Iron and Manganese: A TEMBO Filter Story

Iron and Manganese in Ground Water

A common affliction that is experience in groundwater world-wide is the incidental and variable high concentrations of dissolved solids such as iron and manganese.  Whilst not typically a health concern issue, these mineral concentrations can have an impact on taste and aesthetics of the water, therefore in turn impacting people’s acceptance and confidence in use of the water.  Whilst these minerals are an essential component to good health, the change in taste may lead people to use old, shallow water points, which are commonly affected with faecal contamination.

This is sometimes the case in the use of community ground water boreholes provided through MSABI.  The comment of “maji chumvi” is one that may be heard when asking community about the use of extracted groundwater.  Whilst this may be typically solved in municipal applications through the use of in-line pre-treatment oxidation / aeration systems or activated carbon filtration, MSABI has a comparable cost effective solution that is available to community members to improve the taste of their drinking water: the unassuming Tembo Clay Filter Pot. 

Whilst also effectively removing on average 99.9% of total and faecal coliforms from raw water sources, this pot acts in the same fashion as a slow gravity forced sand or micro-filtration system, helping to capture the dissolved particles within the clay filter matrix.  Research developed through Potters without Borders in conjunction with MSABI research team has previously exemplified this reduction (see link:

Photo 1: Education team conducts a meeting and demonstration of the TEMBO Filter Pot

Further to water quality analysis of boreholes, MSABI undertakes education presentations with the use of the TEMBO water filter in areas where issues relating to dissatisfaction with water quality may be found.  Increasing the awareness of this product and its efficacy is one of the tools MSABI looks to utilise in improving safe water availability for many people within the region and even further abroad.