Understanding Water Filtration, by Old Soldier

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 …




Water Contamination and Filtration 101, by MHN

*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.




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 …




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 …




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 …







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 …




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 …




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 …




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 …







Letter Re: Monitor Your Preps!

HJL, 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 …




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, …




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 …




Something in the Water- Part 1, by J.R.

After years of dreaming, planning, saving, and sweating, you are finally ready to leave occupied territory and make your move to the American Redoubt. You have poured over maps, studied census data, consulted with real estate professionals, and talked to county planning and assessors offices. You now are down to your short list, but what about the water supply? Water can make or break your new homestead. “It’s no problem,” you say. You checked the well logs, and the general area has good producing wells of reasonable depth, or your selected property already has a well. What is a Well …