Spout is a small water testing device that can deliver real-time drinking water quality information straight to smartphones as well as aggregate data at the municipal scale.

Spout is an on-demand, on-source drinking water testing device. Roughly the size of a hockey puck, Spout comes with a thimble-sized cartridge that consumers can fill with their tap water to test for lead, arsenic or other contaminants. The results can then be read instantly on a smartphone app, and the data is also sent to utility companies to map contaminants and address problems at the source.

Spout (formerly Microlyze) partnered with Denver Water to pilot the Waterlyzer, sending devices to 500 residents. Denver Water currently serves about 1.4 million customers, many of whom receive their water through ageing lead-lined pipes. Conventional testing methods whereby samples are requested from residents have often been limited by low participation rates, but Spout hopes that residents’ ability to see the results of their tests straight away will incentivise greater participation.

Why you should care

In 2015, an estimated 77 million Americans lived in places where the drinking water was deemed unsafe or had not been properly tested. This issue was emphasised by the lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan in 2014, when 12 people were killed and many more hospitalised. Microlyze hopes that their water testing kits can improve the identification of contaminated water and accelerate responses, ultimately helping prevent water-related health problems.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Good health and well-being

By identifying chemicals and bacteria, the microlyzer can prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses and prevent illness from exposure to harmful substances.

Clean water and sanitation

Spout can improve water quality by enhancing the monitoring and detection of drinking water contamination at both household and municipal levels.