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 Three-day Program at SRU Looks for Potable Water Problem Solutions 




Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199;  e-mail:


     SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The Slippery Rock University Potters Guild will offer three days of programming and displays to show off research work related to a ceramic filter designed to help alleviate one of  the world’s largest health problems – access to adequate potable water.

     The Saturday through Monday campus exhibition will focus on ceramic water filter receptacles and is designed in part to raise public awareness about the viability of the simple clay filter used to remove harmful chemicals in water, according to Richard Wukich, SRU art professor and a leading campaigner for worldwide expansion of the filter system. Wukich, a ceramist, has traveled to Nyala, the Darfur region of the Sudan and Iraq promoting the easily made filter.

     The professor says such filtration systems are already being used in Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba, Ghana and Cambodia, and that work is under way for filter production facilities in Chad, Sri Lanka and Iraq.

     The SRU program opens Saturday with a demonstration of Reid Harvey’s silver-impregnated ceramic water filter at noon in SRU’s Pottery Studio. Harvey, a potter, engineer and inventor from Alfred, N.Y., operates a workshop near his home. At 1 p.m. the filter currently being used by the Potters for Peace organization as part of its work to increase the drinking water supply around the world, will be demonstrated at the studio by Wukich.

     From 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday a demonstration of the Manny Hernandez’ sawdust burner kiln used in firing the  ceramic filters will be demonstrated at SRU’s Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable System Education and Research. Hernandez is a professor of art at Northern Illinois University.

     Sunday events, scheduled for SRU’s Art Building, will include a presentation by Dr. Patrick Burkhart, SRU associate professor of geography, geology and the environment, detailing the world water supply, and Harvey’s explanation for the potential of the ceramic and silver-impregnated filter system. Harvey will include his experiences in Nepal. Hernandez, a member of the Potters for Peace board of directors, will explain the kiln-building process used for making the filters for developing nations. The kiln can burn sawdust or peanut shells, regarded as renewable fuels, to produce the necessary temperatures required for ceramic work.

     A third portion of the program will involve Jon Naugle, chief technician for Non-Government Organization Enterprise, lecturing on the activities such groups can become involved in for expanding the filter-making process.

     SRU’s Lt . Col. William Bialozor, instructor in the Army ROTC program, will discuss non-government organizations working with the military in Afghanistan and explaining how such groups can aid in water delivery. Nikolas Ninos, ceramic engineer from Alfred, N.Y., will detail production methods of specialty ceramic products. such as the filter, and Don Gould, designer and craftsman from Pittsburgh, will outline the role of Rotary International in the project.

      The lectures will conclude with a roundtable by the presenters led by Wukich.

     A preview of water filter receptacles opens at 5 p.m. in the Gallery 164 Bookstore in downtown Slippery Rock, followed by a reception at the North Country Brewery. Plans call for the exhibition to become a traveling showcase including display at the 2007 National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts conference in Lexington, Ky. The items will also be posted online and will be sold during an online auction at the conclusion of the show.

     On Monday, the Potters for Peace Filters Receptacles Exhibition will include ceramists explaining their work. Participating will be Val Cushing of Alfred, N.Y., David MacDonald and Jeff Schwarzof Syracuse, Donna Nicholas and Rick James, both of Edinboro, Jim Chaney of Kutztown, Ron Mazanoskwi of DeKalb, Ill., Bill Strickland and Josh Green of Pittsburgh, Barbara Wukich of Slippery Rock, Bob Eisenberg of Grove City, Jane Pleak of Statesboro, Ga., and a number of SRU students and alumni.

      The project is being underwritten by SRU’s Student Government Association, Inc., along with support from the ALTER Project, an local community-based organization at SRU that promotes the transition to sustainable systems through education, research and demonstration, and the Macoskey Center staff.

     Wukich explains the project represents the ongoing activities of an SRU Faculty-Student Research Grant,  provided by the Provost’s Office, which is allowing students to research alternative firing methods in the production of the ceramic water filterers.






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