A Beginners Guide to Practical Prepping: Lessons From a True Story of Disaster, by R.L.

It was September 1989, a time in history that is forever burned into my memory. I was working as a firefighter in a small town outside Columbia, South Carolina. Hurricane Hugo had developed in the Atlantic, it was ripping apart the Carribean islands and it was headed our way. All the news on television and radio were inundated with updates on this killer storm; we were tuned into the Weather Channel at the firehouse carefully watching and waiting. The original forecast was that the Category 4 hurricane would turn north and only threaten the North Carolina coast. It was assumed …




Reality Checks for a Grid Down Scenario, By Blueleader

I sometimes hear misguided individuals who repeat the statement going around that if the grid goes down we will be thrown back to the days before electricity: The 1880s. The prevalent thought is that folks back then did fine so it wouldn’t be so bad for us to simply revert to that level of technology. Well, what if we examine your day in a post grid failure scenario? Here is a reality check for you to consider: Let us say you get up ‘the day after’ and you’re cold. Bummer. Well, in the 1880s if you got up and you …




Hidden Groundwater Sources in Urban/Suburban Settings, by ALP

If you are ever find yourself in an urban or suburban setting and need water badly, there is a source of water you probably never thought of as accessible: groundwater. In my day job as an environmental technician, I frequently have to supervise contractors who are drilling observation wells in all sorts of urban and suburban settings. Sometime after drilling, I take samples from the wells and submit them to labs to test if they are contaminated. Basically, almost every transaction of a commercial or industrial property, and many residential properties also, will have several surface groundwater wells; so, you …




Scot’s Product Review: Katadyn Pocket Water Filter

There is the rule of threes for survival, which says you can go three minutes without air before you’re dead, three days without water, and three weeks without food. That’s not exact science, of course, and there are variables. Someone in great shape can last longer, and a moderate climate will let you go longer without water. In my part of the world, it gets really hot in the summer, and I suspect three days might be optimistic. Luckily, down here in the southeast, it rains a lot, especially in the summer. There is also a lot of standing water, …




Letter Re: Calcium Hypochlorite

I recently bought a 1 lb. bag of DryTec calcium hypchlorite through Amazon. When I repackaged it for long-term storage I noticed there was very little chlorine odor. I made a 1/2 gal. per directions for stock. I poured the stock directly on the tail of a non-colorfast shirt (bright red that already had white spots from a sodium hyphochlorite spill) and left it for hours; it didn’t even lighten the color. I don’t know any other way to test the amount of available chlorine that I have on hand, but I am deeply concerned that a lot of people …




Letter Re: Air Lift Pumps

Using compressed air to lift water from a well does work as described in the previous article; however, one must insure the compressed air comes from an oil-free compressor. If the air compressor has an oil-filled crankcase, the delivered air will have oil vapor/oil mist in it, which is not something one should have suspended in their drinking water. Do not trust an oil/water separator on the compressed air unit to remove oil vapors; they will eventually saturate and become pretty much useless. To confirm what your compressor is doing, check the condensate drain on the air tank. If it …




Letter: Disinfecting Drinking Water

Hi, Your articles have mentioned calcium hypochlorite. I went to the pool store today, and they had sodium dichloride. Should I ask specifically for the first? I’m not sure if the girl behind the counter is going to know how to help me on this one. Thanks – D. HJL Responds: We only recommend calcium hypochlorite, even though sodium dichloride is also used as a disinfecting agent. The pool shop should be able to order it for you. You are basically looking for a chlorine bleach solution to stabilize and disinfect your water. Liquid bleach has a very short shelf …




Letter Re: Well Pumps

Hugh, Regarding the recent information about well hand pumps on the blog (Simple Pump, Bison Pump), I would like to add that there is another robust and reliable pump that has not gotten the attention of many people outside of the farm & ranch community. It is the Model 11HD (for deeper wells) pump made by Baker Monitor. This pump is heavy duty (cast iron) with a design that has been around for almost a hundred years. This is the same type of pump that has been reliably attached to windmills on farms since its creation and has also been …




