January 16, 2011
Hi Folks !
This article is about WATER.
You May have seen on the Request Wall a discussion between Doug and Myself regarding water.
I have been looking at water options not just for an article, but for my own home system as I am on a dug well, which was topped by spring floods a few years ago.
The state at the time recommended people “shock” their wells with chlorine, which renders them undrinkable for several days to a week.
I never did do it.
Like most I went without any sort of filter for years, and have since put in one single filter for particulate matter to prevent shower and faucet heads from clogging, a water test years ago revealed nothing more than seasonal leaf mold, In winter the water is abundant, cold and tasty. However I have had a staph skin condition that is NOT MRSA, just the normal staph on everybody’s skin, Spent over $2000 in doctors and drugs and it is no better since day one. I have tried everything including gasoline on it literally, and the only thing I have noticed is it goes away when I visit my sister who lives in the city with chlorinated water.THAT tells me it is environmental caused, Most likely my single particulate filter is the breeding ground for bacteria that keeps me infected…. YUK !
When I change the filter there is slime, and that is bacteria.
Also, you will note, in my previous article on “footholds” I hand dug a well. 18 feet down using 5 large pine trees and their great roots to keep it from collapsing. ALL I did to filter it was pour it thru coffee filters. I would BET that is how I caught the fever I couldn’t shake, it lasted over a month, never saw a doctor so not positive what it was. I can assume is was some natural microbe in the water, as all I really filtered out was bug larvae !!
I can see that I have to put a LOT more attention to Home water filtering than a single whole house filter, change them more often than every 6 months ( I know..) and set up a system with ever more smaller filtering right up to the designated drinking water tap.
So Let’s start with “NORMAL” conditions. I have always considered myself lucky not to be on a city or town water system.
Chlorine and fluoride are just two of the chemicals added to water in municipal drinking water, and frankly I think we get exposed to too may chemicals in our environment anyway than to be drinking them as well. I also think it insane to BUY water, and bottles are THE most expensive way to buy it. I can see WHY it is popular though.
Everybody here is either on a dug well or drilled artesian, the drilled well being the most desirable and less effected by seasonal changes.
Two main problems around here are arsenic, and radon.
Arsenic is found naturally in the ground, and even in small concentrations can cause gastrointestinal and other cancers over time.
It is estimated that approximately 57 million people are drinking groundwater with arsenic concentrations elevated above the World Health Organization’s standard of 10 parts per billion.
- http://www.h2oc.com/pdfs/Removal.pdf <–REMOVAL
Radon is because of all the granite in the bedrock, as we are part of the Appalachian mountain range. Radon is part of the natural decay of the decay of uranium. It is a noble gas and highly radioactive. It makes up most of the background radiation we are exposed to everyday and so part of our normal environment.
The gas can be present in the ground and in water.
Holes in a foundation can allow concentrations to build up in basements.
Although easily mitigated even by simply opening windows or sub-slab depressurization
(a series of vent pipes installed UNDER the slab).
In water, especially in homes with water saving showerheads it is released into the household air.
Long term exposure can lead to lung cancer, although that can be a 20 year period,
which is why it was never really noticed before the radon scares of the 80’s
Aeration of the water, or carbon filters, previous to use can mitigate it easily.
Nitrates in farm country can be an issue, runoff from fields ends up in water.
I got the UV descriptions below from two product manufacturers.
one thing you will NOTE, is that UV doesn’t render the WATER sterile, it sterilizes the microorganism !
SOME may still be alive, so if you drink it, you body may REACT to it, even though it may be rendered harmless because it cannot reproduce in your gut. Some organisms naturally release chemicals that CAUSE the immune reaction response of your body. so, while you may not get “sick” per se, your body will BE in defense mode and you will FEEL sick.
Further, That response is using energy you would perhaps need for normal activity. It weakens your response system over time.
While UV is one method in dealing with microorganisms, and probably effective, it is NOT the ONLY method I would use.
From my research, I am seeing that MULTIPLE methods are the most effective, used in combination.
It will keep healthy people healthy, and quite possibly help people who are already sick, especially those with weakened immune systems.
I think it’s time for a list of methods:
- UV Chambers
- Chemical additives
In General, there are a number of microorganisms that can be present in water. Protozoa, amoeba, bacteria, viruses, None of them good for you.
Fortunately most of them can be filtered out except some of the smaller viruses, and even they can be easily killed.
