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Water Filters

Our Clay Water Filters are a complete solution to sustainable access of safe, drinking water. It is a low cost filter that removes disease-causing bacteria from water, making it safe and drinkable. Made with only raw materials from Sri Lanka, the WHO-approved Clay Water Filter has proven crucial and effective in most Tsunami-affected households spread throughout the coastal areas of the country as an inexpensive means of filtering, treating and storing potable water. Currently, the Filters are one of the main income generators of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society.

Overview of ceramic water filters

The clay water filters were first developed in 1981 by the Central American Research Institute for Industry in Guatemala. In 1998, Potters for Peace, an international NGO, began mass production and distribution of the CWFs throughout Central America as an emergency relief response to Hurricane Mitch. More than 30,000 CWFs are now in use in Central America, West Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. The AmRC and Cambodian Red Cross ceramic water filter project – which produced and distributed clay water filters in 165 villages in a high-flood-risk province – won a World Bank Development Marketplace award in 2003.

The CWF is a porous clay pot set in a receptacle with a tap at the bottom of the receptacle and a lid on top. The receptacle is made from food grade plastic. Made from pulverized clay and sifted rice husk that are mixed together and molded with a hydraulic press, the filters are fired in a kiln, and the rice husk creates miniscule pores in the baked clay. After cooling, the filters are impregnated with colloidal silver. The pores winnow out disease-causing pathogens as the water seeps through the filter, and the colloidal silver acts as a bactericide. The results of laboratory water quality analyses from 1986 to 1999 indicate that the filter eliminates approximately 99.88 percent of harmful bacteria and parasites.

The CWF produces 30 to 40 liters of water per day, enough to meet the drinking water needs of most families. CWFs are more affordable than most other household safe water methods as they can be locally produced. Maintenance is minimal – cleaning with a scrub brush when the flow rate is slow – and they have an average two-year lifespan.

CWF Components: CWFs are composed of five separate pieces:

  1. Filter elements are made from a mixture of local clay and rice husk, which is mixed, molded and fired, then impregnated with colloidal silver. The production process for these filter elements is very precise--using specific materials, dedicated equipment, and carefully controlled processes. The internal filter element is identical for all models, thus achieving the same health benefits.
  2. Water receptacle (with lid) Water receptacles for the CWFs are made of plastic. The Unit has identified a local producer for the plastic receptacle ('bucket'). The bucket is designed to fit the filter element, branded, and stamped with other anti-counterfeit measures. The plastic used is virgin polypropylene, with no colorants added, to reduce the possibility of any additives leaching into the drinking water. Producing this bucket requires a custom injection mold. As the design and production of this mold has consumed time, money and technical input, the SLRCS retain ownership of the mold thus enabling them to change manufacturers, if needed.
  3. Tap: The tap is used to control outflow of water from the water receptacle.
  4. Cleaning brush: A cleaning brush is provided with the clay water filter kit so that families may clean their clay water filters regularly.
  5. Usage instructions: An instructional pamphlet is included to educate new users on cleaning and use procedures. The pamphlet is available in English, Sinhala, and Tamil. (See the Appendix for an example)

No.106, Red Cross Bld, 3rd Floor,
Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 07,
Sri Lanka.

General Tel: +94 11 4 342 770

Tel/Fax: +94 11 2 685 719


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