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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2020, Vol. 14 Issue (5) : 79     https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1254-9
REVIEW ARTICLE
Ceramic water filter for point-of-use water treatment in developing countries: Principles, challenges and opportunities
Haiyan Yang1,2, Shangping Xu3, Derek E. Chitwood4, Yin Wang5()
1. SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China
2. School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou 510006, China
3. Department of Geosciences, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA
4. Department of Engineering, Dordt University, Sioux Center, IA 51250, USA
5. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA
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Abstract

• CWF is a sustainable POU water treatment method for developing areas.

• CWF manufacturing process is critical for its filtration performance.

• Simultaneous increase of flow rate and pathogen removal is a challenge.

• Control of pore size distribution holds promises to improve CWF efficiency.

• Novel coatings of CWFs are a promising method to improve contaminant removal.

Drinking water source contamination poses a great threat to human health in developing countries. Point-of-use (POU) water treatment techniques, which improve drinking water quality at the household level, offer an affordable and convenient way to obtain safe drinking water and thus can reduce the outbreaks of waterborne diseases. Ceramic water filters (CWFs), fabricated from locally sourced materials and manufactured by local labor, are one of the most socially acceptable POU water treatment technologies because of their effectiveness, low-cost and ease of use. This review concisely summarizes the critical factors that influence the performance of CWFs, including (1) CWF manufacturing process (raw material selection, firing process, silver impregnation), and (2) source water quality. Then, an in-depth discussion is presented with emphasis on key research efforts to address two major challenges of conventional CWFs, including (1) simultaneous increase of filter flow rate and bacterial removal efficiency, and (2) removal of various concerning pollutants, such as viruses and metal(loid)s. To promote the application of CWFs, future research directions can focus on: (1) investigation of pore size distribution and pore structure to achieve higher flow rates and effective pathogen removal by elucidating pathogen transport in porous ceramic and adjusting manufacture parameters; and (2) exploration of new surface modification approaches with enhanced interaction between a variety of contaminants and ceramic surfaces.

Keywords Point-of-use water treatment      Ceramic water filter      Bacterial removal      Surface modification      Water quality     
This article is part of themed collection: Accounts of Aquatic Chemistry and Technology Research (Responsible Editors: Jinyong Liu, Haoran Wei & Yin Wang)
Corresponding Author(s): Yin Wang   
Issue Date: 14 May 2020
 Cite this article:   
Haiyan Yang,Shangping Xu,Derek E. Chitwood, et al. Ceramic water filter for point-of-use water treatment in developing countries: Principles, challenges and opportunities[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2020, 14(5): 79.
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http://journal.hep.com.cn/fese/EN/10.1007/s11783-020-1254-9
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fese/EN/Y2020/V14/I5/79
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Articles by authors
Haiyan Yang
Shangping Xu
Derek E. Chitwood
Yin Wang
POU technologies Water
qualityb)
Water productionc) Costd) Ease to usee) Overall score Description
Chlorination 1 3 2 5 11 Hypochlorite liquid or tablets are used to inactivate pathogens in source water.
Coagulation/
Chlorination
2 2 1 2 7 Dry coagulant-flocculant and chlorine as tablets or sachets are added to source water to inactive and settle down pathogens.
Solar disinfection 3 1 5 1 10 Source water is filled in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or glass under sunlight, allowing UV and heat to inactivate pathogens.
Ceramic water filter 5 2 4 4 15 Porous ceramic media (e.g., pot, disk, candle) with silver coating is used to filter pathogens from source water.
Biosand filter 4 3 3 3 13 Biosand filter is adapted from slow sand filter cover with biofilm, removing pathogens using biological and physical processes.
Tab.1  Comparison of POU treatment technologies used in developing countriesa)
Fig.1  Schematic of different forms of ceramic water filters: (a) ceramic disk filter, (b) ceramic candle filter, (c) ceramic pot filter, (d) tubular ceramic filter.
Fig.2  Ceramic water filter production flow chart. It was re-drawn based on the Ceramics Manufacturing Working Group (2011).
Reference/ source Laboratory/Field work Flow ratea)
(L/h)
Microbial removal (LRVb)) Porosity Average pore size (mm)c)
Yang et al. (2020) Laboratory 5.1–6.4 4.5 0.22 1.22
12.5–15.4 2.1 0.24 1.24
Oyanedel-Craver and Smith (2008) Laboratory ~2.6 3.0 (w/o Ag coating)
4.0 (w/o Ag coating)
0.37 14.3
~1.7 2.9 (w/o Ag coating)
3.2 (w/o Ag coating)
0.42 2.0
~0.61 3.4 (w/o Ag coating)
3.8 (w/o Ag coating)
0.39 8.2
Bielefeldt et al. (2009) Laboratory/Field 0.8–1.9 2.2–3.8 (w/o Ag coating)
3.2–4.2 (w/o Ag coating)
Not reported
van der Laan et al. (2014) Field 5.5–21.0 ~1 (w/o Ag coating) Not reported
2.55 2.5 (w/o Ag coating)
Van Halem et al. (2017) Field 5–20 ~1.0 (w/o Ag coating) Not reported
Soppe et al. (2015) Laboratory/Filed 7–23 2.1–2.9 (w/o Ag coating) Not reported
PFPd) Field 1–3 ~2 (w/o Ag coating) Various from factory to factory
Various from factory to factory
RDICe) Field 1.8–2.5 ~2 (w/o Ag coating)
Tab.2  Flow rate and bacterial removal efficiency of reported CWFs
Modification component Modification method Target contaminants Removal efficacy/capacitya) References
Nano TiO2 Painted-onb) Escherichia coli >90% He et al. (2018)
ZnO Painted-on Escherichia coli 2.19–2.97 LRV Huang et al. (2018)
TPAc) Painted-on Escherichia coli 6.24 LRV
(raw filter 4.34 LRV)
Zhang and Oyanedel-Craver (2013)
Iron oxide Submersed in Fe3+ solution→baked at 110°C (4h)→550°C (3h) Arsenite/
As(III)
Treating 49–1619 bed volumes of arsenic-contaminated solution under 10 mg/L Robbins et al. (2014)
Arsenate/
As(V)
Lanthanum components Submersed in La3+ solutio→thermally treated for 3h Arsenite/
As(III)
Treating ~3200 pore volumes of As(III)-contaminated solution under 10 mg/L Yang et al. (2019a,b)
Arsenate/
As(V)
Treating ~14500 pore volumes of As(V)-contaminated solution under 10 mg/L
Chromate/
Cr(VI)
13 mg/g
Virus (MS2) >5 LRV
Y2O3 Submersed in Y2O3 colloids→dried at 80°C (12h)→calcined at 500°C–1040°C (1h) virus (MS2) Up to 6.5 LRV Wegmann et al. (2008a)
Zr(OH)x Submersed in Zr(OH)x colloids→dried at 150°C (12h)→calcined at 250/300/400°C (1h) virus (MS2) 6.2–6.6 LRV (pH5)
4.0–6.9 LRV (pH7)
3.7–7.4 LRV (pH9)
Wegmann et al. (2008b)
MgO Fired-ind) virus (MS2, PhiX174) 0.3–4.7 LRV (MS2)
0–4 LRV (PhiX174)
Michen et al. (2013)
Tab.3  Studies exploring CWFs surface modification besides silver impregnation
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