We are VERY fortunate in the United States in that our municipal water is the best in the world. Great care and expense is put into our water systems, and quite often is of higher quality than EVEN bottled water. Bear that in mind the next time you are tempted to buy bottled water. At most a good pitcher with a carbon filter will remove the final chlorine and other chemical residue for making tasty water from the tap.
Today, new technology exists to control the growth of bacteria in stored drinking water.
UV light destroys the growth of bacteria by destroying its DNA core, thus rendering it incapable of reproducing.
The ultraviolet lamp within UV systems operate at a frequency of 253.7 nm,
which is proven to be the most effective wavelength against bacteria.
All bacteria and viruses are destroyed by UV light, though some more easily than others.
UV technology is effective against all bacteria, including the more resistant pathogens, E. Coli, Legionella, Salmonella, Hepatitis, and the Poliovirus, to name just a few.
Research has confirmed that UV light is extremely effective against cryptosporidium.
UV light destroys the growth of bacteria so Hygienic Water is Guaranteed.
More about UV Light
Ultraviolet (UV) light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than soft X-rays.
•The “visible light” which our eyes can see makes up only a small part of the total spectrum.
•Visible light runs from the familiar blue to green to yellow to orange to red.
Red light is the least energetic of the colors of visible light, and blue is the most energetic.
•Beyond the red end of the visible part of the spectrum lies ultraviolet light, X-rays and gamma-rays.
What is UV?
The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is divided into three bands:
•UVA (320-to-400 nm) light, which is responsible for sun tanning.
•UVB (280-to-320 nm) light, which causes sun burning and the danger of skin cancer.
•UVC (200-to-280 nm), which is absorbed by DNA causing genetic damage and the inactivation of bacteria and viruses, also called “Germicidal”. UVC
•UV light is most commonly generated by low- and medium-pressure mercury vapor lamps.
•The energy is emitted at 253.7 nm which is proven to be the most effective wavelength against bacteria.
•While in a chamber, the water receives doses of UV energy.
To be effective, a minimum dosage of 16,000 microwatt second per square centimeter is applied based upon a 2L volume.
•Since the treatment does not change either physical or chemical properties, the water is ready for use when it leaves the purifying unit.
Fundamental mechanism of UV disinfection or inactivation:
•Studies show that DNA molecules in the nucleus of the organism absorb ultraviolet light.
•If two thymine bases are located adjacent to each other, absorption of a UV photon by one of the thymines leads to formation of a chemical bond between the two thymines (called a thymine dimer).
•This disrupts the structure of the DNA.
•DNA cannot replicate in cell mitosis, thus sterilization has taken place.
Benefits of utilizing UV technology for water purification:
•No need for toxic and expensive chemicals
•Scalable to treat millions of gallons per day.
•Extremely low cost operation
•Once installed, the units will only need periodic cleaning and lamp replacement .
What is a Germicidal or UVGI Lamp?
Germicidal or Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) lamps are used to: disinfect air and water; cure inks and coatings, disinfect foods and destroy pollutants in water and air through UV-based “advanced oxidation”.
UV energy can be effective in killing biological contaminants such as mold/fungi, bacteria and viruses.
For air disinfection, lamps are typically placed inside air handling ducts, mobile room air cleaning units and in special fixtures mounted toward the ceiling in rooms.
The most common applications are in hospital / health care facilities, food processing plants, shelters, prisons, and other commercial uses where it is important to eliminate biological contaminants.
The target wavelength for most ozone-free air purification applications is 254 nanometers.
For water purification, ozone producing wavelengths are included and the target wavelength is 185 nanometers.
How does a Germicidal or UVGI Lamp Work?
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation is produced by low-pressure mercury lamps similar to fluorescent lamps without a phosphor and with a quartz bulb. These lamps emit UV in the 200nm to 300nm range or that portion of the UV spectrum called UV-C. Also known as “shortwave” UV, it includes the target germicidal wavelength of 254nm.
95% of the relative intensity occurs at the mercury discharge line of 254 nanometers – proven to be the most effective in germicidal applications.
More on UVGI.
Ultraviolet rays have shorter wavelengths than visible light. A wavelength, the distance between the crests of two waves, is often measured in units called nanometers. A nanometer (nm) is a billionth of a meter, or about 1/25,000,000 inch.
