Project Details

The mission of PureMadi is to prevent waterborne diseases through education, training, and empowering resource-limited communities to produce and distribute an innovative point-of-use water treatment technology.

Students and faculty working with PureMadi are involved a variety of initiatives seeking to providing clean and accessible water for local communities. Projects involve developing ceramic water filters and production facilities, community education, and evaluating point-of-use water treatment technologies such as the ceramic water filters and the MadiDrop.

Producing the ceramic water filters involve mixing clay, sawdust, and water (sourced locally) in the shape of a filter pot and kiln fired. After exposure to 900°C temperatures, the clay forms ceramic and the sawdust combusts leaving a porous ceramic matrix for filtration. The filters are then treated with silver nanoparticles which lodge in the pore space of the filter and act as a disinfectant for waterborne pathogens. Untreated water can then be passed through the filter to obtain purified water.

One of the water intervention evaluations currently taking place is a community-based randomized controlled trial designed to test the effectiveness of two point-of-use water treatment technologies to improve clean drinking water access, reduce enteropathogen burden, and improve child growth among children in Limpopo, South Africa. 

Project History

PureMadi has been created by an interdisciplinary collaboration of students and faculty at the University of Virginia.  In partnership with the University of Venda in Thohoyandou, South Africa, Rotary International, and developing-world communities in Limpopo Province, South Africa, PureMadi works to provide sustainable solutions to global water problems.

The first PureMadi project involved developing a sustainable ceramic water filter facility in South Africa that could produce point-of-use water treatment technology for local communities. These ceramic filters are created through a partnership with the Mukondeni Pottery Collective.  Once the ceramic filters are created and impregnated with silver nanoparticles, the ceramic filters are ready to use in local communities, schools, and households to provide clean drinking water.

In both the lab and the field these ceramic filters have demonstrated to be highly effective at purifying water and have the ability to significantly improve the health outcomes of human populations using the filters to obtain safe drinking water.

The filter facility in Ha-Mashamba has been so successful that a second water filter facility has been built in Hammanskraal. These filter facilities have shown to be a sustainable business model that provides an economic benefit to the local community by sourcing labor and materials for the filters locally.



PureMadi partners with the Mukondeni Pottery Collective in Ha-Mashamba, Limpopo Province and the Khulisa filter facility in Hammanskraal, Gauteng Province to produce the ceramic filters.