Louisville WaterWorks Museum Virtual Activities - Water Filtration

Louisville WaterWorks Museum Virtual Activities - Water Filtration

Welcome to our new series Louisville Water Works! Each week we will post a new video with a lesson and an at-home challenge. We will also share directions for challenges and activities that relate to each topic. 

Week 6: Water Filtration


A filter is something that separates something you want from something you don’t. Filtration is one of the most important steps in the water treatment process. Louisville Water Company pioneered work on filtration with engineers George Warren Fuller and Charles Hermany in the late 1800’s. Cities across America copied what they learned.

When Louisville Water first pumped water in 1860, customers became accustomed to drinking water that still had tiny particles of sand and mud. Engineers knew they needed to do something else to clean the turbid, or cloudy, Ohio River water. In 1895, Fuller and Hermany began experimenting with filters. The solution they came up with is called a “rapid sand filter” and we still use it today! The filter is made of anthracite coal and sand. The filter removed all the dirt, and around 99% of the bacteria from the water.

Challenge: Create a filter

We challenge you to create a filter at home!  *You can also look for other things around the house*


-Cotton balls                                  -Netting                                                      

-Sponge                                          -Gauze                                           

-Paper towels                                -Coffee filters

-Newspaper                                   -Two-liter bottle (cut in half)

-Water                                            -Dirt or soil


1. Use the materials to build a filter inside the two-liter bottle (top half)

2. Mix the dirt or soil into the cup of water

3. Pour through the filter materials

4. Let the water drain into the bottom half of the bottle

Activity: Writing Prompt

What did you see when the water was poured into the filter? Do you think it worked? What would you do different if you did this experiment again?

Activity: Draw It

Draw a picture of your filter and then label the items inside.

Activity: Match It

Match the word to its definition


A way to solve a problem


Finely ground coal


Small pieces of rock, sand or other debris


Something that separates things


A type of microorganism

Anthracite Coal

A scientific procedure to make a discovery


The first to do something




Finely ground rock


Share it!

Share your completed challenges and activities with us. Tag us @LouWaterTowerPark and use the hashtag #LouisvilleWaterWorks

Other Lessons: