This is part one of our series on water. Each of these articles are a little exhaustive and yet they are of course there is still more to be said. Water is such an immersive (snicker) subject that it seemed most logical to make it a series.
This week I wanted to Focus on Water purification and filtration, YES they are different!
At its most basic, water filtration is the process of ridding water of any impurities through a physical barrier, chemicals, or a biological process. An easy example of water filtration is boiling water or cleansing impurities with carbon filters. These systems are often small in nature and are sometimes thought to improve the taste of water. The key element to remember in terms of a water filtration system is that they focus largely on impurities. These systems can be used to remove even the tiniest of particles, often including bacteria and microbial cysts. Filtration systems can be permanent or portable, and the size you need will entirely depend upon the amount of water you want to filter. However, it is important to note that water filtration systems do not treat viruses in any way. While these systems may make water appear to be clean, they cannot be relied upon as a sole means to ensure safe drinking water for you or your family.
Similar to water filtration, the process of water purification works to remove impurities from water. However, the impurities focused on in the purification process are those that relate to the overall safety of the water: biological contaminants, viruses, chemicals, and other materials. Water purification works as a chemical process usually using either iodine or chlorine. Although iodine is the preferred chemical, chlorine is often used in its place to make sure those with an iodine allergy are still able to consume the cleansed water. There are also non- chemical methods of purification as well, such a micro membrane elements, ceramic filters, and carbon filters which have such small pores that it is impossible for these types of impurities to pass through the filter. It is important to remember though that simply purifying water cannot always remove every impurity found in the water (see chemical contaminants below).
There are 5 potential contaminants in water that you NEED to be aware of..
Protozoal infections, parasitic infections (Kingdom Animalia), bacterial infections, viral infections and chemical contaminants…
Protozoal infections, most often comes from sewage contamination, or animal manure, but can also occur with ground water contamination and even be found around campgrounds where beavers and humans may be in the same place.
There can be some pretty nasty symptoms from an infection, flu-like symptoms, watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, substantial loss of weight, bloating, increased gas, nausea.
Next up is Parasitic infections (Kingdom Animalia) – This is my own personal nightmare for some reason ever since I was a boy and Checkov got that worm thing in his ear on the the second star trek movie The Wrath of Khan, I think the scariest thing in the world is having a parasite living inside you..
If thats not scary enough, water borne parasites are extremely common, basically any time you’re around rivers, streams and ponds you’re around parasites. Most parasitic infections happen when you consume the eggs of the nasty little bugger. Things like tapeworm are high up on the list here.
Bacterial infections, are some of the most common types of infection you may hear about and most often when a city issues a boil water notice it’s the result of a test being positive for a bacterial contamination and the most common positive test result is E. coli. But wait there’s more. Other bacterium that may infect water include, Botulism, Cholera, Dysentery, Salmonellosis (Salmonella) and more!
Viral infections are less common but just because they are less common in the Pacific Northwest does not mean they cannot happen. In fact after a large scale emergency where there may be no running water and poor sanitation, it is far more likely you would encounter water borne viral infection such as Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis (polio) and SARS.
If you are not freaked out yet, don’t worry there is MORE…
Chemical Contamination is so much more common than we would think, in fact I use a Berkey brand filter in my home every day because of my concerns over chemical contamination.
“The Willamette has undergone a lot of change over the past 200 years. It has been dredged, channelized, diked, dammed and contaminated. The City and its partners are working to improve the health of our rivers–and there have been improvements: in 2008-09, the river’s water quality was rated excellent through Portland (City of Portland Service Efforts And Accomplishments: 2008-09).” -PortlandOnline.com
Does this mean I would drink the water? Not generally, though the water has been given an excellent rating it does not mean that it does not contain a whole pool of chemicals. There is an A-Z list of chemicals found in in the river that you can read here and the reality is that after a major earthquake there may be more. If bridges fail there could be vehicles that fall into the water releasing oil, fuel, transmission fluid and more…
When collecting water I highly recommend using side streams. Although the water from the side streams still needs to be filtered and purified you are much less likely to have to deal with chemical contamination then you would if you were obtaining water from the larger rivers.
Now that you know what your facing, lets talk about cleaning it out of the water and making it safe to drink!
We offer a wide variety of water filters and water purifiers that are rated to remove almost all of the contaminates listed above. We highly recommend that you include a good filter and a back up just in case in your plan and in your emergency kits.
But what if you did not think ahead? What if your filter was damaged or became inaccessible in the earthquake?
Well the cheapest way and the most effective way to make your water safe is to boil your water. This will eliminate 4 of the 5 possible contaminants. Boiling will kill those nasty bugs, it will however not remove any chemical contaminants from the water.
To boil water:
The time it takes your water to go from 162°F to a rolling boil is the time it takes to make your water safe to drink. Approximately 1 minute of boiling is all that is required. Once your water reaches the boiling point it is not going to get hotter, it is simply going to evaporate. So once your water reaches the boil turn off the heat and conserve your fuel. (source CDC)
Your next option is Chemical Purification (note the difference from chemical contamination) using Iodine 2%, Chlorine (bleach) or Chlorine Dioxide to purify the water and make it safe to drink.
