I don’t think I need to highlight the importance of clean drinking water to you elite crowd, but it is a major issue in many developing countries and war-torn zones. When designer Martin Bolton conducted a survey of the potable water that most rural houses in South Africa used, he was appalled at the quality and decided to do something about it. He devised an ingenious Potpaz Ceramic Filter system that is aimed at being a low cost water treatment device optimally suited to South African rural conditions.
Trying to keep the authenticity of the explanation of its working, here is what Martin has to say about the filter’s working:
Operation of the filter unit
The ceramic filter element is filled with water to be filtered, the water then saturates the ceramic filter element and slowly filters through the pores at a rate of between 1.5 to 2.5 liters per hour, provided the filter is kept full (as stated on the leaflet received from the existing filter element manufacturers). The filter needs the weight of the unfiltered water in the element to create sufficient pressure to push the water through the pores. The water filtering through the filter element drips into the receptacle where it is stored, ready for consumption. Users’ tap water from the plastic spigot attached through the receptacle wall. The covering lid prevents insects and dust from getting into contact with the filter element.
It has been shown that the filter element is able to improve the health related microbial quality of the water by means of the action of filtration. Effectiveness of the filter element, with regards to disinfection, can be increased with the application of colloidal silver to the filter element.
Colloidal silver is an effective antibacterial water treating agent in the form of tiny silver particles suspended in liquid. It is a disinfectant that prevents bacterial growth in the ceramic filter and assists in inactivating the bacteria in the filter. It is applied to the Potpaz filter in the form of a painted-on solution, or by dipping (after the firing process) thereby allowing the solution to soak into the porous ceramic filter where it remains. A study indicates that after 15 years in operation, the colloidal silver is still effective in the ceramic filter. The only routine maintenance of the filter components is as follows: The filter element needs to be scrubbed and rinsed once the flow-rate decreases considerably (possible once a month), and the inside of the receptacle needs to be cleaned with soap and water once a month.
Designer: Martin Bolton