In September 2014 a team of seven Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise travelled to Nicaragua to transport first aid kit supplies, re-dedicate two health clinics, and meet with members of the Rotary Club of Ciudad Sandino and leaders from the communities of Trinidad Central and Cuajachillo 2 located outside the capital city of Managua to present the water infrastructure proposal prepared by Water Missions International (WMI), listen to community feedback, and discuss the water project and other potential projects of benefit to the health and welfare of the people.
 


Diagram of a Portable
Water Filtration System

Given the lengthy project timeline of the water infrastructure project to community organize, raise money, design and build the system, a viable interim solution was identified to provide potable water for each of 512 households in the two communities.  The goal of this smaller project is to furnish each household with locally produced, low cost, tabletop water filtration systems (“filtrones”).  Upon manufacture of the filters, the units will be delivered to each home.  Training on their use and maintenance is anticipated to be provided by the local health promoters (“promotoros”).

Filter Specification

1. How much water does each filter hold?
EACH FILTER HOLDS 2 GALLONS OF UNTREATED WATER.

2. What is the size of the smallest particle the system can filter?
1 MICRON (This will remove microbes 1 micron or greater in diameter such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia).

3. How long does it take to filter the maximum water volume?
THE FLOW RATE IS 2.0-2.5 LITERS PER HOUR.

Manufacturing

1. Who will manufacture the filters?
AQUAFILTRO IS THE GROUP MADE UP OF EX-MEMBERS OF THE FILTRON COOPERATIVE.

2. What is their past experience manufacturing this filter design?
OVER 10 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN MAKING THIS DESIGN. THE ORIGINAL SHOP WAS IN NICARAGUA. FROM THERE IT SPREAD AROUND THE WORLD.


Forming & Firing Clay Filters

3. What is the manufacturing process & materials?
MATERIALS ARE CLAY AND SAWDUST. THE PROCESS CONSISTS OF PRESSING OUT THE FILTER IN A HAND OPERATED HYDRAULIC PRESS, FIRING IT AT 800 DEGREES CELSIUS, CONFIRMING MICRON SIZE BY DOING A FLOW TEST, AND COATING THE INSIDE SURFACE WITH COLLOIDAL SILVER.


Flow Rate Testing
of Clay Filters

4. How will quality control be maintained?
EVERY FILTER IS FLOW TESTED TO ASSURE THAT THE FLOW RATE IS BETWEEN 2.0 TO 2.5 LITERS PER HOUR.

5. Will the manufacturing be done locally?
YES

6. How many people will it employ?
FIVE

Warranty and Training

1. Will the manufacturer provide a product warranty? What does it cover and for how long?
THE MANUFACTURER WILL GUARANTEE THE PERFORMANCE OF THE FILTER FOR 6 MONTHS. THE GUARANTEE DOES NOT COVER IMPROPER USE OR HANDLING OF THE FILTER.

2. Will the manufacturer provide filter use and maintenance training for the health promoters?
YES

Product Cost, Production Throughput, Lead Time, and Payment Schedule

1. What is the unit cost for 100? For 500? For 1000?
THE FILTER ITSELF CAN'T BE SCALED. THE FILTER PRICE IS US$10/UNIT FOR A MINIMUM ORDER OF 100 UNITS. A DISCOUNT CAN BE OBTAINED IN THE RECEPTACLE THAT HOLDS THE FILTERED WATER. VOLUME OPTIONS INCLUDE 20 LITERS, 25 LITERS, AND 30 LITERS. THE COST OF A FULLY ASSEMBLED 30 LITER SYSTEM IS US$23.00/UNIT.

2. Are there significant price break points for larger quantities?
ONLY IN THE RECEPTACLES HOWEVER THE BREAKPOINT COST ARE WELL BEYOND OUR QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS.

3. Are there additional setup/startup costs beyond the unit cost?
NO

4. What payment schedule does the manufacturer require?
50% UPFRONT AND 50% ON DELIVERY

5. What is the production lead time from receipt of order for 100? For 500? For 1000?
THEY NEED 25 DAYS TO DELIVER THE FIRST 100. AFTER THAT IT'S 100 EVERY 10 DAYS.

6. Can the filters be delivered periodically in lots, e.g. 100 per month until contract is fulfilled?
YES

7. Who would provide the local oversight ensuring successful contract fulfillment?
MIKE WOODARD, DIRECTOR OF JUBILEE HOUSE, OR OTHER RESPONSIBLE PARTY

Risk Factors

1. What are the primary identified risks?
a. DRASTIC CHANGES IN RELATIVE HUMIDITY DURING PRODUCTION CAN CAUSE A HIGH % OF DEFECTIVE FILTERS. THIS CAN BE REMEDIED BY WAITING UNTIL AFTER THE FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY TO BEGIN PRODUCTION
b. OVERSIGHT TO ASSURE THAT FLOW RATES ARE RIGIDLY OBSERVED. IT IS ALWAYS TEMPTING TO CHEAT JUST A LITTLE IN ORDER NOT TO LOSE A FILTER
c. THE GREATEST WEAKNESS BY A SIGNIFICANT MARGIN IS A LACK OF GOOD FILTER MAINTENANCE AND POOR HANDLING ONCE THEY ARE DISTRIBUTED IN THE COMMUNITIES. IT WILL BE ESSENTIAL THAT COMMUNITY FOLLOW UP IS DONE TO ASSURE THE FILTERS ARE BEING MAINTAINED PROPERLY.

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