Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just wanted to discuss this. Boiling water to purify.

I read a lot about the different ways people plan to make sure their water is good to drink. Either purification tablets, or "x" amount of bleach per "x" amount of water stored etc.

Correct me if I'm wrong but is it not just as good to boil whatever water you have stored or gather in order to purify it and drink it?

Why the purification tablets and other things people would do?

The only reason I could think of would be it depends on the situation. Is that right?

If I store water then I might keep it purified and ready to drink by mixing in 1 drop bleach per gallon of water for example.

So perhaps tablets and bleach etc is good mainly for water you store. Right?

And when it comes to water you acquire ( after filtering it) you can just boil it and then drink it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,561 Posts
purification tables & boiling kill bacterial and micro organisms in water but boiling will NOT remove many chemicals and metals in water

for stored water you can use a 99% pure silver coin in the water it will inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold keeping the water potable
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
What would remove the chemicals? Or if you think the water contains chemicals, just stay away?


My whole point of the post was, if I can just boil the water then I don't really need the purification tablets. Save the $ for something else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,561 Posts
yes that is true boiling will achieve the same as purification tablets but boiling requires more energy

distillation, reverse osmosis and carbon filtration are methods to remove chemicals from water
 

·
I don't wanna talk about
Joined
·
436 Posts
From the EPA, " Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present." Emphasis mine. They don't bother to tell what it doesn't kill. Mad Cow disease is probably one of those.

How are you planning on boiling your water? If you are mobile, it'll take carried fuel to do it. Unless you like the taste of campfire boiled water. If you use a chlorine based product, you're talking grams of weight.

If you are in a fixed location, you can treat 10,000 or so gallons of water, a few gallons at a time for 5 bucks worth of calcium hypochlorite. Shelf life is somewhere around forever if you store it right. How many gallons of water will $5 in fuel boil?

Treating water with chlorine requires no attention span. And, once the chlorine is dissipated, it's ready to drink. Boiling takes time to do and then you have to wait for it to cool before you can drink it. Plus boiling doesn't scale very well. You want to do 10 gallons at once? You have to do it one unit at a time. With chlorine, it takes the same amount of time.

BTW, storing bleach is analogous to storing Wonder bread. When spring rolls around, head over to walmart and grab a 1 lb bag of calcium hypochlorite. Search the net for specifics. Cheap peace of mind. One warning. Store it securely and separately.


Rugster,
Interesting points you bring up. When you distill alcohol, you never get all the water out. I wonder if the same applies when distilling water? Do chemicals near the temperature/vapor pressure curve of water get condensed out with the water? When boiling, do ALL the chemicals with a lower boiling point get boiled off from the water? And, exactly what metals are we worried about here? Is there a lot of heavy metal contamination of surface water or is it a red herring in the world of water purification? I really have no clue. I'm a hiker. If it's flowing, doesn't smell foul, have turds floating in it, I'd disinfect it and drink it.
 

·
Maximus
Joined
·
12,320 Posts
...

Correct me if I'm wrong but is it not just as good to boil whatever water you have stored or gather in order to purify it and drink it?

Why the purification tablets and other things people would do?

The only reason I could think of would be it depends on the situation. Is that right?...
Also fuel is a consideration. How much fuel do you have to boil enough water for a month? a year? Or what about if you have to walk about someplace and don't have time to stop to start a fire and boil.

A few cups at a time is no problem. But when you need a gallon or more, that is a whole lot of heat and fuel.

What would remove the chemicals? Or if you think the water contains chemicals, just stay away?


My whole point of the post was, if I can just boil the water then I don't really need the purification tablets. Save the $ for something else.
Best is always to get water from the cleanest source possible. Rain, fast river etc. A drainage ditch... not so much or as a last resort. Boiling will only remove chemicals that have a lower boiling point than water. The only way to remove most chemicals is filtering through activated charcoal after you purify it. Some reverse osmosis systems can also remove some chemicals, but you have to check with the individual systems and it is expensive.

Some will say distilling water will help also. And it will to a degree, but opposite of boiling, when you distill, the chemicals that have a lower boiling point than water will be reconstituted into your fresh water.

So basically, water is so important that you should have more than one way to clean it. Do not rely on just one.
 

