Ceramic Water Filter

Ceramic water filtration has been available commercially for about 200 years. It was originally mass-manufactured in England to prevent the outbreak of cholera. Since then, ceramic water filtration has seen continuous improvements and it is still used to solve the issue of unsafe drinking water around the world. SAFE Water Now facilitates the manufacture and distribution of a ceramic water filter that has been adapted for third world use. The most effective standard for commercial ceramic water filter technology is incorporated into the design and best practices are used to manufacture a high quality and affordable household water treatment option.

The SAFE Water Now filter tested at a 99.99% microbiological effectiveness rate with a life of at least five years.  The technology of the SAFE Water Now ceramic water filter is simple, effective, and, sustainable. A round-bottom ceramic pot is made from a mixture of clay, a combustible material, and colloidal silver that enables bacteriostasis and microbiological effectiveness.  Any agricultural waste such as sawdust or cornhusks can serve as a combustible additive.
After the clay and combustible have both been sieved through a fine mesh, they are mixed together with colloidal silver powder and water until a homogeneous mixture is formed. The mixture is then molded into the pot shape with a rim using a filter press. It is then kiln-fired to about 1000 degrees Celsius, which burns out the combustible material and leaves micro pores coated with the silver to purify the water.  During the firing process, about ½ inch (10mm) of activated charcoal is produced within the filter to improve taste and color. The finished filter is placed in a food-grade plastic storage bucket with a spigot at the bottom for dispensing the filtered water. A lid is placed on top of the filter to prevent contamination.
The user pours source water, such as from a stream or pond, into the ceramic pot, which filters it into the plastic bucket at a rate of 1 to 3 liters per hour, depending upon the volume of water in the filter.  A single filter can provides enough safe drinking water for up to 6 people.

 

When contaminated water is poured through the SAFE Water Now ceramic water filter, it is purified in three ways:
  1. 1.3 micron pore size filters out larger dirt particles, larger bacteria, and parasites.
  2. Silver impregnation produces a hostile environment for bacteria, preventing any bacteria present from reproducing; the bacteria soon die.
  3. ½ inch of activated charcoal improves the taste and color of the water.
Why ceramic water filters are SAFE Water Now’s first HWTS offering
People in developing countries often store externally sourced water in the home, where it can be vulnerable to contamination, even if it is clean at the source. Even when clean water is retrieve from a village well in a clean bucket, if the bucket does not have a lid, the water might be contaminated during the long walk home. Taps are another convenient source for water, but more often than not the water pouring from the tap is contaminated because it was never treated at the source or due to broken pipes and poor infrastructure along the way to the tap.  In many places and for a variety of reasons, it’s simply not possible to maintain even the cleanest source water over a long period of time.
The use of household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) alleviates these potential problems, providing simple and effective solutions for nations, cities, and villages that do not yet have the resources to construct the reliable drinking water distribution systems such as those available in the developed world.  HWTS refers to efforts made directly in the home to improve water quality. In recent years, academic and government researchers that study HWTS have determined that, statistically, HWTS are among the most effective interventions in reducing diarrheal disease.  There are many HWTS products being used today including chlorination, solar disinfection, ceramic filtration, flocculation/disinfection, and biosand filtration.  While all of these products reduce potentially pathogenic organisms and the incidence of diarrhea, a HWTS, to be truly effective, must be appealing to the people who use it.  Regardless of sophistication, efficiency or affordability, the best system will always be one that people use consistently.
Ceramic water filters (CWF) are a HWTS option and have a high acceptance rate in many of the communities to which they are introduced. Customers start using them for good health, and continue to use them for the cool, clear, great-tasting water they feel is not available using many of the other HWTS options.  Academic and CDC researchers have demonstrated that CWFs are effective at reducing diarrheal disease by 29-70% (Sobsey 2008, CDC 2008) by removing up to 99.99% of protozoa and potentially pathogenic bacteria.
Ceramic filters are also one of the most cost-effective HWTS options: when a complete filter set is sold for $30, over the potential five-year lifespan of the filter, it will cost only $0.0008 to treat a liter of water.  Furthermore, the filters are usually produced locally, contributing to the local economy and simplifying the supply chain for replacement parts. The filters are made using rather simple technology, in factories located within the communities they serve. These factories provide jobs and economic growth, two elements vital to the long-term economic improvement in developing nations.