This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
The Braddock Carnegie Library in
Braddock, Pennsylvania, looks like an ancient castle. The bottom floor was once
a bathhouse. Today, it houses a workshop for an arts program. But the library
basement also has another use -- as a studio for making ceramic water filters
for the developing world.
it there was the idea of Richard Wukich, an art professor at Slippery Rock
University in Pennsylvania. One of his former students, Jeffrey Schwarz, helped
remake the basement to use for pottery-making classes for the community.
Schwarz is a potter and a member of the national service program AmeriCorps. He
works with volunteers to produce the water purifiers.
original design of the ceramic filter came from a chemist in Guatemala, Fernando
Mazariegos. Ron Rivera, a ceramics artist and activist in
the group Potters for Peace, saw it and recognized its value.
Ron Rivera improved the design after a deadly
storm, Hurricane Mitch, struck Central America in nineteen ninety-eight. He also
worked with other groups to set up places to make the filters. He died last
year. By that time, hundreds of thousands of the filters were in use in
Tests have shown that the filter produces safe drinking
On a good day, Jeffrey Schwarz says the studio in the
library can produce twenty filters. To make one, clay is mixed with a material
that burns. It could be sawdust or agricultural waste like grain hulls, cocoa
or coffee shells. Pine needles can also be used.
mixture is shaped into a cone and then fired. Burning away the material added
to the clay leaves tiny holes. These holes let water slowly pass through the
walls of the filter.
protective coating of colloidal silver is painted on the inside and outside of
the filter to kill bacteria. Colloidal silver is made from water with
microscopic particles of silver.
The water filter costs little to make. An international
service project called Pure Water for All helps support the work. The Forest
Hills Rotary Club in western Pennsylvania launched the project. The project Web
site is purewaterforall.org.
Schwarz will end his service for AmeriCorps soon. But he plans to continue making
the water filters in the depths of the library.
that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jerilyn Watson,
with Rosanne Skirble in Braddock, Pennsylvania. Archives of our reports are at
voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.