Water Safety

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What would you guys recomend for testing the safty of water. And how would you make unsafe water drinkable?

I'd appreciate a variety of solutions that can be used in different situations, ie... remote mountain stream, city drinking water from tap, water from river by a city, etc. Plus any handy tests for water purity...

The Freak

-- Typhon Blue (typhonblue@hotmail.com), September 30, 1999


Just get a good water filter and filter everything to be on the safe side. Good portable ones are available, as are iodine crystals that can be reused.

-- Bill (bill@tinfoil.com), September 30, 1999.

You might want to check out this URL:


I just bought a British Berkefeld filter. The PVC model is small, light, and seems pretty indestructable in terms of its construction. It's a gravity filter, and produces 12 gals/day. The thing that blows me away is how inconspicuous the thing is (even though it's bright blue) and how little it weighs (the filter candles weigh more than the unit). My 9 yr. old could easily carry it in, say, a bug-out pack. And it lets you get good water from drainage ditches riddled w/ scum (urp.).

Science-supply stores sell water testing kits. I think the EPA can tell you where to get them in your area, too.

-- PH (ag3@interlog.com), September 30, 1999.

I guess I should add that I don't have anything to do w/ the above company, and there are other distributors out there (try linking from a search on 'British Berkefeld'). Not everyone stocks the PVC model; the other option is a grand stainless job that looks like a restaurant coffee machine.

The folks at the above co. were really good on service and delivery.

-- PH (ag3@interlog.com), September 30, 1999.

I had a new well drilled on my farm in April. The health dept. tested it for me and it is safe to drink. I have a hand pump from Lehman's on it. Out of curiosity I tested the water I have been drinking for 4 years from the big farm well. I used a product called Pure Test which I bought in a hardware store. It is a small bottle which has some powder in it. Directions say if water is pure it will stay the purple color that it is when you first add your water to it.Guess what. The water I have been drinking from main well because is has an electric pump turned brown. Yikes. I have had strep throat three times since moving here. Forgot to say you let this purple bottle of water process for 48 hours.Sooooo, I am having the main water tested professionally . The water co. mailed me a bottle to fill . Just got it today. I put the bad water into a Berky Filter, and got some more Pure Test today. Now I will test the Berky water to see if IT stays purple. Well, I am happy (no pun intended) that my new well is ok, but it is hard to pump and was only planning to use it as last resort. So that has been my experience to date. Hope this helps someone.

-- Betty Alice (Barn266@aol.com), September 30, 1999.

Freak -

Wrestled with the water problem last year as I began my preps. I don't trust filters. Do they take out solvents or bacteria? How long will they last.

If your near a water source, why don't you distill? All you need is a pressure cooker (~$12), a few feet of copper tubing (~$4) and a source of heat (presumably a wood stove).

Crimp the tubing over the little nozzle where the steam comes out. Submerge the center of the tube in a bucket of cold water. Place the opposite end in a clean container to catch the pure water.

Tested this on the stove. Can make 12 gallons a day and it's purer than anything coming out of your tap.

-- Hawthorne (99@00.com), September 30, 1999.

Speaking of chemicals, when you distill water, don't put the lid on the cooker till just after it comes to a boil. The reason being, that most VOC's (Volitile Organic Chemicals, such as benzene, toulene, etc.) have a lower boiling point than water. They are the first thing to gas out of water during the distilation process. If you lid the water, before boiling, some of these chemicals might recondense into the clean water, at the other end. Another alternative would be to create some sort of closeable opening in the tube, before the condenser (The bucket of water, in the above thread). Close it, as soon as you get a stong stream of steam.

-- Bokonon (bok0non@my-Deja.com), October 01, 1999.

Ooops....that's "strong" stream of steam.

-- Bokonon (bok0non@my-Deja.com), October 01, 1999.

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