Evaluating the sustainability of ceramic filters for point-of-use drinking water treatment.Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Oct 01; 47(19):11206-13.ES
This study evaluates the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of ceramic filters impregnated with silver nanoparticles for point-of-use (POU) drinking water treatment in developing countries. The functional unit for this analysis was the amount of water consumed by a typical household over ten years (37,960 L), as delivered by either the POU technology or a centralized water treatment and distribution system. Results indicate that the ceramic filters are 3-6 times more cost-effective than the centralized water system for reduction of waterborne diarrheal illness among the general population and children under five. The ceramic filters also exhibit better environmental performance for four of five evaluated life cycle impacts: energy use, water use, global warming potential, and particulate matter emissions (PM10). For smog formation potential, the centralized system is preferable to the ceramic filter POU technology. This convergence of social, economic, and environmental criteria offers clear indication that the ceramic filter POU technology is a more sustainable choice for drinking water treatment in developing countries than the centralized treatment systems that have been widely adopted in industrialized countries.