Letter Re: Waterwise Distiller

Hugh and Jim, Regarding the recent post on drinking water without a filter from ‘The Daily Sheeple’: I am sure you are aware, but your readers may not be, but distilled water is not something you would want to consistently consume. It will rob your bones of minerals and you will break apart. o o o Hugh, You linked to the water distillation video on The Daily Sheeple that featured the Waterwise distiller. I purchased one of those distillers and subsequently sold it, as I was not satisfied with it for a number of reasons. The water produced had a …




Systematic Efforts by the U.S. Forest Service to Take Control of Private Water Rights, by W.W.

Jamal Utah I am writing today to inform the readers of this blog about systematic efforts by the U.S. Forest Service (“F.S.”) to take control of private water rights. Recently, this blog made mention of efforts to institute the “public trust doctrine” in California. In Colorado, we have been fighting ballot initiatives concerning the public trust doctrine for years. While the public trust doctrine issue is increasingly concerning, I am writing today about what I feel is a potentially even greater threat to private water rights. In the last few years the U.S. Forest Service has been quietly revising its …




Two Letters Re: Toledo Water Crisis

Hugh, The WHO article you mentioned says there’s another way to purify water tainted with microcystins, and it’s one of my favorite water purification methods because it can also be used as a wound cleanse, an antiseptic solution, an anti-fungal treatment for the hands and feet, a cholera disinfectant, a treatment for canker sores, a fire starter, and even a snow marker for an emergency signal. On top of all that, it’s less expensive per pound than calcium hypochlorite. What is this wonder chemical? Potassium Permanganate (KMNO4) 98% 1lbPotassium Permanganate, also called “permanganate of potash” or “Condy’s crystals.” Read more …




Letter: Toledo Water Crisis

Hugh: I live in Toledo and was part of the recent “water crisis”. From what I understand, a Berkey, Lifestraw, or any kind of water pills cannot get rid of “mitocystin”, which was what was in our water. So, we had plenty of “water”, but no way to make it drinkable. I was wondering if your readers: agree that these won’t work on mitocystin have any alternative method of purifying water with this in it. – B.J. Hugh Replies: This is not something that I have knowingly dealt with, so I had to do a little research to come up …




Letter Re: Disinfecting Your Drinking Water

Hugh, I have noticed over the years that when I read about water purification during bad times that Calcium Hypochlorite is mentioned as the way to go for storage and use. Typically, it is suggested to buy an abundance of the material so one can be charitable and pass out small plastic bags of the chemical with instructions for its use to purify water. I’ve never before seen simple and concise instructions that ANYONE could understand for treating drinking water with Calcium Hypochlorite. Using what I’ve gleaned from the Internet, with numerous revisions, I believe I have the information that …




Letter: SHTF Water-Related Questions

Jim I keep hundreds of coffee filters at my house and quite a few in the BOB to extend the life of the Katadyn ceramic water filter when it comes down to that. Could a reusable gold-screen coffee filter basket be deployed to pre-filter water in a survival situation (with possibly other applications I’m not thinking of yet)? I have one I no longer use but nothing goes in the BOB unless it will serve well. My wife tolerates a giant stash of coffee filters because I use them every day, but she is less tolerant of salt accumulation, whether …




Letter Re: Gravity Fed Water Systems

Editor, A good and useful post by J.S. I always appreciate articles by those who have lived and used what they are proposing. As an irrigation contractor I built and used a homemade water system for a couple of decades in the Colorado mountains and can offer a few further ideas. For an infiltration gallery, I dug a small trench under the spring/small stream I had on the property and placed in the bottom 10′ of 4″ perforated flexible plastic drain pipe that came with a mesh “sock” around it. This pipe is used in French darins and the like. …