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Post subject: Emergency Water Purification....
Post Posted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:40 pm
Water is second in our physical needs only to air. In an emergency situation of any kind, clean water is going to be vital to your health and success. Even if you have stored water (bottled or a well, etc) that will only last for so long and has the possibility of being contaiminated.

The number one cause of sickness after a disaster is impure water. Flood water is generally filled with contaminents and should be avoided if at all possible. Definately don't drink flood water - as chemicals cannot be removed from water except by distillation - but even skin contact can be harmful if the water contains gasoline or oil or other chemicals.

If you must get water from a stream, try to get it in a fast moving area over rocks instead of in deep calm pools. There is more bacteria, algae and such in the calm areas. You should then use one of the following types of purification to avoid illness.


Water purification basically comes down to four methods: boiling, physical filtration, distillation and chemical purification.

Boiling is heating water to its boiling point for a period of time at which time bacteria and viruses are destroyed or rendered inactive by the heat. This works well but it will not make cloudy water clear and won't remove any foreign matter or debris. You can prefilter water with clean cloth or other material to help make the water clear. Water tastes very flat after being boiled, so a lot of people recommend pouring it back and forth between containers to aerate it. We had to do this when we had a boil advisory with city water.

Physical filtration is the act of forcing water through a filtering media that will remove bacteria and viruses (such as the common Giardia or Cryptosporidium)... This does not do anything for chemical contamination, and it is limited by the pore size of the filter as to what it can remove from water. Katadyn is a very popular filter brand for its portability and small pore size. There are charcoal filters which will help remove some chemicals and improve taste but I would not trust my life and health to it if the water is known to be tainted with chemicals.

Distillation is the act of evaporating suspicious water and condensing it into another container... There are a lot of ways to do this (I will post pictures or links to diagrams if there is a request) but it requires a lot of time and a stationary place to do it. It is the only field expediant way to reliably remove chemical contamination from water (but again, I would not purposely choose water that has been contaminated if there is any other available)....

Chemical purification is using a chemical additive to kill bacteria and viruses. Commonly this is chlorine (in the form of unscented bleach or similar) or iodine (found in military surplus water purification tabs, very bad taste generally). Unscented bleach can be found in most homes, so it is often most common... To treat clear water the EPA recommends 8 drops per gallon (1/8 of a teaspoon) and then shake or stir the water to get even distribution. For unclear water double that to 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) per gallon...


If you have any personal experience with water purification while camping or in a disaster I would welcome you to share your thoughts here :)

Nick

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:04 am
All good information, I store my water in food grade 55 gal drums. People seriously underestimate the amount of water they need or plan for long term water shortages. You need water for hygiene as well, poor hygiene and improper waste disposal will lead to a lot of other problems that can kill you.
If you store large amounts of water and fail to maintain it's purity even after many years it will most likely still be less contaminated than what you are going to find after a natural or man made disaster and will be easy to re-purify. You can also just change the water when you change your smoke detector batteries if it gives you peace of mind.
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:13 am
We used iodine tablets when I went through SERE training. We would add one tablet to a quart canteen of water and let it agitate from walking for a half hour or so.

The last day all I could find for my team was a beaver pond filled with black water. I ended up a bit dehydrated as a result...

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:45 am
Very good information!!

Thank you.
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Post Posted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:00 am
I have use both the MSR and Katadyn filters with good success. I personally prefer the Katadyn filter, its small, efficient, normally comes with an attachement that fits on most 2 QT Nalgene bottles. The MSR Miox unit I tried worked well and was easy to use but requires batteries. It also purified the water.

Not a big fan of using iodine myself but you can use iodine and a neutralizer in addition to a water filter to make sure water is safe.

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:38 am
katadyn makes a great whole house sized water filter, the gravidyn and ceradyn filter.
gravidyn has .2 um (200 nm, nanometer) silver impregnated filtration with active carbon.
ceradyn is same only w/o the active carbon.
a good description of both is here,
http://www.gravityfilter.com/katrkdrgrgrf.html
katadyn also makes smaller more portable less volume filtration setups for camping and such.

berkey also makes a similar setup only with stainless steel tanks.
http://www.berkeyfilters.com/


very nice setups for extended water filtration needs.

In the US, viruses are not present in waterways. Need not worry.
if you do want to worry, I think the Miox jobber is best on viruses.
small volumes of water however. as in, < cup or so per sterilization.
as far as VOC (volatile organic compounds, gas oil benzene etc etc) content, the active carbon will help out better than anything else.
the 200nm filtration will stop all bacteria.
viruses however, start around 10nm in size and move up.
again, miox or dont worry about it. the miox (MIxed OXidants) adds salts (bleach, oxidizers) to knock out the viruses.
from my research, water born viruses dont thrive here in the US.
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:08 pm
Yea, I can attest to the Berkey's. I got a Royal Berkey water filter a few weeks ago and my family and I love it. We plan to use it on our camping trips also.
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Post subject: Re: Emergency Water Purification....
Post Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:22 pm
My wife and I have had a Berkey for quite a few years and absolutely love it!

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Post subject: Re: Emergency Water Purification....
Post Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:35 pm
stupid question: so putting some bleach in the water to sterilize it won't have any adverse affects on you for drinking it?.. anyone actually tried this and drank it?

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Post subject: Re: Emergency Water Purification....
Post Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:43 pm
Yes, you can store water in food grade drums for years but I change mine out and disinfect all over again
every year. If the chlorine content is to high you can boil it out which I would do anyway if it was stored for a while
or there was any chance of contamination. Any water you have stored will be much better than anything you will be able to get when the SHTF either due to contamination or civil unrest.

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Post subject: Re: Emergency Water Purification....
Post Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 3:16 pm
WileyCoyote wrote:
stupid question: so putting some bleach in the water to sterilize it won't have any adverse affects on you for drinking it?.. anyone actually tried this and drank it?


Here is a website that talks about how to use it. From my memory the 2 drops per quart sounds right.

I prefer my MSR mini-works filter. It screws onto a wide mouth nalgene or MSR dromedary bag and is very fast. Its also field strippable. If I was buying new I'd go with the MSR hyperflow filter.

I also carry iodine tablets as a backup measure. If you add vit C to the iodine water it removes the taste of the iodine.

The MSR miox is pretty cool, but I don't always trust electronics and I've read some questionable durability reports. Same thing with the steripen though the idea is a great one.

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Post subject: Re: Emergency Water Purification....
Post Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 3:51 pm
Here is some info on how to prep and store with 55 gal drums.

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Post subject: Re: Emergency Water Purification....
Post Posted: Sun May 16, 2010 12:24 am
so, it sounds like the bleach is applied at the time the water is dispensed for use, ...not added during storage?.. i don't know if my containers are "contaminated", they are 7 gal. plastic containers (made for water storage) i got at walmart.

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Post subject: Re: Emergency Water Purification....
Post Posted: Sun May 16, 2010 12:35 am
You add the bleach at the time of storage.

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Post subject: Re: Emergency Water Purification....
Post Posted: Sun May 16, 2010 1:13 am
buckeyered wrote:
You add the bleach at the time of storage.

the link Hedgelj posted suggests the opposite... which is what has me a little confused.. :?

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