Iodine 2% tincture is not 100% effective against cryptosporidium cysts
And Chlorine regular household bleach has been known to kill giardia but NOT the cysts of cryptosporidium but Chlorine Dioxide has been known to kill cysts of cryptosporidium and giardia.
These methods take at least 30 minutes to be effective and are best paired with filtration. If you do not have a basic filter available use a teeshirt or a bandana to pass the water though before using your chemical purification process to remove as many of the large particles as possible.
Iodine 2% Tinture – 3-5 drops per US quart.
Chlorine is 2-3 drops per US quart unless your water is cloudy or turbid then you will need to double the amount.
Chlorine Dioxide comes in Tablets we carry those at our store, by Aquamira, 1 tablet for 1 quart, shake it up and leave it for 30 minutes.
This all seems like pretty scary stuff, but the reality is that water is essential to life, and having good skills when it comes to the knowledge to purify water is essential both in long term and short term survival situations.
My best recommendation would be to prevent the need for chemical filtration or even boiling by purchasing a high quality filter before you need it. And once you do purchase one, be sure to test the filter, there is nothing worse then having a filter and then finding out when you need it that it does not work due to a manufacturing flaw, or not understanding the directions in a critical time.
I wanted to bring this week’s guest post to you from Rebecca at the Organic Survivalist site where she gives some insight on 5 methods of purifying water without using toxic chemicals.
– Joshua Patterson
5 Methods of Purifying Water Without Using Toxic Chemicals
Clean drinking water is one of the most important issues we face every day…whether we are in an emergency situation or simply in every day life. We can go about 3 weeks without food but only 3 days without water.
People consider the issue of water purification primarily for emergency situations but any water you drink these days (including even tap & bottled water) the question of whether or not it is pure clean water and safe to drink will come into play.
Using chlorine or hydrogen peroxide to purify water may kill the bacteria in the water but it doesn’t actually make it safe to drink. These chemicals are quite toxic to the human body and cause all sorts of internal problems.
Did you know:
Chlorinated water can destroy polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E in the body while generating toxins capable of free radical damage (oxidation).This might explain why supplementation of the diet with essential fatty acids like flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil and antioxidants like vitamin E, selenium and others helps so many cases of eczema and dry skin.
Chlorinated water destroys much of the intestinal flora, the friendly bacteria that help in the digestion of food and which protects the body from harmful pathogens. These bacteria are also responsible for the manufacture of several important vitamins like vitamin B12 and vitamin K. Killing beneficial intestinal flora can lead to yeast infections, candida, and leaky gut.
It is also not uncommon for chronic skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, seborrhea and eczema to clear up or to be significantly improved by switching to unchlorinated drinking water and supplementing the diet with lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus.
Chlorinated water contains chemical compounds called trihalomethanes which are carcinogens resulting from the combination of chlorine with compounds in water. These chemicals, also known as organochlorides, do not degrade very well and are generally stored in the fatty tissues of the body (breast, other fatty areas, mother’s milk, blood and semen). Organochlorides can cause mutations by altering DNA, suppress immune system function and interfere with the natural controls of cell growth.
Chlorine has been documented to aggravate asthma, especially in those children who make use of chlorinated swimming pools.
Several studies also link chlorine and chlorinated by-products to a greater incidence of bladder, breast and bowel cancer as well as malignant melanoma. One study even links the use of chlorinated tap water to congenital cardiac anomalies.
Fackelman, K.A., Hints of a chlorine-cancer connection. Science News; Flaten, T.P., Chlorination of drinking water and cancer incidence in Norway. International Journal of Epidermiology; Messina V., Chlorine and cancer. Good Medicine
Below are five safe non-toxic methods of purifying water during emergency situations, outside of boiling water, if you didn’t have access to a heat source to boil your water.
Stabilized Oxygen Water Purification Drops
Superior to chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, Stabilized Oxygen Water Purification Drops are not only safe and non-toxic…they are actually good for you! Oxygen destroys harmful bacteria and cleans poisons out of the system. Because Stabilized Oxygen Water Purification Drops are completely non-toxic, unlike chlorine and hydrogen peroxide, they can be used medicinally and you can drink them in water to prevent illness. Stabilized Oxygen Water Purification Drops can also be used topically on wounds, to kill harmful bacteria. They are an ideal item for your emergency medical kit.
ION-X Stabilized Oxygen Water Purification Drops eliminates harmful bacteria while leaving beneficial bacteria intact, and eliminates toxins, germs, and viruses. A 2 ounce bottle will purify up to 55 gallons of water. ANY water source in the world can be made safe for consumption.
Simply add twenty drops of ION-X to one gallon of water.
Add 100 drops to every 5 gallons
One bottle of ION-X will treat 55 gallons of water.
The bottles are small…only 2 oz and take up little size or weight and are great to fit easily into your go bag.
There are a couple of sites I’ve found that carry the ION-X Stabilized Oxygen Water Purification Drops.