·
Mod Certified PITA!
Joined
·
12,092 Posts
From the EPA, " Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present." Emphasis mine. They don't bother to tell what it doesn't kill. Mad Cow disease is probably one of those.
Well, yes, probably; but it's very difficult to kill prions through normal means, period. They're stranger and tougher than viruses, and you have to get extremely medieval on them to have any effect.

<snip> lots of other good points.
The worry with chemical contamination is mainly fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, diesel, heavy metals, and other poisons that have a higher volitilization point than water. So distilling will get rid of many of those; but not all, and not completely. Safe water is essential, and so are having many ways to get it...
 

·
www.chemflame.com
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Some will say distilling water will help also. And it will to a degree, but opposite of boiling, when you distill, the chemicals that have a lower boiling point than water will be reconstituted into your fresh water.
Can't you just throw away what ever comes out below the boiling point of water. Do just like what moonshiners do to get rid of the head (methanol) and tail. Anything below Water 100C (212F) is thrown out. Then make a high limit, like 225F and anything above that is thrown out.
 

·
Super Gassy Moderator
Joined
·
66,663 Posts
Why the purification tablets and other things people would do?
For many it's because of the amount of fuel needed to boil water. I mean to boil a canteen worth next to the river is one thing. But we need about a gallon a day, and when you think long term, the fuel needs would be considerable. Chlorine is cheap and easy to store (pool shock, not bleach).

And neither boiling nor chlorine removes chemical contaminants. Water from an unsure source should probably be put through a purifier than removes chemical contaminants unless you know the source to be safe. Without knowing distillation in depth, I wouldn't trust it to remove volatiles. Even volatile with a higher boiling point than water will begin to vaporize at lower temperatures, the same way that heat below the boiling point of water will cause it to evaporate faster or how a solar still will distill water even though it operates below the boiling point. But that still goes back to the fuel usage issue.
 

·
Maximus
Joined
·
12,320 Posts
Can't you just throw away what ever comes out below the boiling point of water. Do just like what moonshiners do to get rid of the head (methanol) and tail. Anything below Water 100C (212F) is thrown out. Then make a high limit, like 225F and anything above that is thrown out.
That would certainly eliminate a lot more chemicals than just regular distillation for sure. There is no clear answer that will take care of ALL chemicals. But you will get a lot more out doing it that way. For example, some water based chemicals will still only boil at 100C. These solutions have some bonds that are really hard to break. But again, you can't protect against everything out there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
I haven't really find any method of making water potable besides boiling it.

On my boat, I use reverse osmosis for salt water and for fresh water I additionally boil the water. Salt water in the oceans happens to be less contaminated, but there is no guarantee so my osmosis filter will take care of the heavy metals and chemicals. However it won't filter anything that small as nasty bacteria or viruses which is very common in the lakes, rivers, anywhere close to land.

A 0.004 micron filter with a high pressure pump could take care of it but they are very expensive and unreliable, if you crack it, you need to toss it, they are not effective anymore.

I don't rely on the marketing materials from the manufacturers of water purifiers. They don't give you the complete info. I check with people in the business.

99.99% is not good enough, because we are talking about really tiny organisms:
-for Gardia, and Cryptosporidium you need a filter of less than 4 microns.
-for salmonela, E coli, you need less than 0.5 micron
-and for something like Hepatitis you need already less than 0.004 microns.

Anyone knows of any decently priced filters can filter 0.004 micron?

As far as I know all of the above will be killed by boiling water at 212 F for a minute. If you are in high altitudes you need to figure out the boiling point of the water and cook it longer or cover it to increase the pressure and temperature in the pot.

I don't trust UV-C light purifiers, as far as I know, they don't actually kill the bacteria, they just change their DNA little bit, and prevent them from reproduction. However they are still alive in the water that you are drinking. Another limitation is that these bacteria can reactivate their reproduction just by being exposed to visible light for a certain amount of time, I don't know how much time. so you have to keep the water covered up.
so this will work for Giardia, but I cold not find anyone who knows if UV-C will deactivate Salmonella and hepatitis etc.

let me know if anyone finds out about that

I asked a pool guy about Iodine and Chlorine and he said that they are not effective, unless you use a really high concentration, heat the water at least to 70-80 F and then you have to wait about 15-20 minutes to kill the hepatitis virus. That's how you make pool water clean, but he does not recommend drinking it.