Wavelengths of visible light range from about 400 to 700 nm. Ultraviolet wavelengths range from about 1 to 400 nm and are beyond the range of visible light.
Ultraviolet technology is a non-chemical approach to disinfection. In this method of disinfection, nothing is added which makes this process simple, inexpensive and requires very low maintenance.
Ultraviolet purifiers utilize germicidal lamps that are designed and calculated to produce a certain dosage of ultraviolet (usually at least 16,000 microwatt seconds per square centimeter but many units actually have a much higher dosage.)
The principle of design is based on a product of time and intensity – you must have a certain amount of both for a successful design.
Ultra Violet irradiation is an effective method of killing a broad range of microbes. In essence, the UV radiation breaks the molecular bonds in the organism’s DNA.
The most effective wavelength for accomplishing this is 263nm; however, the very intense 254nm output from low pressure Hg lamps is also very effective, as well as broader spectral output from medium pressure UV lamps.
UV disinfects through a photochemical process.
The contaminants that pollute the indoor environment are almost entirely based upon organic or carbon-based compounds.
These compounds breakdown when exposed to high intensity UV at 240 to 280 nm.
Short-wave ultraviolet light can destroy DNA in living microorganisms and breakdown organic material found in indoor air.
UVC effectiveness is directly related to intensity and exposure time.
Germicidal lamps emit UV which can be harmful. Caution notices are provided in accordance with ANSI / IESNA RP-27.3-96 Recommended Practice for Photobiological Safety for Lamps – Risk Group Classification & Labeling.
Germicidal lamps are in Risk Group 3 (High Risk). Avoid exposure to eyes and skin to unshielded lamp. Skin or eye injury will result. Proper fixturing and operation is essential for safe and effective application of this product.
Anne Rammelsberg, a chemistry professor at Millikin University, offers this explanation:
Germicidal ultraviolet (UVC) light kills cells by damaging their DNA. The light initiates a reaction between two molecules of thymine, one of the bases that make up DNA. The resulting thymine dimer is very stable, but repair of this kind of DNA damage-
-usually by excising or removing the two bases and filling in the gaps with new nucleotides–is fairly efficient.
Even so, it breaks down when the damage is extensive. The longer the exposure to UVC light, the more thymine dimers are formed in the DNA and the greater the risk of an incorrect repair or a “missed” dimer. If cellular processes are disrupted because of an incorrect repair or remaining damage, the cell cannot carry out its normal functions. If the damage is extensive and widespread, the cell will die.
SPECTRUM of light ranges from the infrared at wavelengths longer than visible light to the ultraviolet at wavelengths shorter than visible light.
Ultraviolet (UV) light induces the formation of covalent linkages on DNA and thereby prevents microbes from reproducing. Without reproduction, the microbes become far less dangerous. ( YOU WILL NOTE NOT TOTALLY ELIMINATED -Watchman )
Germicidal UV-C light in the short wavelength range of 100–280 nm acts on thymine, one of the four base nucleotides in DNA.
When a germicidal UV photon is absorbed by a thymine molecule that is adjacent to another thymine within the DNA strand, a covalent bond or dimer between the molecules is created.
This thymine dimer prevents enzymes from “reading” the DNA and copying it, thus neutering the microbe.
Hydro-Photon introduced the portable UV water purifier, with the brand name SteriPEN. These UV water purifiers are lightweight and work very quickly. Still, there are limits to this technology.
Water turbidity (i.e., the amount of dissolved solids contained in the water to be treated) must be low, such that the water is clear, for UV purification to work well.
Also, water treated with UV still has the microbes present in the water, only with their means for reproduction turned “off”. In the event that such UV-treated water containing neutered microbes is exposed to visible light (specifically, wavelengths of light over 330-500 nm) for any significant period of time, a process known as photoreactivation can take place, whereby there becomes a possibility for repairing the damage in the bacteria’s reproduction DNA, potentially rendering them once more capable of reproducing and causing disease. UV-treated water must therefore not be exposed to visible light for any significant period of time after UV treatment, before consumption, to avoid ingesting reactivated and dangerous microbes.
For long term usage, the issue of obtaining batteries to power portable water purification UV devices can be a concern.
Another concern with UV portable water purification is that some pathogens are hundreds of times less sensitive to UV light than others, with protozoan cysts being among the least sensitive.
As a result, Giardia are not destroyed or deactivated by most UV treatment units, being especially resistant to UV.
