PureMadi Are Basic Clay Pots and Sawdust Water Filters for Home Use

PureMadi, South Africa, UVA, water filtration, clay, earth, low tech, nano-particles, clay water bowlsWe love just about anything that is made with earth – a vast, renewable resource eclipsed by more modern materials. Not long ago we featured the Eliodomestico – a solar-powered water desalination pot that enamored readers around the globe for its ease of use and potential domestic application. Now we’ve stumbled across a new water treatment system called PureMadi. Developed by the University of Virginia (UVA) in tandem with traditional potters in South Africa, the water filtration bowl is made with clay, sawdust and water and coated with special nanoparticles that help remove contaminants from dirty water.

PureMadi, South Africa, UVA, water filtration, clay, earth, low tech, nano-particles, clay water bowls

Researchers from UVA talked to village chiefs in Limpopo province before meeting with other locals and potters, who helped to develop a domestic solution to widespread water contamination.

In addition to being affordable, it was important that the water filtration device could be made at home in order to alleviate the need for costly imports, and to build upon indigenous knowledge and skills.

In 2011, local people were employed to build the necessary infrastructure for a local PureMadi manufacturing plant, which includes a kiln in which the clay bowls are fired.

But how do they work?

PureMadi, South Africa, UVA, water filtration, clay, earth, low tech, nano-particles, clay water bowlsA mix of clay, sawdust and water is put into molds before it is fired in a large kiln. This heating process sloughs off the sawdust, which creates small perforations in the bowls that allow water, but not impurities, to pass through.

Once the bowls are cool, a coat of copper or silver nano-particles is applied to them, which is what removes invisible pathogens from contaminated water. The same team also developed a small tablet-shaped water purifier called MadiDrop, according to Springwise.

A total of 10 PureMadi manufacturing points are planned in and around South Africa, where hundreds of thousands of people lack access to clean water.

Affordable and culturally relevant, the PureMadi is similar to clay pots traditionally used in Egypt and other parts of North Africa and the Middle East to store water.

However, the pots would not be effective as treatment devices without the nano-particle coating produced at a university lab in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Still, this could be a sustainable approach to providing clean water to people in our region who often go without – particularly now in refugee camps throughout Jordan and Lebanon; it is also an empowering job creation strategy.

:: Springwise

Images via PureMadi

About Tafline Laylin

As a tour leader who led “eco-friendly” camping trips throughout North America, Tafline soon realized that she was instead leaving behind a trail of gas fumes, plastic bottles and Pringles. In fact, wherever she traveled – whether it was Viet Nam or South Africa or England – it became clear how inefficiently the mandate to re-think our consumer culture is reaching the general public.Born in Iran, raised in South Africa and the United States, she currently splits her time between Africa and the Middle East.Tafline can be reached at tafline (at) greenprophet (dot) com, @teakettle22, http://www.facebook.com/tafline.laylin

5 thoughts on “PureMadi Are Basic Clay Pots and Sawdust Water Filters for Home Use”

  1. peter odhiambo says:

    hi,what is the composition ratio of clay to saw dust and how can one get nanoparticle coating in kenya?

  2. Keabetswe Motlhodi says:

    Hi Rachel

    Where can one get these filter in South Africa and at what cost. Is the a way of linking it to pipes of water that go into the home from a borehole or a JOJO (those big green water containers)?

    1. Please contact PureMadi directly. This is just a story about the company.

  3. Hi!
    Would love to talk to you about this and water filtration in general! Can you contact me?

    Thank you
    Rachael Gordon

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