Typical Prepping

How to Filter and Purify Water

February 23, 2021 Keith Thomas Season 1 Episode 9
Typical Prepping
How to Filter and Purify Water
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In This Episode:

Probably the most important skill one could learn is How To Filter and Purify water. If you find yourself without water you can’t just waltz up to the nearest puddle or stream and drink away. Most all our water sources today have some type of contamination. Whether it be chemical, bacteria, or other nasty little things that seek to cause us harm.

In today's episode, we’ll discuss filtering and disinfecting water for your household.

Key Topics:

  • Filtering Water
  • Commercial Water Filters
  • Water purification


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How to Filter and Purify Water


Keith Thomas  00:00

Probably the most important skill one can learn is how to filter and purify water. If you find yourself without water, you can't just walk up to the nearest puddle or stream and drink away. Most all our water sources today have some type of contamination whether it be chemical bacteria or other nasty little things that seek to cause us harm. In today's episode, we'll discuss filtering and disinfecting water for your household. Welcome to typical prepping the podcast dedicated to everyday readiness and disaster preparedness. We're here to help those folks who seek to start their own disaster preparedness plan or those who have gotten started but are not quite sure where or how to take the next steps. Each week, I'll present a disaster preparedness topic with actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to start or grow your personal disaster preparations. Thanks for stopping by to listen to today.


 Hey folks, I'm Keith, and welcome to typical prepping the podcast dedicated to everyday readiness and disaster preparedness. In this episode, we'll provide some tried and proven methods for filtering your water and then purifying to ensure the water is safe to drink. Whether you choose to use these methods or find something better. If you're serious about being prepared, this is probably the most important skill you can learn. 


Filtering Water


 Filtering water can be achieved in a survival setting, with a few natural methods and a bit of ingenuity. A simple filter can be made from a two-liter soda bottle, sand, gravel, and charcoal. To assemble the filter, we'll start by cutting the bottom off of a two-liter bottle and discarding.  Invert the two-liter bottle so the pour spout is facing down you'll need some type of cotton batting. This cotton batting can be a piece cut from a clean t-shirt or bandana. Place the cotton batting as the first layer in your filter. Be sure to place the batting so that it extends into the neck of the bottle but not all the way out.

  Next lay a half-inch to one-inch layer of activated charcoal over the cotton batting. 

 Then layer about one inch of fine sand over the activated charcoal. 

Then we're gonna layer in about an inch to inch and a half of course sand and finally, a one and a half-inch layer of fine gravel. 

 Fill the remaining space with coarse gravel and be sure to leave about a half to one-inch space above the coarse gravel for filling.  There you have it a fully functional water filter. Optionally, you can use a coffee filter over the coarse gravel to help filter out larger particles of sediment and debris. You'll have to replace the coffee filter and the charcoal periodically as they become dirty. 






Commercial Water Filters


 If you decide to buy commercial water filters to have on hand, I recommend the following; 



 First up is the lifestraw personal water filter. The lifestraw is a personal water filter designed to drink water straight from the source. To use the lifestraw; You can fill a container from the water source and sip water from the container or sip directly from the water source itself. The lifestraw comes with full instructions for use backwashing and long term storage. The lifestraw will filter 1000 gallons of water, It weighs only two ounces and removes bacteria, parasites, and microplastics. According to the lifestraw website, the microbiological membrane micro-filter removes 99.999999%  of bacteria including E.Coli. It also removes 99.999% of parasites including Giardia and cryptosporidium and it also removes 99.999% of microplastics. Since a lifestraw is a personal water filter, you would need to purchase each family member one and these are reasonably priced at around $20.


The Sawyer Family of Water Filtration Systems

  Next up is the Sawyer family of water filtration systems.  The Sawyer Mini is a wonderful little filter to have. This little filter can be used with its enclosed drinking pouch, or with its included straw to drink directly from the water source. This filter can also be screwed onto a disposable water or soda bottle, which can serve as a reservoir. This filter is rated to filter up to 100,000 gallons of water.


 Next up is the Sawyer one gallon gravity water filtration system, which includes a one-gallon bladder, which features a wide mouth cap that allows for fast filling and a convenient carry handle. The bladder is filled with water and the filter and hose are connected to the bladder. The bladder can then be suspended, allowing filtered water to run through the filter and into your container of choice for drinking.


  Next, we have the Sawyer point 02 bucket purification system. This would be an excellent choice for use at a base camp or if sheltering in place. The point 02 bucket purification system includes the bucket adapter, tubing, and filter, you'll have to provide a food grade bucket and lid for filling with water. This would be an excellent fit in situations where larger quantities of water need filtration and purification. This filter provides 170 gallons of clean water per day or one liter per minute. According to the Sawyer website, the point 02 system can be cleaned and reused almost indefinitely.  The Sawyer family of water filtration systems previously named will remove the following. They'll remove 99.999% of all bacteria, including salmonella cholera and E.Coli, 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as Giardia, and cryptosporidium and 100% of microplastics.  The point 02 goes one step beyond with its 0.02 micron, absolution filtration to remove 99.997% of viruses, in addition to 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.999% of protozoa and cysts and 100% of microplastics This makes the point 02 filtration and water purification system. Obviously, the advantage with the point 02 is there's no additional step for purification of the filtered water needed. 