Fortunately, Giardia are among the easiest pathogens to filter out of water.
A viable two-step portable water purification approach, providing greater protection than UV purification alone, is to first filter suspect water, thereby removing the large UV-resistant pathogens, prior to using UV purification.
About Micron Filters
1. A micron filter is a device that uses filter papers with pore size in the range of microns. With such small pore sizes, these filters are a perfect choice for both industrial and home use. Because of their efficiency and their relative ease in cleaning, most filter devices manufactured today use micron filters. The pore size of these filters can range from 5 micron to 1 micron. Depending on the size of the pores, the price varies. The period in brackets here is 5 microns ( . ) so you have some idea of scale
Different Types of Micron Filters
2. Depending on the material and type of filter, micron water filters are classified as spun sediment filters, string wound sediment filters and pleated sediment filters. These micron filters are rated on their efficiency with the use of a micron rating system, which basically measures the pore sizes. Such filters can be rated on an absolute or nominal scale. Absolute scale signifies that 99 percent of the openings are of that size while the nominal suggests that only 80 percent maximum conform to the size. ( EPA SAYS as LOW as 50% !! )
Spun Sediment Filter
3. Spun sediment filter consists of fine threads of polypropylene woven together in such a manner that the outer layers have a lower micron rating while the inner layers have progressively higher ratings. Therefore, the micron rating of a spun filter is always quoted in terms of nominal micron rating. One advantage that this filter has over other types is that as water passes through the filter, larger particles and sediments settle outside the outer layers while only smaller sized materials stay back within the filter.
String Wound Filter
4. String wound filter is very similar to string wound filter in terms of construction. It is made from polypropylene. However, the purpose of string wound filters is to hold back maximum amount of dirt and sand particles. It is for this reason that string wound filters are used to filter water wells. Obviously, these filters get only a nominal rating.
Pleated Sediment Filter
5. Pleated sediment filters consist of only one layer that is made from a variety of materials such as cellulose and polyesters. In fact, this type of filter is commonly used in many domestic filter systems today. The price of each filter paper depends directly on its thickness and material as well as its micron rating.
Ceramics & Membranes
6. advanced ceramics or membranes to filter pathogens from the water. Ceramic filters are effective for filtering protozoa, but may clog easily due to particulates in the water. Typical ceramic filter elements have pores from 2 to 5 microns in size. Since bacteria such as cholera and salmonella are typically between 0.2 and 1.0 microns in size, bacteria pass through many of these filters. Viruses such as Hepatitis A and B, rotavirus, and the Norwalk virus are typically below 0.004 microns in size, allowing them to pass easily through the ceramic filter element. These viruses and some bacteria may even penetrate reverse osmosis purifiers.
Reverse osmosis (RO)
7. Reverse osmosis (RO) water purifiers are capable of rejecting bacteria, salts, sugars, proteins, particles, dyes, heavy metals, chlorine and related byproducts, and other contaminants with a molecular weight greater than 150-250 daltons. The reverse osmosis systems require pressurized water that is not available in emergencies and in many parts of the developing world. Reverse osmosis membranes may foul unless the incoming water is carefully filtered before the reverse osmosis system. The RO systems may also need water softening equipment upstream of the RO purifier where the water has high mineral content (hard water) to prevent membrane fouling.
There are two primary types of RO membrane: Thin Film Composite (TFC) and Cellulose Triacetate (CTA). TFC membranes filter out more contaminants than CTA membranes, but they are more susceptible to damage by chlorine. Since the RO membranes are subject to degradation by chlorine, iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, and to bacterial attack, a sediment filter and a granular activated carbon (GAC) pre-filter is often used ahead of the RO system. Additional treatment such as GAC is needed for volatile organic compounds such as benzene, MTBE, trichloroethylene, trihalomethanes, and radon. The RO process is fairly slow and may require from 3 to 10 gallons (11.4 to 38 liters) of untreated water for each gallon (3.8 liters) of purified water, making it problematic for use in areas where water is scarce. RO water treatment is not recommended for use without secondary treatment such as UV treatment for water that may contain biological contaminants such as viruses and bacteria.
8. The sand filter, may have a back flush valve which can be manually or automatically operated. An automatic valve would back flush the system on certain intervals that could automatically shorten or lengthen based on automatically measured cumulative water flow through the system, or the product of cumulative water flow and turbidity.
