Radhames Carela’s New Triple In-Line Ceramic Filtration Technology
By Jaleigh Jensen
We’re in Radha’s workshop in the DR factory and he’s basically dancing around, running back and forth to each workstation. He’s explaining the importance of an in-line filtration system and the drastic effect it could have on communities everywhere. I’m just running behind him, pen and paper in hand, trying to keep up with how rapidly the thoughts are pouring out of his head. The passion here is contagious.
And when his long-winded explanation finally finishes, I ask, so what is this system called? He replies, “The Future.”
Radhames Carela has lived all his life in El Higuerito, a small town outside of Santiago, Dominican Republic. He has worked with filters since 2003 and with clay for more than 45 years. He’s a craftsman, an artist, a husband, a father, a grandfather and a survivor.
“I’ve enjoyed working with clay my whole life, but now, life’s even better because I know I am helping other people live better too.”
For generations, his family had been potters. At a young age, Radha learned how to make household ceramics from his mother. Continuing her tradition, he made bowls, mugs, plates and other tools to earn his living.
In 2006, he connected with Ballantine, a missionary from the United States working with teens in the greater Santiago area. Together, they developed a ceramic filter using clay, sawdust and silver and created a filter factory called Aqua Pure.
“When I was a young boy, I used to ask ‘How can my art move around the world? What can I do to make a difference?’ When Lisa came here with the idea of filter, this could happen.
The .35 millimeter clay and fired sawdust combination creates a porous membrane that allows water to pass through but traps most of the solid bacteria and parasites. Colloidal silver acts as a natural antimicrobial that renders any remaining bacteria harmless. This ceramic filter can treat almost any water source— rain water, tap water, well water, etc.— except those that have been contaminated with heavy metal content.
“Everywhere the biggest problem of the world is the water crisis. This filter can fight the water crisis around the world.”
In 2015, Ballantine entrusted Aqua Pure to Doc Hendley and Wine To Water. Using the same filter technology, we have expanded the program into a holistic Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) solution in the Dominican Republic.
And everyday since, Radha has continued to adapt new ceramic technology to make the filter more efficient. The newest development is a triple in-line filtration system that can filter 25 gallons of water a day when gravity-fed and more than 30 gallons of water an hour when it is pumped. According to Radha, this triple filtration system can easily produce enough clean drinking water for an entire school or community, anywhere in the world.
This is different than other filters. Because there is a higher concentration of charcoal-- a byproduct of burned sawdust-- chlorine does not need to be used to clean the filter. And more, the silver in the filter sterilizes water on impact. Because there are three filtration components and three separate times water is in contact with silver, this filter allows for water to be three times cleaner.
He continues to develop new technologies in ceramic water purification systems through a partnership with Wine To Water. Together, we are spreading this important technology all over the world.
“This could filter an entire community for the people. We can increase purification-- more clean water for more people. This is the future”