Water filter Video and Lessons Learned

Posted: January 17, 2011 in Neighbors, research, water
Tags: , , , , ,

Two weeks ago I gathered water from the mountain, built a water purification system, and drank some water that went through it. I did not get sick, but I suspect that was more because of dumb luck rather than my engineering skills.

I used the World Wildlife Foundation’s instructions on how to build a water filter as my general guide. I used their’s because it was the best one I could find in terms of clarity along with the most post-apocalyptic scenario. Most sites I found for water purification are using modern toys that won’t necessarily be available after the camping stores and hardware stores get raided.

There where were many lessons learned that did not make it into the video because of editing concerns. Those lessons learned were the following.

Flush the system. Flush the system some more. And then flush the system. I am not sure how one would flush the system with water if your issue was lack of water. Maybe have the system built and then wait for a rain? Not good if you need the water for immediate survival.

Clean the sand, let it dry. Clean it again. The water came out dirtier than when it first went in. Reading about things later, I learned that wet sand can hold more nasty tiny lifeforms than water. If I had to use the sand immediately, I might even skip the sand step.

Don’t wait until the last moment to build your system. The whole system took 14 hours to make, and it should have taken longer. Best way to not run out of water is to plan ahead. This system should be built over time, before you need the water immediately to survive. If the grid goes down, and you don’t have a way to clean water, then make this a first priority after taking care of other immediate survival needs. According to the author of survivalblog.com a good low-cost way to clean water is pool shock tablets that only contain calcium chlorite.

Place multiple charcoal levels. Perhaps pre-treat water with charcoal first. Charcoal doesn’t taste that bad as tea. A fire does not produce as much charcoal as you might think. If I had to have a little water now, and not later. I would just filter the water as best as I could, put some charcoal into the bottle and shake it around. I read somewhere that is would work for immediate  and last resort water concerns. I suspect it would, but I am not inclined to try that until I have to in order to survive for real.

And on youtube

  1. Steven C says:

    you are correct that it would be better to be prepared, after all it doesn’t rain in Phoenix much, correct?

    I do like your video because it shows hard it is to learn this stuff out of book.

  2. After watching this video can I recommend boiling the water before you drink it to kill any little buggers that might be living in their before you filter out the contaminates.

    Also a long tube of activated charcoal may give you better results than your gravel, sand, charcoal mix.

    Try watching Rough Science season 2 episode 1 for a quick synopsis of this process.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Activated charcoal is basically charcoal that has been exposed in the right way to oxygen so that the little pours on the surface of the charcoal are multiplied. The more pours on the surface the better the charcoal is at filtering out impurities and the longer it lasts as a filter.

    Charcoal can be made by heating wood or coconut shells or some other organic material without exposing it to oxygen via a clay pot or metal box. This evaporates the other organic materials and just leaves behind the pure carbon briquettes. I’m not sure about the actual Activating process.. I think you might be able to just open up the charcoal container near the end of the baking process to make it activated charcoal.

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