9. a very fine stainless steel screen (a sixty mesh stainless steel screen) is used on the inlet of a water purifier. A cone shaped or corrugated or cylindrical screen may be used to increase surface area to reduce flow resistance and to reduce clogging of this filter.
Activated Carbon Pre-Filter
10. activated charcoal pre-filter or post-filter and a water softener before the reverse osmosis filter to prevent build-up on the reverse osmosis membrane. activated carbon block filter or granular activated carbon (GAC) filter into the system either before or after the UV system to remove organic chemicals, pesticides, and other impurities which will adsorb onto the surface of the activated carbon filter.
Activated Alumina Filter
11. An activated alumina filter can be used to remove arsenic, phosphate, sulfate, chromate, fluoride, but not nitrate from the water. It is preferentially used as a pre-filter.
12. A fine cloth filter can be used on the inlet to filter out small particles. One or more layers of cloth may be used. The particles will become trapped by the fibers of the cloth.
13. The system may be equipped with a water softener, either a powered salt-recharged type or a non-powered type to soften the water before entrance to the water purifier. The water softener can reduce or eliminate the precipitation of calcium and magnesium compounds which may occur on the inner surfaces of the system, possibly including the lamp or FEP coated lamp surface. the sand filters, the activated carbon filter, and the activated alumina filter are located in series in a third tube alongside the other two UVC irradiation tubes. Alternately, a fourth parallel tube is employed as activated charcoal filter alongside the two UV tubes and the sand filter tube.
Let’s look at the micron size of the nastys:
- Giardia Lamblia 8-12 Microns
- Cryptosporidium Parvum 4-6 microns
- Bacteria such as E.Coli and salmonella 0.2-4 microns
- Viruses 0.004 to 0.1 microns only a very few filters can trap Viruses Ultrafilters and Reverse osmosis. But are easy to kill with a disinfectant IE chlorine.
Cryptosporidium parvum is the main nasty you want to be rid of.
Forget about NOMINAL filters, ABSOLUTE filters are the ones to buy.
Also, EPA only Registers Units that have a antimicrobial or bacteriostatic agent, and is not an endorsement it just verifies the germ related claim is true. Look for UL registration or Water Quality Association gold seal or look up at www.nsf.org
Heterotrophic Bacteria and Chlorine
Most experts agree that the use of chlorine in public drinking water was one of the greatest advancements in public health during the twentieth century. The disadvantage of chlorine is that it creates a bad taste and smell in drinking water, so many consumers utilize carbon filtration or other water treatment methods to take it out. Unfortunately, this creates a new set of problems. Many consumers don’t realize that unchlorinated water can be a prime breeding ground for bacteria, much like an unchlorinated swimming pool. Whether unchlorinated water is stored in a bottle or in a water cooler, bacteria can quickly grow and multiply. It may even create a biofilm, or slimy coating around the storage container. While in most cases this bacteria isn’t disease causing, it’s still not pleasant knowing that you’re paying money for bottled water or for a filter cooler where bacteria is growing. To control this bacteria growth, bottled water coolers and filter coolers should be sanitized with a chlorine solution on a regular basis or should utilize a water treatment technology that eliminates the need for periodic cooler sanitizing.
Both iodine and chlorine are effective at eradicating most bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. However, cryptosporidium parvum is one of several chlorine-resistant pathogens which is increasing in importance. Cryptosporidium parvum is an intestinal parasite that can be life threatening to infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.
Typically, it takes about seven days for symptoms of cryptosporidiosis to appear, long after the initial exposure occurred. The illness often can last up to two weeks.
Removing protozoa like cryptosporidium parvum oocysts and giardia with chlorine purification is difficult because it requires a high product of chlorine concentration and application time. Since adding too much chlorine to drinking water can cause organ damage or death in humans, the concentration of chlorine that can be used to disinfect the water is limited. Therefore, the time required for chlorine disinfection of cryptosporidium is often prohibitive.
Chlorine has been shown to produce hazardous trihalomethanes when it is added to water with organic contaminants, as is typically found in natural sources such as rivers, lakes and streams. Trihalomethanes are also environmental pollutants, and many such as chloroform are considered carcinogenic. Additionally, chlorine is ineffective if the pH of the water is below 7.5.
If the chlorine is from a bleach bottle more than six months old, it loses its potency.
Both iodine and chlorine can cause side effects in humans if used for an extended time.
