In September, 2018, Potters for Peace, in partnership with the Center for Affordable Water & Sanitation Technology (CAWST), offered our first Ceramic Water Filter (CWF) Production Course at the Adamah Clay Studios in Dodgeville, WI. It was a huge success!

Eleven people from all over the world came together to spend 12 days learning about water-born illnesses, how to make and test ceramic water filters, and how to market and distribute them. Participants are working or planning to work in Nepal, China, the Ivory Coast, the Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico and Indonesia.

To give the participants hands-on experience making filters, we set up a mini-filter production facility. The students’ filter-making experience began with digging local clay, grinding it in a hammermill and then screening it. They then learned about burnout materials such as sawdust, paper and rice hulls. Burnout material is mixed with the filter clay and will “burn out” during firing, leaving the clay porous and able to filter water. The students mixed different clays and burnout material mixtures in small batches and then tested them to compare porosity, required firing temperatures and durability.

The best clay recipe was then mixed in a large quantity and divided into 15-pound quantities, each of which was enough to make a filter. Filters were made by pressing the clay between aluminum molds in a filter press. The filters were then finished and left to dry. Once dry, a batch of 30 filters was fired in the wood-fired Mani kiln that had been constructed in a previous workshop.

Once the filters were fired, colloidal silver was applied and extensive tests for flow and water quality (including bacterial tests) were performed. The remainder of the course was spent discussing marketing, education, distribution and factory set-up procedures.

Below are some photos from the course. Click on a thumbnail to see a larger version.

Our instructors were Robert Pillers, the Potters for Peace CW filter coordinator, scientists Kaira Wagoner and Justine Rayner, and Lisa Mitchell, an education specialist from CAWST. They spent almost two years developing the course. Funding for course development came from a grant through the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters Ministry Foundation.

Many other donors, including the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters and Bethel Horizons in Dodgeville, Wisconsin helped with scholarship money to allow all 11 participants to attend the course. We are grateful to everyone who donated!

Potters for Peace plans to offer this course again in the future. Course details will be posted on our website.