Berkey Water Purification Systems

 I also want to mention here, the Berkey Water filters.  Berkey Water purification systems can purify raw untreated water in situations where a portable source of water is not available. This includes water from lakes, ponds, and streams. Berkey Water Filtration systems are powerful water purifiers that can sit on a countertop table or stand, you simply pour water from virtually any source into the top chamber of the system and dispense purified water easily from the lower chamber through a handy spigot. The Berkey systems equipped with the black Berkey purification elements remove greater than 99.999% of all viruses and greater than 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria while also removing or dramatically reducing protozoa, trihalomethanes, inorganic minerals, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides VOCs, petroleum products, pre-fluorinated chemicals, rust, silt, sediment, and even radiologicals. Each pair of Black Berkey purification elements can treat up to 6000 gallons, or about five years of typical use before needing replacement. Berkey also offers the Berkey PF-2 fluoride and arsenic reduction elements that may be installed on each black Berkey purification element. The greatest advantage of using the Berkey system is that they filter and purify the water. If there's a disadvantage to the Berkey system, it would be the price. These units run from about $280 for the one and a half gallon unit to just over $300 for the three-gallon unit, and you would have to stock up on filter elements, in the case of long term disaster or event. 



Water Purification


 Now that we've covered the most common filtration units available, let's talk about water purification. After you've filtered out dirt and solids, the next step is to purify the water. Purifying water eliminates bacteria or other organisms that can make you sick. There are several methods to purify water however, I recommend the following due to their simplicity.


Boiling Water

 Boiling water is a very simple method of purifying water. You will need A clean container and a heat source to heat the water to its boiling point. Once the water begins to boil, allow it to boil for at least one minute. After one minute of boiling, remove water from the heat to cool before drinking. As a warning, Boiling Alone will not protect from Giardia, a common parasite from animal feces in streams and ponds!  



Another method is disinfecting water with bleach. Make sure the bleach you use does not contain perfumes, dyes, or other additives that may contaminate the water. Plane chlorine bleach typically contains five to 6% chlorine.  To use bleach to disinfect your water. For one quart of water, you'll use approximately five drops for half a gallon or two quarts of water 10 drops. For one gallon of water. It's a quarter teaspoon for five gallons, one teaspoon, and for 10 gallons two teaspoons.  After adding bleach, mix thoroughly and let the water stand for 60 minutes before drinking. As a word of caution bleach will not kill some disease-causing organisms commonly found in surface water and it will not remove chemical pollutants! 




Another method of disinfecting water is with iodine. For this method, I recommend a 2% tincture of iodine. Place your water in a clean container. Add five drops of iodine per quart of water if the water is clear. If the water is cloudy, add 10 drops per quart. This will then need to sit for 30 to 60 minutes depending on the clarity of water used. Iodine treated water should not be used by persons with thyroid disease. Pregnant women or persons who are allergic to shellfish!  When using the bleach or iodine method, the water may have a chemical or bleach taste. If you happen to have a vitamin C drink mix available, such as Tang, this will help to neutralize the taste.


Water Purification Tablets

  Another option for water purification is water purification tablets. Water purification tablets kill pathogens in water to make it safe for human consumption. The tablets are commonly used by backpackers and other outdoor enthusiasts to replenish their drinking water supplies from freshwater sources, such as streams. The tablets are also used in emergency situations such as floods or hurricanes when the water supplies have become polluted or unsafe. There are a number of water purification tablets on the market. Typically, one or more tablets are dissolved in a container of water and the container is closed and allowed to sit for 30 minutes or more. Some types of tablets leave behind an unpleasant taste. Iodine neutralizer tablets can be used to neutralize iodine flavor. Chlorine flavor can be removed by allowing treated water to sit uncovered so the chlorine can evaporate. Again another warning; iodine tablets may pose health risks for people with thyroid conditions or iodine allergies or women who are pregnant!  




In conclusion, if you want to be absolutely sure your water is safe to drink, you can combine a couple of methods that I've described as an example. Once you filtered your water, boil and allowed to cool then add bleach or iodine wait 30 minutes and drink. You can find links in the show notes for purchasing some of the water filters and purification supplies mentioned in this episode. 


 That's it for this week. Thanks for listening and join me on next week's episode, we'll talk about survival gardening. In this episode, we'll be discussing how you can garden for long term sustainability. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with your friends and family. leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. This really helps the show and gets our message out to others looking to start or improve their Prepping skills. If you found value in this content, feel free to leave me a donation at;  buy me a coffee.com/ typical prepping. Your donation helps with the production cost of the show so I can continue to bring you more amazing content. Also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Until next time, stay safe and be prepared!

Filtering Water
Commercial Water Filters
Water purification