Locally manufactured ceramic filters can improve drinking water quality and reduce diarrheal disease burden in developing countries; however, production methods and quality control protocols vary at the >50 factories. We manufactured filter disks with varied clay, burn-out material, burn-out material sieved with different mesh sizes, and burn-out material to clay ratios and calculated filter characteristics, including porosity, density, shrinkage, and flow rate. Water was run through filters daily for 4 weeks, and flow rate and Escherichia coli reduction, as measured by log reduction value (LRV), were tested twice weekly. Our results suggest: (1) the first and last LRV test results do not correlate strongly (R2 = 0.38, p < 0.010); (2) there is not a strong association between flow rate and first, average, or last LRV results (R2 = 0.17, p = 0.090; R2 = 0.30, p = 0.020; R2 = 0.24, p = 0.040); and (3) first and average LRV are associated with burn-out material (R2 = 0.68, p < 0.001; R2 = 0.60, p < 0.001), and last LRV is associated with burn-out material and mesh size (R2 = 0.54, p < 0.050). Recommendations for filter factories, are to: (1) verify filtration efficacy with repeated bacteria reduction tests when materials, processing, or filter characteristics vary; (2) carefully control production variables; and (3) continue flow rate testing each filter to evaluate within and across batch production consistency.

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