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Evaluating the Sustainability of Ceramic Filters for Point-of-Use Drinking Water Treatment

Evaluating the Sustainability of Ceramic Filters for Point-of-Use Drinking Water Treatment

Publication Year:
Ren, Dianjun; Colosi, Lisa M.; Smith, James A.
Resource Type:
Journal Article
The study compared ceramic filters infused with silver nanoparticles to centralized water systems for drinking water in developing countries. Over ten years, ceramic filters were 3-6 times more cost-effective and environmentally superior in four out of five assessed areas. For smog, the centralized system was better. Ceramic filters were deemed more sustainable for developing countries.
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This study evaluates the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of ceramic filters impregnated with silver nanoparticles for point-of-use (POU) drinking water treatment in developing countries. The functional unit for this analysis was the amount of water consumed by a typical household over ten years (37,960 L), as delivered by either the POU technology or a centralized water treatment and distribution system. Results indicate that the ceramic filters are 3–6 times more cost-effective than the centralized water system for reduction of waterborne diarrheal illness among the general population and children under five. The ceramic filters also exhibit better environmental performance for four of five evaluated life cycle impacts: energy use, water use, global warming potential, and particulate matter emissions (PM10). For smog formation potential, the centralized system is preferable to the ceramic filter POU technology. This convergence of social, economic, and environmental criteria offers clear indication that the ceramic filter POU technology is a more sustainable choice for drinking water treatment in developing countries than the centralized treatment systems that have been widely adopted in industrialized countries.

Resource Type

Journal Article

Publication Year



Ren, Dianjun; Colosi, Lisa M.; Smith, James A.



University Affiliation

University of Virginia

Business Connect Takeaways

he use of solar water disinfection (SODIS) can be an effective and low-cost method for improving water quality and reducing the incidence of waterborne diseases in low-income countries
The effectiveness of SODIS can be influenced by factors such as water turbidity, container type, and exposure time to sunlight
The implementation of SODIS programs in low-income countries may face challenges related to user acceptance, behavior change, and sustainability of the intervention

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