Anyone has experience using activated stabilized oxygen to disinfect water? I met one person who said that's his method for disinfecting water in bush. Just add few drops in the water bottle, shake it and let it work for a short while. it will kill all anaerobic pathogens.

anyone knows if this kills hepatitis or salmonela?

Regarding mad cow disease, there is no way of disinfecting water that I heard of. I am not an expert but I heard you need a temperature of around 1000 Celsius or 1800 F to be safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,848 Posts
Heating water to boiling will kill off every pathogen out there. Boiling doesn't care how cloudy the water is. All it takes is heat and a container and you could use solar energy if you wanted. In fact you do not even need to get it to a boil. 160 degrees for a few minutes does the job.

Adding a few drops of bleach per gallon will not kill everything (tho it will kill a majority of nasties). That takes iodine or high concentrations of hypochlorite and is still only a sure thing in clear water. Water that contains biological material is much more difficult to make safe with chemicals. Plus iodine/chlorine makes water taste terrible so you need some kind of neutralizing agent. Water purification tabs do not have an unlimited useful life once they are opened, either.

Filtration is good for a short time but your filter will eventually clog or fail and need to be replaced. UV lights are good but you will run out of electricity eventually and also don't work well in cloudy water.

So, heat is the gold standard for killing nasties and a boil is the only way in the field to be sure you are hot enough unless you have a temperature calibrated finger you're willing to sacrifice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,848 Posts
You can't get mad cow disease from water.

Reverse osmosis removes particles as small as .0001 microns, considerably smaller than any infectious virus, in fact smaller than many molecules. It is possible for bacteria to pass thru imperfections in the membrane (a very tiny number) so in Europe they install a secondary UV filter step. This is not considered necessary in the US nor by US.MIL.

UVC radiation purifies by damaging bacteria so they can't reproduce. Nothing wrong with that. However viruses require about 30 times more UVC than do the larger critters.

A better purification system (called SODIS) uses a combination of solar heat and UVA and PET bottles. It requires fairly clear water, (PET is what your typical store bought water or soda bottle is made of. Use the clear colorless variety. Glass doesn't work as it blocks most UVA.) Fill the container half way up, shake vigorously to oxygenate, then fill all the way to to overflowing and cap it. Leave exposed to bright sunlight for 6 hours (9a to 3p) or two full days for partly cloudy days. You want the long axis of the bottle to be at 90 degrees angle to the sun at noon. (I imagine if you left them on a reflective surface or even had extra reflective surfaces bouncing light onto them, you'd require less time.) Doesn't work very well in the winter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SODIS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
I just bought a Berkey water system for $270. It purifies the water 99.9% removing bacteria, metals and more. The filters will last for about 6,000 gallons of water
Great taste too
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,561 Posts
Rugster,
Interesting points you bring up. When you distill alcohol, you never get all the water out. I wonder if the same applies when distilling water? Do chemicals near the temperature/vapor pressure curve of water get condensed out with the water? When boiling, do ALL the chemicals with a lower boiling point get boiled off from the water? And, exactly what metals are we worried about here? Is there a lot of heavy metal contamination of surface water or is it a red herring in the world of water purification? I really have no clue. I'm a hiker. If it's flowing, doesn't smell foul, have turds floating in it, I'd disinfect it and drink it.

There's allot of stuff in water metals like lead, arsenic, and agriculture runoff pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, anti freeze.

I would be most concerned in a flood situation like Katrina where you know stuff is in the water what if you have no other choice you need water. IF i had the resource to do so,..I would bring to a boil first for a couple minutes to drive off solvents/ chemicals with a lower boiling point and those around water 212 F. Then, i'd treat it just like alcohol distillation discard the head the water from the start of the distillation and keep the temp just under the boiling point for water 212F there are plenty of chemicals miscible with water with slightly higher boiling point.
 

·
Professional Amateur
Joined
·
284 Posts
Good info here. Simple question from me though.

Say I've got clean 2 liter bottles and empty gallon jugs that held store bought water when new.

What do I need to do to store tap water in now? My local tap water seems pretty good. A few drops of bleach then fill? How many drops? Nothing, ..just fill and store?

D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,561 Posts
i would boil the water let it cool slightly and pour it while hot into the storage bottles and cap. That way you know you have killed any microorganisms in the water and when the water cools it contracts creating a vacuum in the bottle.

make sure it's not boiling water you will melt most watter bottles and if the jugs have been sitting empty some time disinfect with a little starsan

http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top