Quantification of the Lifetime of Ceramic Pot Filters


Ceramic pot filters (CPFs) are effective, low-cost household water treatment devices. CPF lifetime is assumed by the manufacturer to be one year; however, there are no definitive studies which quantify CPF lifetime. The objective of this preliminary research was to quantify the lifetime of a CPF in terms of the amount of water that can be filtered before the flow rate becomes unusable. Constant head flow rate testing, porosity testing and water quality testing were performed in a laboratory using three CPFs to establish baselines for comparison with field tests using six CPFs manufactured in Antigua, Guatemala. Interviews with 17 CPF users were performed in Guatemala to obtain information on their water and CPF usage. The limited laboratory and field testing showed that flow rate values decreased with increasing cumulative volumes of treated water. The field test data was compared to the laboratory data to estimate the volume of water that would be filtered before the flow rate decreased to an unusable rate. This volume was found to be approximately 1,500 L, which corresponds to a six-month time for a family of six using World Health Organization estimates of daily water consumption. The water quality data collected in the field showed that turbidity decreased after filtering through the CPFs while conductivity and hardness both increased slightly. This increase in conductivity and hardness may be due to rainwater being used as the water source, which typically has low mineral content with very little dissolved solids and hardness to begin with. The number of families interviewed is too small of a data set to provide conclusive results. But the anecdotal data collected from the interview process suggests that the subject families did not believe that a single filter could provide enough drinking water for a family for one year. The large number of CPFs in use throughout the world means that the technology has the potential to have a significant impact on large number of people, and it is recommended that a formal study involving large numbers of filters be conducted to quantitatively estimate CPF lifetimes.

Meeting Name

World Environmental and Water Resources Congress: Crossing Boundaries (2012: May 20-24, Albuquerque, NM)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering


Environ. Water Resour. Inst. (EWRI) Am. Soc. Civ. Eng.

Keywords and Phrases

Ceramic pot filter; CPF lifetime; Household water treatment; Constant head; Data sets; Dissolved solids; Field test data; Field testing; Guatemala; Mineral content; Number of peoples; Quality testing; Significant impacts; Water consumption; Water quality data; Water source; World Health Organization

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.