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Ceramic Water Filters: A Point-of-Use Water Treatment Technology to Remove Bacteria from Drinking Water in Longhai City, Fujian Province, China

C. Farrow1,*, E. McBean1,3, G. Huang2, A. L. Yang3, Y. C. Wu3, Z. Liu3, Z. N. Dai3, H. Y. Fu3, T. Cawte1, and Y. P. Li3

  1. School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph N1G 2W1, Canada
  2. Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Regina, Regina S4S 0A2, Canada
  3. School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Xiamen University of Technology, Xiamen 361024, China

*Corresponding author. Tel.: + 519 8377612. E-mail address: (C. Farrow).


While provision of safe drinking water is considered a basic human right, there are major challenges in the developing world for its provision. The ability to deliver safe water using a cost-appropriate technology is a major aspect of the problem. One of the technologies that has the potential to contribute significantly is the ceramic water filter (CWF); however, as shown herein, there are significant differences between performance of CWFs in the laboratory and in field applications. The CWFs employed in this study (field and laboratory) have a pore fraction of 21.0 - 22.4% and an average maximum pore diameter of 5.7 - 15.2 μm. Field studies were completed in Longhai City, China, a rural community in southeastern China with red earth, high precipitation and intensive human/ domestic activities. During field trials, CWFs demonstrated an average removal efficiency of 94.7%, with values ranging from 75 - 100%, whereas in laboratory studies, average removal efficiency was determined to be 99.5%, with values ranging from 97.7 - 99.9%. Differences between the lab and field removal efficiencies are attributed to contamination of the filter element and receptacle by villagers during field utilization and cleaning. Effective technology transfer to the end-user is required to achieve the bacterial removal efficiency attainable by the technology itself.

Keywords: ceramic water filter (CWF), drinking water treatment, point-of-use (POU) water treatment, technology transfer

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