Iodine treated drinking water is not suitable for pregnant women or women over age 50 or people with thyroid problems.
Many modern water purification systems use chloramines instead of chlorine, adding increased sophistication to the treatment systems.
Chlorine dioxide is also used as a purification agent that kills most bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Due to the explosion hazard, it is typically manufactured at the point of use, increasing purification system complexity and expense.
Chlorine dioxide purification produces reaction by-products, the toxicity of which is unknown.
Ozone is the most effective disinfectant for all types of pathogens in drinking water. It leaves minimal or no residue in the water. However, ozonation systems are expensive to implement.
Described in the OLD Boy Scout manual, two tablets in a canteen were said to be enough.
🙂 , not likely, but better than nothing AND for short term. You can find modern equivalents at sporting goods stores. The same with drinking water chlorine and iodine tablets.
I consider boiling the premiere treatment of water in ANY emergency !
After spring rains, floods, emergencies, and main breaks, the municipal water departments generally issue boil orders.
You will want boiled water to CLEAN any other system you set up or risk infecting it with contaminated water. The primary drawback to boiling is that after some volume is lost to evaporation concentrations of heavy metals and other pollutants may occur. It also leaves water “flat” tasting, so aeration by pouring from one container to another several times can put some oxygen back in, maybe even a sterile air stone and fish tank air pump could help.
Home distillers are EXPENSIVE !
As mentioned above, the water should be used fairly recent to being distilled or because it is not chlorinated, it can pick up and grow bacteria, so it is not practical to STORE distilled water for any long period of time IMHO.
Except for perhaps an emergency supply that you will distill AGAIN at time of use ! If you are NOT used to it, it also tastes flat, largely due to it not having ANY minerals in it, and should be aerated and chilled if possible. It is the BEST water for immune compromised persons. wound cleaning, brushing teeth, etc.
Ever since 10th grade chemistry, I have recognized the value of the glass condenser. You simply have some sort of closed container to heat and boil the contaminated water. The steam rises and travels into the interior tube of the condenser, the condenser itself has cold water circulating around the inner tube which takes the heat from the steam and it thus condenses and drips into the collecting container at the other end. VERY simple, easy to keep clean if you get the scientific glassware, although not very portable as it is glass and could break. you could make something out of metal like copper similar to the moonshiner’s still, it is the SAME principal.
THE drawback is if alcohol or gasoline or other similar chemical contaminants are in the water, they will boil off first as they have a lower boil point and condense first as well, so you still run the risk of contamination.
You could distill water from the toilet tank, hotwater heater ( NEVER DRINK FROM A HWH DIRECTLY ) fish tanks, swimming pool, for a known source of relatively uncontaminated water.
- http://www.freshwatersystems.com/c-166-water-distillers.aspx <– & other water stuff & info
Here in the US, the bottled water is safe and regulated somewhat.
NEVER buy bottled water in a foreign country from a street vendor as they simply refill bottles from whatever source !
(same goes for meat on a stick from a cart-can you say cat LOL)
Yes, EVEN bottled water has a shelf life, so read the directions on the bottle to KNOW how long it is good to store. You can always boil and/or distill it if it is expired. I prefer Poland Spring Brand, as it is Maine local, they are a great company with high standards, Maine water is some of the best in the country. and naturally replaced as we get a LOT of good rain and snow. I’d say MAKE sure it is US bottled for long term storage. Check consumer reports as some have high concentrations of undesirable chemicals and compounds.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
As a homeowner or even renter, after reading and consideration, you will most likely want to further treat you household water. Contamination can occur at any time, and anywhere along the delivery system to your tap, showerhead, faucet.
One further note familiar to travelers is that showering, brushing teeth, ice cubes, washing hands and utensils, and even mixed drinks can contain contaminated water. Once you know you are dealing with potentially contaminated water, great care must be taken not to cross contaminate containers, cooking utensils, tooth brushes etc. Microbes can enter thru eyes, ears nose and mouth, and from hands washed in contaminated water that touches something you put in your mouth, eyes, nose, ears. So be careful, act like everything has cooties !
It is plain to see that even for a home system multiple stages of filtering and even treatment are necessary.
The BIG question is expense, and how far into it you want to get.
http://www.ezwater.com/ <–as advertised on GlennBeckProgram could be a start.
At any rate, under normal conditions you want to start with a water test.
A water test kit can be obtained from your local state office for water quality.
