The quality of drinking water can no longer be taken for granted and has been the subject of tremendous attention from pressure groups and the media due to poor service delivery in South Africa. Furthermore, many of the older water treatment plants are incapable of effectively reducing microbes to safe levels. Unfortunately there are various definitions of ‘safe’. The South African government considers 10 or less viable Cryptosporidium oocysts an infective dose, while the USA and UK governments believe that one viable Cryptosporidium oocyst is an infective dose. To add to the confusion the World Health Organization recommends above 99.99% microbial reduction as safe. In Africa it really depends on how compromised your immune system is and age and nutritional level at the time of consumption of contaminated water. How can anyone protect themselves from consuming water contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms? The ceramic filter offers the poor a simple, effective and economical way of producing potable water. We report on the successful testing of a low-cost, locally produced ceramic filter (OUTBAC) with removal efficiencies in excess of 99.99% that therefore meets the World Health Organization household water treatment system criterion for safe water for a family of five at an affordable cost per year.

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