Water Tech Wednesday #6: Our Ceramic Water Filters

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The Dominican Republic may be known to many as a popular tourist destination, but locals and Wine To Water are all too familiar with the poverty and water contamination that prevents life from thriving on this Caribbean island. After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, thousands were left without homes and access to clean water. Each year, about 7,000 Dominican and Haitian lives are lost due to water-related illnesses. Wine To Water saw desperate need in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but we also saw an innovative and life-changing solution.

Although we are often able to bring water technologies from home to areas in need, Wine To Water is always looking for sustainable and innovative ways to empower communities with the resources they have at hand. In this case, Wine To Water uses the local natural resources such as clay, sawdust, and antibacterial silver to create ceramic water filters in our very own Dominican Republic factory. Not only are we able to provide thousands with clean water, but we can also offer employment opportunities through our factory to combat local poverty.

 Radhames Carela, Head Ceramist and DR National Program Manager.

Radhames Carela, Head Ceramist and DR National Program Manager.

Our Head Ceramist and National Program Manager, Radhames Carela, leads our team and volunteers throughout the production of our ceramic filters. The three core ingredients are simply mixed together with water, molded by hand, and then pressed into the perfect pot-like shape by our machinery.

All that's left to do is bake the filters in our kiln, the heat of which causes the sawdust and silver to naturally collect within the center-lining of the filter. In practice, the ceramic filter is placed within a bucket before contaminated water is poured inside of it. Water then seeps through the micro-pores of the clay and passes through the charcoal, where 99.99% of all bacteria is trapped and killed. Clean water trickles to the outside of the ceramic filter, collecting in the plastic bucket where it is ready for safe use.

Our ceramic filters are changing the lives of over 100,000 individuals in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. With our WaSH education and training programs, we strive to make sure that every filter sustains families and individuals for as long as 6 to 10 years. Although our impact goes beyond the technology we utilize, Wine To Water is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the lives of others around the world.

Interested in building a ceramic filter with Wine To Water? Go to https://www.winetowater.org/serve to learn more about our trips to the Dominican Republic!

- Carsyn Bernhardt, W|W Writing Intern

Carsyn Bernhardt