Solar Water Disinfection a Viable Water Purification Option

bottles-60479_960_720As we roll into a new year, many of us are aware we are getting that much closer to our world falling apart. Nobody knows what it will be. It could be a terrorist attack that sets us on our heels or a natural disaster that is so big and devastating, the ripple effects would effect us all. War, a financial collapse or a number of other scenarios could leave us scrambling to get the basic things we need in life, like clean drinking water.

One water purification method that every prepper should learn is SODIS or solar water disinfection. This is one way to make water to drink without using chemicals or a filter. It is effective and has saved thousands of lives in third world countries.

It is a fairly simple process and only requires a few plastic bottles. If you can get your hands on 20 bottles, even better. The only real drawback to SODIS is the length of time it takes to make the water safe to drink. On a sunny day, it takes about 6 hours. On a cloudy day, it is best to leave the bottle in the sun for two full days.stackablewater

To purify the water you will want to use BPA-free plastic bottles. Bottles with the 1 in the center of the recycling symbol are best. Do not use glass containers. Do not use bottles that are bigger than a 2-liter. Fill the bottles and screw the lid on tight. Place the bottles on their side in the direct sun. Putting the bottles on a flat rock or on the hood of a car is ideal. It heats the water from both sides.

SODIS is effective at killing bacteria, protozoa and viruses. In order for this method to be effective, the water must be relatively clear. If the water is cloudy, pour it through a cloth or t-shirt a few times to help clear it up.

Revisiting Water Purification

waterSurvivalists and preppers know the importance of having water available during a survival situation. It is the one thing humans cannot live without for more than a day or two. It is equally important you have ways to purify the water you store or find. Drinking water that is not purified can be extremely harmful if not deadly. This is why it is a good idea to have several water purification methods on hand.

Boiling

The most common and maybe the easiest method is boiling the water. As long as you have a tin cup or some vessel to heat the water and a source of heat, you can boil the water. The heat will kill the parasites, protozoa, viruses and bacteria in the water.

Solar Purification

You can use the sun to heat the water if you can’t boil it. Simply fill a plastic bottle, preferably one with a 1 in the center of the recycling ring, and place it in the sun. The water will need to sit in the direct sun for at least 6 hours. If it is cloudy out, you will need to let the water sit in the sun for at least two days.

Household Bleach

This is a great, quick and inexpensive option for cleaning water. Unfortunately, this will only work if the bleach is not expired. If it is more than six months old, it will be weak and not effective at cleaning the water. There is usually a date stamped on the container. If it is difficult to see, it is a good idea to use a marker to write the date you bought the bleach directly on the container.jerrycanLtBlue_lg_200

Water Purification Tablets

These tablets are great for packing in a bug out bag. They are effective at killing everything bleach does. The tablets are more commonly made with chlorine, but iodine is also available. Bleach tends to be cheaper and a little more effective with less chance of triggering an allergic reaction.

No matter what you choose to purify your water, always have a back up plan. Having at least two ways to clean your water ensures you will always have plenty of clean, safe drinking water.

Why Do We Purify Clean Water in Survival?

children-770258_640Some people may wonder why they have to clean or purify water that already looks crystal clear. It sounds silly to have to clean water when water is used for cleaning. Despite how silly it may sound, cleaning water is an absolute must that can truly be the difference between life and death. When you think about our water supply, it is exposed to a lot more than we care to think about. It comes from rivers, lakes and streams. There are not “lids” or tight covers protecting the water from the environment.

Animals use the water for drinking, bathing and their own personal toilets as do humans camping or spending time in nature. You wouldn’t drink used bathwater or water from the toilet bowl, which is basically what water found in nature is.

Water that looks crystal clear and refreshing, is likely full of some pretty nasty bugs. Protozoa, bacteria, parasites and viruses are invisible to the naked eye. Those things are floating around in that water that looks so clean. Those things will make you extremely ill to the point death may very well be a possibility. Nearly all of the contaminants result in the same symptoms;lifesaver bottle

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Lethargy

These symptoms quickly lead to dehydration, which can be life threatening when there is no clean water to drink.

Some of the harmful contaminants in water are as follows;

  • Viruses i.e. E coli, salmonella
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Giardia
  • Botulism
  • Cholera
  • Chemical run-off, fertilizers

These things and many more can make their way into the water whether an animal actually pooped in the water or not. When it rains, the water will flow down hill and into the main water supply. This leads to all kinds of harmful contaminants making their way into water that may have been clean at one point.

Never risk your life by drinking water that has not been purified and/or filtered. You cannot see what is in the water and it could very well cost you your life.

Emergency Makeshift Survival Water Filter

pollution-359014_640Every prepper knows one of the most important elements of survival is to have enough water stored to sustain you for at least 30 days. If you can’t store that much water, than you need to store water purification tablets or be prepared to boil the water you collect to make it safe to drink. Drinking water, even if you think it looks clean, could be deadly. You simply cannot take the risk. However, you may find yourself in an extreme survival situation without your gear. You still need to be able to drink water. You can construct a makeshift water filter that will eliminate some of the contaminants in water you collect. It is not a sure fire method of purifying water, but it can keep you going until you come up with a way to boil your water.

The makeshift water filter can be built from things that are typically in any environment.

1-Your first step is to find an old water bottle or plastic soda bottle. Unscrew the lid and cut off the bottom.

2-Look around for an old campfire or a tree that has been hit by lightning. You need the charcoal. If you have built a fire and can get charcoal from there, you are in luck. Put a handful of charcoal in the bottom (which was the top of the bottle) and pack it in.

3-Next, you will want to add a layer of sand on top of the charcoal.

4-Add a layer of small rocks/gravel on top of the sand.rocks-698504_640

5-Add some leafy green grass, dandelions or even tree leaves.

That is your water filter. Pour the water through the opening at what was the bottom of the bottle. The water should move slowly through the filter. If it goes straight through, pack the layers a little tighter. Each layer filters some of the contaminants. You can certainly run the water through the filter a few times to help get it clear. Adding a piece of cloth over the top can help filter out any large pieces of debris that may be in the water.

This filter will work in a pinch, but it is not a guaranteed method of removing bacteria and viruses from contaminated water. Do your best to find water that is clear and moving.

A Safe Water Supply

 

Yesterday I mentioned that inland flooding is a big issue after a hurricane. Flooding is also a danger in areas that get heavy storms. Here recently, severe thunderstorms prompted a flash flood watch for the area I live in.

Plenty of Water, But…

While you may realize that flooding is dangerous and causes a great deal of property damage, what many people don’t realize is, flooding makes the water supply unsafe. Flood waters contaminate the fresh water supply of an area.  Continue reading