Episode 264 S7-26
Water Filtration & Purification
Hope on the Horizon Ch 26
Water is essential for survival. Many of us in the United States take clean water for granted, but this may not always be the case. You need to know how to filter and purify your water. In the Hope on the Horizonstory, the value of water takes on quite a different meaning, but Chin and I are going to talk about techniques to make sure you always have potable water to drink.
You can only survive without water for three days until you are in big trouble. Whether it is hot or cold, the story is the same; you need water! There are many store-bought filter options, but eventually, all of these will be used up. Homes and businesses sometimes have some large filtration systems in place, but these don’t run without power or utility. There are some options for a large filtration system for community needs. Lifestraw is now producing a community water filter to fit these needs.
There are many medium capacity camping and home filters. I am partial to the Alexapure filter because it is the one Chin and I both own. Make sure to buy back up filters. The Alexapure can work without power as it is dependent on gravity only. The Alexapure can filter any type of water. If the water is filthy, cover the top of it with a t-shirt or cloth and pour the liquid through that first.
There are also Brita, Zerowater, and Alexapure pitcher filters that you keep in your fridge. Pay attention to micron filtration that is the key to its quality.
Portable water filters that can fit into your evac kit are also available in abundance. Lifestraw and bottle filters can aid anyone who is on the go. However, Lifestraw has received criticism because it is hard to do anything else with the water then drink it. If you want to use the water for cooking, you have to suck it up through the straw and then spit it into a container.
Katadyn makes some quality water filters, but they come at a premium price. Sawyer also produces some great options. The Sawyer Squeeze or Sawyer mini is easy to carry and sidesteps the spit soup issue. Lifestraw also makes a family 1.0 gravity filter that is easy to carry and can filter a slightly more substantial quantity of water.
When picking out your filter, there are a few aspects you should pay attention to. The size is important because space in your evac kit is limited. The weight is also an issue because every pound in your pack counts. The ease of use, filter capacity, flow rate, filtering capability, life span, and durability should also be taken into consideration.
Water purification tablets have been used for many years to make potable water. When you buy them, you will get two bottles of tables. One is iodine tablets. They take 35 minutes to remove the bacteria and giardia in the water. The other tablet is a PA+ tablet—these tablets neutralize the color and taste of the iodine water. On a side note, the water will still taste weird compared to what we are used to. A flavor powder or blowing bubbles in the water to oxygenate it will help.
If we experience a collapse, eventually, the store-bought filters will be gone. If you are trying to provide a community with larger quantities of potable water, you can build a capable filter with five-gallon buckets. You will need to have meshes of various sizes, one large, one medium, and one small gauge. You will be putting three different mediums into the buckets: gravel, sand, and charcoal (from your fire).
You want marble-sized gravel. Filter out large and small gravel through the mesh screens. For the sand, you want it to be just smaller than rice size. Use your medium and small mesh to filter out the larger and smaller pieces. For the charcoal, you need to pound it, so it’s about the size of rice. Use the medium and small screens to filter out the larger and smaller pieces.
Once you have your mediums prepared, fill one bucket with each type. Put holes in the bottom of the bucket and small squared mesh in the bottom of the buckets that have sand and charcoal. Put air holes in the top of the bucket, so the air pressure inside stays even.
The buckets will work better over time. Stack the buckets so that the gravel is on the top, then sand, and then the charcoal with a collection container underneath. The gravel will remove large debris in the water. The sand will take out the next level of debris, and it develops a biofilm to kill viruses and bacteria. The charcoal activates and removes the remaining viruses and bacteria. It is probably still a good idea to boil the water, just to be sure. You do not want diarrhea in a survival situation!
You can also make personal filters to filter smaller quantities of water. In the attached video, the gentleman shows a filter made with a 2-liter bottle, but really any container will do. You are going to use the same three mediums, but in the video attached, he also uses a grass layer. You are going to cut off the bottom of the 2-liter bottle. Save it for a cup. Put two holes 1 ½ inch down from the part you just cut off so you can suspend it later. Put a rock in the neck that will get stuck but not clog it.
Use fingernail-sized pieces of charcoal and fill about four inches in the 2-liter bottle. Then fill the next four inches with sand. After that, take your grass and fold it up into a ball and shove that in there (I think it keeps the gravel from merging down into the sand). After that, fill the bottle with gravel up to the holes. You can use anything to suspend the bottle. In the video, he uses a green sapling, but you could use cordage or anything that you want.
After you suspend the filter, continue to fill your bottle almost to the top with gravel. Then take your water and pour it through the filter into a collection cup. The water will still be dirty. The filter needs to get rinsed, so keep running water through it until it runs clean. You can use the same water over and over. To be safe, you still need to boil the water. Parasites die at 175-degree water or a rolling boil. Once you get the water to a roiling boil, let it go for a minute.
The best way to purify water is by distilling it. However, this removes minerals and electrolytes, as well as toxins, bacteria, and viruses. Your body needs these minerals and electrolytes, so don’t drink distilled water exclusively. Making distilled water is much easier than you might think. Use a big pot and put a ceramic bowl floating in the water in the big pot. Use an oversized lid and put it on the significant put upside down. As the steam hits the cover, it will drip down to the handle, and then drip into the ceramic bowl. Use a measuring cup to scoop the distilled water out of the container.
The solar still is also another collection method that is talked about a lot. There is a myriad of ways to do this with a plastic set up to drip into a cup. Do a little research, and you’ll find a ton of ideas on how to set it up. The video I attached shows a gentleman making one out of a plastic 20 oz bottle. He cuts off the bottom and folds the plastic inward. Then you take your dirty water and place it inside the container. The sun heats the plastic, causing the water to evaporate and drip down the sides where it is collected in the folded plastic, providing you with clean water.
The Changing Earth Series
Chin Gibson is the mystery prepper. Friend to all and known to none. His real identity hidden from the public, Chin is well known to the online prepper community as the go to resource for finding a community member to solve your problem. He is an awesome people connector and does his best to unite the voices educating the masses about being ready for a unforeseen life challenge. Chin will be joining Sara to co-host The Changing Earth Podcast.