Household-based water treatment (HWT) is increasingly being promoted to improve water quality and, therefore, health status in low-income countries. Ceramic water filters (CWFs) are used in many regions as sustainable HWT and have been proven to meet World Health Organization (WHO) microbiological performance targets for bacterial removal (2–4 log); however, the described viral removal efficiencies are insufficient to significantly reduce the associated risk of viral infection. With the objective of improving the viral removal efficiencies of ceramic water filters, new prototypes with different oxide compositions and firing atmospheres have been developed and evaluated. For removal efficiencies human adenoviruses, MS2 bacteriophage and Escherichia coli were quantified in all prototypes. A new model of CWF that was fired in a reductive atmosphere presented virus and bacteria removal efficiencies greater than 3.0 log and 2.5 log, respectively, which would fulfill the viral targets that are recommended by the WHO. Ceramic characterization of the selected filters, which were fired in a reductive atmosphere, showed that a larger specific surface area than those of control filters and higher fraction of a positive Z-potential fraction are the most likely explanations for this increase in virus removal.

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