It was 4 am and the flow of water from the tap conspicuously lacked vigor as I begin the tooth brushing process. We just had Hurricane Irma visit as a tropical storm. Many, including schools, are without power. My mind leaps to the conclusion that the water treatment plant is also out of power and I am in a real fix. No way I am filling my 50-gallon barrel on such a tentative flow. I curse the utility for not warning us that they could not process water. I also think, “Of course.” So I start thinking about hauling. All my collapsible 5-gallon bladders are stored at a secondary location. I come up with two urns totaling 7.5 gallons of capacity and a 5 gallon capacity plastic jerry can. There is a stack of bottled water cases.
I do the math, and all … Continue reading
I listened to JWR on yet another interview (making the rounds) and wanted to know if you (or Hugh) would be able to suggest a water filter I could use for my kitchen sink. I live in an apartment. Management informed me that a Water-Filtration System (as in reverse osmosis) is not allowed.
Is there anything, not super duper pricey, that I could attach to my faucet? Thanks! – T.N.
Many of our readers use a Berkey water filter. You can get these for under $300 from many of our advertisers. The advantage of the berkey type system is that it is gravity fed so you don’t have to have power. On the Latimer homestead, we use a Multipure Aquaversa system which can generally be had for about the same as a Berkey. The Multipure does require pressurized water. It’s a solid … Continue reading
The understanding of water filtration requires a look at various filtration methods as well as contaminants. Let’s take a look at these.
Water Filtration Methods
Carbon/Activated Carbon Filters
Activated carbon chemically bonds with and removes some contaminants in water filtered through it. Carbon filters vary greatly in effectiveness. Some just remove chlorine and improve taste and odor, while others remove a wide range of contaminants, including asbestos, lead, mercury, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, activated carbon cannot effectively remove common “inorganic” pollutants, such as arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrate, and perchlorate. Generally, carbon filters come in two forms– carbon block and granulated activated carbon.
Carbon block filters contain pulverized activated carbon that is shaped into blocks under high pressure. They are typically more effective than granulated activated carbon filters, because they have more surface area. Their effectiveness depends in part on how quickly water flows through.
Granulated activated carbon … Continue reading
*For those of us who prep, I am tailoring this guide to contaminants that would be found anywhere: radiation from fallout, chemical contamination from industry, contamination from urine and feces, natural sources that one might encounter on a homestead, and the technologies and techniques like filtration that would be most widely available in a SHTF scenario. I am an engineer who has specialized in water treatment in the chemical industry.
Most of us rely on clean tap or bottled water for everything from drinking to cooking to showering. We pay little attention to the process that takes raw water and transforms it into safe clean potable water. Once upon a time our ancestors drank right from streams and lakes. While the quality of this water was most likely better than the quality of water from most modern day surface sources, it was still contaminated with various pathogens and minerals. Even though our ancestors’ digestive tracks were heartier than ours, waterborne illnesses ranging from minor stomach bugs to cholera and dysentery took their tolls.
Many of us believe that a high quality particulate filter coupled with an activated carbon filter will make any source of water safe for human consumption. However, that isn’t necessarily true. Contaminants come in many shapes and sizes. In addition, different contaminates require different technologies and processes. Geography and human development determine where contaminants are found. Consequently, suburbia is not likely to contain agricultural chemicals. PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) aren’t likely to be found rural locations. BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene), found in both gasoline and diesel, can be found anywhere. Continue reading
Mr. Rawles and Mr. Latimer,
As you may have seen in the news, the city of Corpus Christi has, yet again, been the subject of contaminated water. Over the last ~18 months, Corpus Christi has had a series of problems (five or six water boil notices, no drink advisory, et cetera) with the municipal water supply related to E.coli, low chlorine, high chlorine, and most recently chemical contamination Indulin AA-86 Asphalt Emulsion.
I began reading/following the SurvivalBlog several years ago and at a minimum keep a “go box” action packer for hurricane evacuations, et cetera. I have a small amount of supplies (rain barrel, Berkey water filters, WaterBOB, bottled water, MREs, et cetera). Thanks to being prepared, the previous water issues were a non-issue for my family, but this most recent water advisory is a reminder that being prepared is a constant, ongoing process. You must have … Continue reading
Years ago, while visiting the South American country of Peru, I was stunned to find that every drop of drinking water had to first be boiled, before it was considered safe to drink. In a country of 22 million people, I thought this an incredible waste of money and natural resources. There had to be a better way. On my return, I set out to design a cheap ceramic filter that could be easily constructed using simple components readily obtained from any hardware or box store.
(As a side note, on one of my trips to Peru, I was a bit careless. Suffice it to say that Montezuma has nothing on the Inca revenge.)
Components required to make the ceramic filter include the following:
I was reading SurvivalBlog’s special page with info for newbies and I realized we are behind the eight ball. But my husband and I are Christians and we are both over 50. I am on disability but I am a retired Registered Nurse and I also sew, crochet etc.
You mentioned that we needed to have an underground water tank and I don’t see that as possible for us, however we do have a pool just off the back deck. Any advice? Thanks, – Carol C.
JWR Replies: My mentions of underground water storage tanks were intended for people with country properties, and primarily those who have wells or springs with low gallons-per-minute production, or water that is pumped with photovotaically-powered pumps that operate only in daylight. (Hence the need to capture water for later use.) Typically water is pumped up hill (or up to … Continue reading
I read articles and letters on this site, and other blogs and web sites, where people are prepping for survival. Oftentimes these articles and letters concentrate on hypothetical or theoretical post-TEOTWAWKI situations. My family’s and my survival experience is not theoretical. We live in an everyday survival context. I hope this article can help to enlighten some of you on prepping for everyday living and to expose some of the challenges faced across America and the world by people wishing to prep in less than ideal circumstances.
