPI design that makes use of plugs to seal the tube and a metal string that won't melt when the WAPI is used to determine pasteurization temperature when water is heated over a cooking fire.
The Cool WAPI
The new Cool WAPI, developed by Robert Nepper and Bill Stevenson, is called “cool” since it requires no heat for assembly when compared to the earlier version WAPI. We have re-designed the WAPI in response to customers who wanted it capable of being assembled in the country of use. We offer it in the completely assembled version and in the totally unassembled version, complete with all parts.
Yes, unskilled persons can assemble the new cool WAPI with a minimum of tools and instructions. All that is really needed is a common claw hammer and a heavy, flat rock, a cement block or an anvil. It must be solid and heavy or you will find it too difficult to hammer in the plugs. To prevent injured fingers, however, we offer a free simple holder set with initial purchases of 100 pieces or more. The holders also prevent the plugs from being driven in too far (obscuring the holes needed for the fish line).
We sell the completed version for $1.25 each and the unassembled version for $.95 each (in lots of 100 or more). There is quite a bit of manual labor in making the plugs and the wax slug so we cannot offer volume discounts at this time. If the volume gets higher, we will make them with more automation, hopefully to be able to reduce the price and offer volume discounts as well. See various types, and purchasing information at The Cool WAPI
WAPIs with stainless steel wire
The Monterey Peninsula Rotary Club now has WAPI kits available in which stainless steel wire replaces the monofilament fishing line; the new WAPI is good for all applications including open flame fires, which had the tendency to melt the traditional fishing line. The kit contans all the components and instructions to build 200 WAPIs. These are reusable and virtually indestructable. The kit costs $85 (about $.42 each) plus shipping. If you are interested in a fun project that teaches about the perils of unclean water and then shows folks how to make a difference, contact us at WAPI@pacbell.net. This is a great fellowship project for Rotary Clubs, Rotary Interact Clubs, Church youth groups, etc.
A jig for making WAPIs
The SPADE WAPI for bottles
Another technique that has developed from seeking a simple solution to water pasteurization is the SODIS approach. Basically it involves leaving sealed transparent bottles of clear, but untreated, water in direct sunshine from two to four hours. The time will depend on the surfaces below the bottles, and the intensity of the sunshine. Often the bottles are placed on a flat corrugated metal roof. When the water reaches 65°C(150°F) it is suitable for drinking. As mentioned earlier, a need developed to find a simple device, a WAPI, to indicate when the water was safe. Several designs use a melting wax method. A recent version, called the SPADE WAPI, is designed to be fitted directly to the cap on a water bottle. After drilling a 1/4" hole through the cap. The slender clear tube, with wax at one end, is submerged into the bottle. Reaching a safe temperature, the wax runs to the bottom of the tube. A compact approach to providing water pasteurization using existing bottles.
Audio and video
Disposible soda straw variation
- The Goal is Zero: A Strategy to Eliminate Water-bourne Disease in Lower Nyakach, Kenya, 2013 - Bob Metcalf and FOTO
- WAPI instructions in English, Spanish, and Portuguese
- WAPI production
- SPADE WAPI
- Bob Metcalf
- Water pasteurization
- Portable Microbiology Laboratory
- Integrated Cooking Method
- Report on possible improvements to the WAPI
- Topics needing research