Whether you are a social butterfly always hanging around Rice University's RMC or your college commons or you are a hard-working student who enjoys studying in Fondren, you have probably encountered my favorite invention in the whole world, the HydroBoost water filter. (And no, this article is not sponsored.) Have you ever wondered why Rice would install it and how it works? As a picky water-drinker myself, I have provided a short introduction on our water filtration system.

The large water fountain Rice uses is the model Halsey Taylor HydroBoost Bottle Filling Station with Bi-Level Green ADA Cooler, Filtered, 8 GPH, Platinum Vinyl. Although the model name itself is very long and makes no sense, it is the water filtration system that I would love to dig into.

The filter contains an “automatic inlet shut-off valve that closes when filter is removed” so that it prevents bacteria outside from getting into the water source.

When cleaning and filtering the water, the last thing we want to add into it is bacteria from the surrounding environment or even from human hands when trying to install it. The filter contains an “automatic inlet shut-off valve that closes when filter is removed” so that it prevents bacteria outside from getting into the water source. The filtration system also uses spun polypropylene, which I will elaborate in the following paragraph, so that people do not need glues or binders to put it together to prevent side effects when processing water.

Then, it comes to actual filtration. Water filtration at Rice uses a radial flow design (see image below), where water enters the sides of the filter and flows through two filtration layers before it exits the filter’s bottom. The first filtration layer consists of thick, spun polypropylene mesh, which prevents large, coarse sediment and particles from entering and clogging filter media. As water flows towards the inside of the layer, the mesh becomes tighter so that it will trap smaller particles. After prefiltration using polypropylene, our drinking water go through activated carbon layer, which is considered to be the most efficient material to remove contaminants, in the center to remove possible lead, mercury and chlorine. The last step involves going through the bottom layer to remove and loose carbon that accidentally gets into the water.

Enough with the science of filtration. What I love the most about the water fountains, especially the large one in Fondren, RMC and some college’s commons, where you can fill your water bottle super fast, is the reduction of usage of plastic water bottles. Whenever I am filling my water bottle, I can see the number of plastic waste we helped to reduce. Even though plastic water bottles these days are trying to be more environmental friendly these days, it still takes energy or land to get rid of plastic waste. Thus, when there is a free and super accessible way to help the environment, why not?


  1. Timmons, M. The most important water treatment method. https://www.uswatersystems.com/blog/2014/11/the-most-important-water-treatment-method/ (accessed 10/08/16), part of US Water System.
  2. Franks, G. Carbon filtration: what it does, what it doesn't. 

    http://www.purewaterproducts.com/articles/carbon (accessed 10/08/16), part of Pure Water Products.
  3. How sediment filter works.     http://www.purewateroccasional.net/hwsedimentfilter.html (accessed 10/08/2016), part of Pure Water Occasional