Two Letters: Contaminated Water in Corpus Christi, Texas

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 primary and alternate/redundant systems/preps. A Berkey is a great water filter, but it can’t filter unknown chemicals from water, and while I was in much better shape than most standing in line at the supermarket there is always room for improvement. Thanks for the advice and information from How to Survive the End … Continue reading

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Do-It-Yourself Ceramic Water Filter, by The Architect

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 Components required to make the ceramic filter include the following: 1 piece of 8” long 2” schedule 40 PVC pipe 2” dia. Doulton ceramic filter candle (or similar) 2” PVC rounded end cap 2” dia. female connector – threaded 2” PVC end cap – threaded 3’ ¼” I.D. plastic icemaker tubing ¼” I.D. Hose Bib connector 3/8” icemaker line connector 2” I.D. x 1/8” thick rubber “O” ring 5/8” I.D. spacers or washers Tools Tools and other items that will be required include the following: … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Water Storage Options for Suburbanites

Hi, 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 a tower-mounted tank, in level country), to provide gravity-fed water, under pressure, to operate a shower or sprinklers. If you are on city-supplied water then your water needs will be met nicely if the power grid stays up. But you would have huge problems if the power grid goes down for an extended period.  … Continue reading

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Everyday Survival Living Overseas Among Muslims, by A.E.

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 on my work day I passed numerous police checkpoints, body scanners, bag checkers and armed guards. In the country where my family and I live, the central government is extremely strong and often heavy-handed. The reason for all these security measures is that this area is 100% Muslim and they are not happy. The … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Sodium Hypochlorite Liquid

Dear Hugh, 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 much of a pain. What are your thoughts? God bless you and your and stay safe. – Nsane Prepper HJL Comments: I would agree with your assessment of it being a pain to store. The liquid will have a much shorter storage life than the powder form and will cause … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Sawyer Water Filter Additional Information

Hello, 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 easiest way to get clean water in the back country. It’s also lighter than a lot of hand-operated filters. Most filters are susceptible to freezing temperatures, including the ceramic ones. I like to take a zip lock baggie with me and put the Mini Sawyer filter in it at night, … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: Review of the Sawyer Filter

HJL, 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 say these filters would filter up to 1 million gallons of water, but now they’ve dropped that to 100,000. – S.M. o o o Pat, No mention was made of the sneaky failure mode that the Sawyer filters [and many other other brands of filters] have if they are frozen after … Continue reading

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Pat Cascio’s Product Review: Sawyer Mini Water Filter

“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 about six miles from one very small rural town and 10 miles from another small rural town that is well off the beaten path. Our water comes from our own well. We have a large filter in the pump house that must be serviced every two years because of iron bacteria. … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Sanitation Issues: Understanding Home Septic Systems

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 between dirt particles and eventually form a sufficient barrier to liquid absorption to cause the leach field to fail. The only fix for this is dig a new leach field in dirt that has not been contaminated by particles, or replace the dirt in the existing field. Either solution will be expensive … Continue reading

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Something in the Water- Part 2, by J.R.

Copper 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. Lead 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 towns looking for their own Redoubts, they need to be aware they alone are responsible for determining the potability of their water. Many small towns across the nation have a legacy of mining, and groundwater may have naturally high levels of many heavy metals. Health effects in children from exposure … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Winter Survival

HJL, 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 been frozen. During trips If you are in freezing temperatures, we recommend that you store your filter in your pocket or close to your person so that your body heat can prevent freezing. There is no warranty for a frozen filter.” [Emphasis added.] I contacted Katadyn and asked if the use of … Continue reading

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Water Works- Part 4, by JSP

Other Projects, A Future Project, and “War Game” Potential Problems In this final section addressing survival related water systems, I will outline a few projects we have completed, talk about a future project, and “war game” potential problems that could arise. Our personal outlook is that, when things crash, people who are previously identified will be coming to our place of retreat, and we also have to be open to the fact that the Holy Spirit may direct people to us who we don’t currently know. Our main residence has a standard septic tank and drain field, two bathrooms, and one shower. With a capacity of only 500 gallons, our main house septic tank system could become overwhelmed in short order when used by a crowd. If you are on a septic tank, do not overlook having it pumped regularly. Depending on the size and use, pumping every four to five years is common advice. I would argue that for people with outlooks like ours, if you can afford it, have it pumped more often. I know of a family who “forgot” to have their septic tank pumped and are not sure but think it may have been eight or … Continue reading

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