I am an American, an Army veteran of foreign wars, believer in the Lord Jesus, and a missionary overseas. I woke up this morning to the sound of the imam calling out over loudspeakers, only three blocks away. He was calling his faithful out of their slumbers and to their morning prayers. Walking down the street to get started … Continue reading
I recently came across some Sodium Hypochlorite liquid at the big orange box store. It is 10% solution for swimming pools. It is packaged in one gallon plastic containers with two bottles to the box. The regular price was eight or ten dollars but they had it on clearance for $1.83. I have seen people talk about using this stuff in powder form for purifying water and I’m wondering if the liquid will work the same or if it is too hazardous and troublesome to store and maintain. It says 13oz per 10,000 gallons of water will give you 1ppm of chlorine so for 2 gallons of this you can do about 200,000 gallons of water…adjusted as necessary. It does say that it degrades over time and with sun exposure and that the caps are ventilated. Also not to store near acid. I’m almost thinking it is too … Continue reading
I would like to add some information about the Sawyer water filter. One of the readers mentioned that the Sawyer filter use to be 1,000,000 gallons, and now it’s 100,000. Those are two separate filters. The 1-million gallon filter is the larger version. The 100,000 gallon is the mini version, which I personally have used since it came on the market. I do a lot of hiking, backpacking, and exploring in the outdoors. I like to carry my Camelback for ease of drinking and carrying my water. What I recommend is to buy the Mini Sawyer filter, cut the Camelback tube in the middle, and install the filter there. Just fill the Camelback and go back to hiking. It makes the suction a little tougher to get the water, but it’s not hard whatsoever. I have never had any issues, and I have found this is has been the … Continue reading
I have seen these filters sold with different components, bells, and whistles and have bought three different types. One package features components that allow you to gravity feed the water from a plastic food grade bucket through the filter and into a storage container. I have this set up ready to go now, if and when it is needed. The narrative on the packaging suggests that if this filter is used on an overseas mission trip it could be left behind for use by the native people. That’s a nice humanitarian touch.
There was no mention that these filters are easy to maintain and come equipped with the syringe to back flush and clean the filter. Also, you can buy additional pouches for clean water, but a hard plastic or stainless steel container would be a better long-term choice.
One thing I have not understood, Sawyer used to … Continue reading
“You Must Have A Source Of Safe Drinking Water. Without It, You Will Die!” I don’t know how many times I said this in my many articles over the past 25+ years, or when speaking to people about survival, but I still can’t drive the point home to some folks. I get questions like “but the water is crystal clear (from a stream or creek), so I know it’s okay to drink.” Many people just refuse to believe that it’s what you can’t see with the naked eye in crystal clear water that will kill you. You can die from a bullet instantly, or you can die a slow and agonizing death from the millions of bugs, bacteria, Protozoa, cysts, and other nasty things that neither the naked eye can see nor your nose smell nor your tongue taste.
We live on a very small rural homestead that is … Continue reading
Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
Recently SurvivalBlog has presented several articles on sanitation issues. I’d like to add to those.
Many homes are equipped with septic tanks to perform as a holding tank for waste allowing waste decomposition to occur. Reduction of solid waste through bacterial action works, but is a slow process and often incomplete; additionally, a large number of chemicals we regularly introduce into our septic tanks, such as common soap, dish washing and clothes detergents, bleach, commercial toilet cleaning solutions, etc., are toxic to the bacteria performing the job of decomposition.
Septic tanks are one part of the equation, the other being the leach field. Leach fields are the fluid distribution pipes running from the septic tank into the ground and are intended to operate with clear liquids only; clear liquids does not refer to their color, but means no solid materials. Solids will fill the spaces … Continue reading
Like iron, copper is an essential element in a person’s diet. Too much copper, however, can cause health problems, as it accumulates primarily in the liver and kidneys. Like the current issue with lead in the water supply in Flint, Michigan, copper in drinking water can come from corrosion of copper pipes. Flushing the tap for 30 to 45 seconds can reduce the copper that has accumulated when the plumbing is not in use. Reverse osmosis or ion exchange are effective at reducing excessive copper from water.
The recent events in Flint, Michigan have raised awareness of problems with our nation’s aging infrastructure and the increasing costs of providing safe drinking water. What is often forgotten is that lead can also be found in private wells. Very few, if any, states require monitoring for lead in private wells. As more people leave the regulated environments of cities and … Continue reading
One point to consider regarding use of water filters in cold weather: Both Sawyer and Lifestraw warn that once their filter have been used, they should not be exposed to freezing temperatures. Ceramic filters are not as susceptible.
From the Lifestraw web site: “If your LifeStraw has been used, and is then exposed to freezing temperatures, water inside can freeze and crack the filter. You may not see these cracks, so we recommend never letting it freeze once it’s been used. When camping at high elevations or freezing temperatures, be extra careful not to let it freeze.”
From Sawyer web site: “Before initial wetting Filter is safe from freezing temperatures if it has never been wetted. After initial wetting While there is no definitive way to tell if a filter has been damaged due to freezing, Sawyer recommends replacing your filter if you suspect that it has … Continue reading