Letter: Water After Irma, by RV



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.

A Plan

I do the math, and all … Continue reading

Letter: Well Water Pump Options And Alternatives

Bison Pumps

Hello JWR, HJL, and fellow readers,

I truly appreciate the info my family and I have gleaned over the years from SB. It has become one of our most trusted sources of info as we have been embarking on our self-sufficiency. Now, on to my question that I believe could be beneficial to other readers. (I have searched the site, but no recent info came up.)

I have been researching water well hand-pumps. Bison Pumps has great customer service and so far I am leaning towards them as my grid-down water retrieval solution from my well. Their product appears to be quality made where others seem to be designed more in an aesthetic nature, rather than truly functional and hard-wearing for daily use. If anyone has experience with Bison or another well pump, please share your experiences. For folks who are in warmer climates, freezing pipes aren’t an issue, but … Continue reading

Letter: Kitchen Water Filter Advice

Water Filter

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.

HJL’s Comment:

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

Understanding Water Filtration, by Old Soldier

Water Filtration

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

Water Contamination and Filtration 101, by MHN

Water Contamination & Filtration

*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

Rainwater Harvesting: An Easy and Efficient Build, by L.R.

With spring finally here, many a homesteader is turning their thoughts to this year’s vegetable garden. Whether their garden is large or small, experienced gardeners know the successful garden begins well before the seed is planted. Many gardeners diagram on paper where they want to plant what vegetable, how many rows of each, and calculate how many bedding plants or how much seed they will need. Then, it’s off to the seed catalogs or local nursery to stock up.

For many of us who have been raising gardens for a long time, there’s nothing quite like planting seeds in grow boxes to raise our own bedding plants or planting seeds directly into the ground. I confess, I go to the garden everyday to see if the seeds I planted have sprouted. I walk to the end of the row, and even after all these years I still get a thrill … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: WaterBOBs and Reservoirs

Mr. Latimer,

Just an FYI that I saw the WaterBob on Amazon. Not sure if it is indeed “discontinued”, but it’s still for sale–it looks like. I have one. Thanks for your blog. I have received good info on it to help my family prepare for all sorts of scenarios. – MHC

o o o

Thanks to JWR’s post, I just ordered two WaterBOB’s from Amazon for $40. I checked and the Reservoir cost was about $75 for one. The WaterBOB is a one time use. Not sure that’s the case for the Reservoir. I assume the supply of WaterBOBs won’t last long. Thanks for the heads up.

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 required to make the ceramic filter include the following:

The Fallacy of the Bugout Bag, by J.C.

I began my quest to become self-sufficient in a bug out situation sometime around the end of 2004 or the beginning of 2005.  My first purchase, if I recall was a gravity fed water filter and a small solar battery charger.  The old saying that one can live three weeks without food but only three days without water, in hindsight is what drove me to that purchase.  I don’t regret buying it to this day, but the chances that it will be with me in a true bug out situation, are slim to none.

Before I go any further I would like to state that there are numerous different scenarios in a survival situation and that each requires its own skill set and supplies in order to get through them.  In two of those three scenarios, that big gravity filter will be worth its weight in gold.

Continue reading

Letter Re: Water Storage Options for Suburbanites

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

Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned

Dear Editor:
Although I shouldn’t have been, I was once again amazed at the panic and last minute attempts to prepare, as Hurricane Matthew approached Florida. Florida’s geography dictates that there is only one way to travel to get out of the state, and that is north, unless you own a boat or plane.  The interstate freeways and highways get a lot of traffic and the stores get cleaned out, by hurricane refugees.  The parking lot of the Walmart that I visited was full of recreational vehicles (RVs).  Many of their owners were standing around with nowhere to go.  When a nearby gas station had what looked like a fuel resupply truck pull in there was a stampede of people on foot with empty gas cans lining up at the pump and blocking cars from getting in.

Be prepared and top off as soon as you hear the … Continue reading

Letter Re: Monitor Your Preps!


When it came time for the 6 month change-out of my emergency water, what a surprise to find how light the jugs felt! Both of my Reliance Products Desert Patrol 6 Gallon Traditional Jeep Style Rigid Water Containers had sprung leaks. Slow leaks, so I didn’t notice in my dry cool basement, but both were half empty. Okay, out they go! Then checking my Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Containers, one of them was light too, having sprung a leak some time in the not-too-distant past. One had a leak near the top from having the other stored on top of it – as is encouraged by the interlocking design, if not by manufacturer’s instructions. Once again, monitor your preps! – W.R.