Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Water Filtration

Today, I want to go over the importance of having equipment to filter water. As some know, the average person can only go three days without water. 80% of the United States water supply is not safe to drink, and will cause illness. So in my humble opinion, I believe every person should have some type of water filtration device available. 

We as Americans are very jaded because we all have water coming through pipes to our house at the turn of a knob, and most believe it will always be there for us. Hopefully it will. But, think of a case such as having the worst winter on record hit in your area, and your water pipes freeze! And for sure, you would not be the only household to have that problem. So with frozen pipes and no water, with the city out trying to fix many issues, and possible bad weather creating a terrible situation, it could be days or weeks until you have running water again.

There are quite a few different ways to filter water. The most common, and known method, is to boil it. When boiling water to filter it, all sediment and particulate should already be filtered out (coffee filters work great for this), and you should have the water in question boil for at least 3 minutes, making sure it comes to a good rolling boil. (By boiling the water, it will make it taste very flat, you can fix this by putting the water in a bottle and shaking it for a few minutes to add oxygen).

You can also make water drinkable by adding bleach. Yes, bleach is harmful to humans, but in small doses, over short periods of time, it is perfectly safe. For this task, you want to use unscented 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite bleach. By adding 1/2 a teaspoon per 5 gallons, or a full teaspoon to cloudy water, it is safe to drink after 30 minutes. Although it is recommended that if possible, you should boil the water first. (It isnt going to taste great, but it will be safe). (When treated, the water should have a slight chlorine taste and smell, if not, add more.)

A very cost effective way is to use HTHdry chlorine (65-68%) such as Pool Shock, 1/4 of a teaspoon per 300 gallons. Yet again, it will not taste great, but it can do the job, this is a great way to purify stagnant water such as a pool or water that has been stored, so it can be drinkable again. Although, when chlorine is added, you must wait 4 hours or more for it to work.

The absolute best way to filter water, is to get a water filtration system. For a home system, you can build one for less than $100. Such as Berkey Bucket Water Filter, or make one yourself. For a portable system, the overall best system is a Katadyn Pocket Water Filter, on a single filter, they can produce up to 15,000 gallons of clean water. Proper care is needed to get that much flow out of the filter though, and try your best to use the cleanest water possible. 

You can also use Iodine Crystals, Water Filtering Straws, Water Purification Tablets, or UltraViolet Water Purification Wands.

When gathering water from a source, try to get it from moving water. Stagnant water that is not constantly moving is typically much more full of harmful bacteria. So try and get your water from a stream or river. When you gather the water, try and scoop only the top layer so you do not get much sediment. After gathering the water, to make it easier, if you have time, let the bucket sit for an hour or more so all of the sediment will come to rest at the bottom, and you can use a cup or bottle to gather the water off of the top to be filtered.

The choice is yours. But I believe everyone should have at least one way to filter water in case of an emergency. It could save your life.


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