The kits range from $40 to very expensive depending on how detailed you want the testing to be.
It is worthwhile to add to your test arsenic and radon testing, and any known or suspected contaminates IE: MBTE if you live next to a gas station and on a well.
Once you KNOW what is in the water you can design a system to mitigate any issues.
I’d say at least, you can plan to entry point whole house particulate filters, of say 10 & 5 microns (or both 10) and then have a 3-4 year supply of replacement filters and changes them regularly as per instructions or when they LOOK ratty (I prefer the clear housing on them rather than white, so I can SEE what’s going on inside them.)
For my system around these two filter housings, I am going to add UVC LED strips to help start the disinfectant process.
While the clear housing may or not be UV stable, they are cheap enough to replace at $40 a piece, and I should get at least a few years out of them. It will also reduce or eliminate SLIME bacteria.
These are just for large particles -a catch all, to help protect the better more expensive filters downstream.
Then I plan on adding in two 5 micron whole house filters in line, with the second being fail safe and added protection.
I may instead go with an ultra type filter that has a high flow rate depending on maintenance rates and media replacement costs.
That will catch most everything discussed above.
I don’t have hard water nor other contaminants, but may add in an arsenic mitigation device, and a activated carbon filter whole house housing for taste before my designated drinking water tap.
For the field and emergency:
This is another difficult matter. For one thing, not all emergency’s are the same.
- Will you stay at home or be on the road or foot?
- will it be because of a natural disaster, man made, or flood ?
- How many people ?
- How long ?
In my Opinion FLOOD is the worst, aside from nuclear.
Look at Katrina, the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, and now Australia.
They all over-run banks, dykes, they drag in large land masses used for farming to industry, flood out water treatment plants.
The result is a toxic slurry of mud, fecal matter, and chemicals aside from microbes you are faced with chemical mitigation NOT easy nor cheap. You can store up months of bottled water, but not enough to wash in. If your storage area is flooded or washed away you are at square one again. Very difficult, and frankly the best option is get away and STAY away.
Sadly far too often we see people doing the opposite. Insurance and govt programs pay to rebuild in the same damn spot, kind of insane, as it WILL occur again.
A simple water main break often results in a boil order, bottled water is best during those periods for cooking drinking and teeth brushing.
A closed mouth shower can be done. as we generally don’t have any nasty tropical microbes.
If you are in a bugout situation, carrying as much bottled water as possible is one option, however it won’t last more than a few days.
The new hydration backpacks are good easy way to carry., the canteen on a web belt military style are good too, I have two canteens on a web belt. military surplus, that I use for hiking.
Barring chemical contamination, this seems to be the solution for on the move:
It is a brand new product, and as such you will find WILDLY Varying prices.
perform periodic searches using this term:
” CamelBak All Clear UV Water Purification Bottle ”
and you will find a bazillion places selling them.
HOWEVER, as noted above, the microbe is sterile, but still alive !
I would personally STILL want to filter it as a second procedure.
And frankly, after looking at many devices, I AM going to recommend Doug’s find of the Sawyer system.
For longer term:
To be honest, in all of the systems, I would want to boil the water first, then filter and aerate it. Wash everything with boiled water. including hands.
God Help us if we had to live on it more than a few months at the longest.
You probably want two or three for backup and/or supplying more people than you expect.
You can see ultimately we need to have a stable environment in which to live, not simply survive.
We need, and take for granted a water system that is healthy and secure, AND in great abundance.
Filtering can do a lot but not all, as chemicals that are tasteless, odorless, and colorless can be present.
Even bottled water is NOT a long term solution and has a shelf life.
Of all the things we can prepare for, water for drinking is the most vital and most difficult.
You can clearly see, that chemical contamination is the most devastating event for our water, VERY difficult to overcome.
Everybody requires water, and the young, those already sick or with compromised immune systems MUST have pure water.
You will note I left out the SODIS method of “purification” as it barely works, and not viable for anyone but the strongest of persons. It saddens me that some areas of the world, it is used to support a population.
Finally, if you read this far, I think it valuable that we USE the comments section, let us know what YOU use for your home water system, filters etc
Let us KNOW what you have found for interesting survival water systems, if we share this info we may be able to find an inexpensive solution or solutions to the varying issues in water quality !
ALL LINKS in this article:
http://www.freshwatersystems.com/c-166-water-distillers.aspx <– & other water stuff & info
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