Peggy Layton’s site has them but I’m not sure this is an active site. I’ve contacted the site several times with no response and have called the number on the site a few times and only received voicemail each time with no call back so I’m not sure.
I had success ordering them from Country Living Mills although they don’t have the most user friendly site. You have to click on the “Store” link then the “Other Products” then scroll down about half way and you’ll see the ION-X Stabilized Oxygen Water Purification Drops.
Russian Psychotronic Harmony Bio-Resonator Cards
This technology might sound a bit out there but the research is showing up in many scientific journals and is starting to gain visibility and notability.
Ten years ago, the best scientists of Russia — mathematicians and physicists — gathered and they managed to describe the qualities of water. They made an exact mathematical description.
Water has a molecular structure. Water, or any matter, has a vortex structure within each molecule. The information is contained within the motion of the vortexes. All matter can be described in such a way. When water is coming down and through the ground, crystals affect this water, and they pass on the information that they hold on a molecular level. The vortex is the place where the matter is synthesized.
The mathematicians and physicists were able to describe the process that takes place inside water, and were able to understand what processes were happening there. They were also able to create some equipment that can restore the water to its original nature.
To purify water without physically contacting it, Russian physician Victor Vergun has developed a bit of technology that looks something like a credit card. A container of water or juice is set on it, and in a few minutes the liquid is measurably purer.
So how does this work exactly?
According to Dr. Vergun, the recorded structure of all living matter is printed on the “applicator cards” [on which you would place the glass of water]. He states: “We were able to define and duplicate this natural mechanism, in mathematical terms. And we have written this process down on this piece of paper.
Matter is either being synthesized or destroyed, constantly. When this equipment resonates with anything, then matter is being affected by the energy field radiated by this equipment.”
The devices they have created are small cards impregnated with a new fractal technology. These cards are used in Russia to regenerate energy fields, including returning water to its pristine, spring-like condition. (We’ve seen one of the cards turn a murky glass of water completely clear in a few seconds.)
The card you will use most often is no bigger than a typical business card. Larger cards, (about 6 inches tall, and another that’s the same width and 4 inches tall) come with various nature photos or designs on the front and can be hung on the wall in a picture frame to harmonize your living space. Tiny ones (about 1 x 1½”) can be inserted into cellphones to protect the human aura from being fractured by radiation.
The BioResonator cards are something that can be packed into a go bag quite easily and take up virtually no space or weight….and they can multi-task as not only a water purifier but as an environmental radiation protector as well.
LifeSaver Water Bottles
This is an AMAZING water filtration bottle that filters out even nanoparticle sized viruses! There are a few travel bottles on the market designed with filters that remove bacteria and chemicals but this is the first one I’ve seen that filters out viruses too.
Check out the video below for a demonstration of the LIFESAVER® water filtration bottle by the inventor, Michael Pritchard.
The LifeSaver Bottle comes as a sports bottle style as shown above and then there’s also a larger jerry can style that will filter about 20,000 liters of water without the aid of chemicals.
Both styles filter out both bacteria and viruses….not just bacteria so you can feel safe that you’re drinking completely clean pure water in any situation.
The sports bottle size would fit easily into a go bag and the jerry can size would be great just to keep in your car.
Berkey Water Filtration Bottles
Berkey water filtration systems are probably the most well known brand in the emergency preparedness world.
The Go Berkey system for traveling removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces unhealthy heavy metals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove red food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs.
It doesn’t remove viruses though…unlike the LifeSaver Bottle. But it’s a LOT less expensive for the Go Berkey system than the LifeSaver ($139 vs. $245) and adding a few drops of stabilized oxygen drops to the filtered water would kill any viruses solving that issue…but you have less things to pack with the LifeSaver Bottle…so those are the considerations between the two.
The larger Berkey filters DO filter out viruses so if you’re sheltering in then the Big Berkey Filters are a great option for the money.
But what if there was no water around to filter? This is a scenario that could happen. Even if you had the greatest water filtration systems in the world it wouldn’t help you if there was no water around to filter. One option is to store water, which takes up a LOT of space that you could be using for other things like supplies, food or garden space.
Atmospheric water generators
An even better option is to generate water out of the humidity in the air. Atmospheric water generators produce safe, clean, pure sparkling water out of the humidity in the air.
Water extracted from the moisture in the air is already relatively “clean” when compared to many other traditional water sources. But, in order to make it pristine, it is still run through 11-12 different filtration processes (depending on which model you purchase).
They have solar, wind, and gas-powered generator power options so that if there was no electricity it can still generate about 8 gallons of water per day ensuring clean drinkable water for you and your family at all times.
This option is more for sheltering in. Atmospheric water generators are the size of a water cooler so they wouldn’t fit too well in your car but if you had to shelter in and there was no traditional water source available this would solve that issue.
So these are five completely safe non-toxic ways to purify water in an emergency situation without using harmful chemicals. Just because you might be in a disastrous situation doesn’t mean you have to drink toxic chemically laden water…that would just be postponing getting sick immediately for getting sick down the road.
You can still take care of yourself and your loved ones in a crisis or disaster and stay healthy at the same time. Drinking safe non-toxic water is available in many options.