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May 27, 2020

Improving access to safe water

Mineral-based filters are removing bacteria and other contaminants from drinking water in the developing world.

Water filtration with Imerpure

More than two billion people around the world live without direct access to safe drinking water.

In the developing world, access to clean water services is a matter of survival. And it also has a profound social and economic impact: Untreated water causes infectious diseases that prevent people working. And if their children get sick, medicine is expensive. 

The most serious cases of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery can be fatal. Diarrheal illnesses, which cause severe dehydration, kills half a million children under the age of five every year.

In some areas, accessing hygienic water is an everyday struggle. Elsewhere, freshwater resources are unexpectedly impacted because of a natural disaster or conflict.

During a crisis, simply getting relief materials to families can be a challenge. These families often rely on community-based water supply and filtration systems, which allow them to fill buckets of water to bring home – but there is a significant risk from point-of-use contamination. Every time a glass or hand is used to draw water from the storage bucket, the water may be re-contaminated.

Diatomite is the best mineral to filter microbes from water

Imerys is using its technical knowledge of filtration and minerals to help tackle this critical health and social issue.

ImerPureTM is its low-cost water treatment and storage system, which is helping low-income households and communities that lack basic water sanitation. It is a ceramic filter cartridge based on filtration aids that Imerys supplies to its beverage customers. Containing the mineral diatomite, the cartridge purifies highly turbid and contaminated water. 

Research has proven ceramic to be an effective, simple and low cost filter technology for disease-causing microbes and other pathogens. Imerys carried out lab and field trials over three years to develop an optimized  combination of diatomite, and binders for a fast flow and removal of microbes.

Humanitarian and disaster relief organization Global Medic uses ImerPure cartridges in its filters, and has distributed tens of thousands to refugees and families across the world who have been affected by floods or displaced from their homes because of war or other disasters.

There is a clear social need for filtered water. Wider access to filtered drinking water can help break the poverty cycle. It reduces the likelihood of illness and increases families’ ability to work, raise income and send their children to school.
David Gittins
Science & Technology Director for Filtration & Life Sciences at Imerys
Global Medic’s assembly centre in Canada, where ImerPure cartridges are added to water filters prior to distribution.
In the Dominican Republic, water filters containing Imerys’ ImerPure cartridges are distributed to communities by non-profit organization Rotary international on behalf of Global Medic.
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Imerys ImerPure system of world leading mineral-based filter aids

Imerys ImerPure infographic - world leading mineral-based filter aids

Imerys | ImerPure Water Filter
Imerys | ImerPure Water Filter

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