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About the author - I am not a professional in safe drinking water, so this article should be considered as opinion, and not as scientific fact. When possible links have been provided to authority sites to backup certain statements.

Lets talk about safe drinking water during a long term SHTF / teotwawki situation. When it comes to water, there is a saying I like to use, “without safe drinking water, life as we know it can not exist.”

During a long term SHTF / teotwawki situation, people will be taking water from creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes,, whatever they can find and trying to make it safe to drink. Its important to know the most common types of infections, and how to remove / kill the organisms.

In this article we will be looking at the most common waterborne infections, their cause, and how to prevent becoming infected.

Common waterborne infections

Campylobacter / Campylobacteriosis
Cholerae
Cryptosporidium / Cryptosporidiosis
Giardia / Giardiasis
Hepatitis A
Legionella / Legionellosis
Salmonella / Salmonellosis
Shigella
Typhoid Fever

Some cause short term discomfort, some cause death, some cause life long illnesses.


Related forum threadUsing a Berkey Water filter at the Bug Out Location

In the USA, the majority of waterborne infections are from cryptosporidium – which is a large protozoan. Its easily removed by filtration, but not affected with chemicals. Chlorine has a difficult time killing cryptosporidium due to its outer shell.

Polio is still around, but its very rare. Most of the time polio is limited to the amish communities due to their objection to vaccines and poor sewage sanitation.

If your down stream from a populated area, or down stream from a rural area, I would seriously consider adding purification tablets. The main factor is sewage and the diseases that it can transmit. Even though stuff like hepatitis and polio are very rare inside the USA – they are still around.

From a 2005 – 2008 US government study on waterborne infections

CDC Source Document
Cryptosporidium accounted for 82.9%
E. Coli accounted for 6.3%
Campylobacter 6.1%
Giardia 2.1%
Shigella Sonnei – 8.5%
Norovirus – 8.3%


Microorganism size and susceptibility to filtration:

CDC Source Document
Organism ———————- Average sizes
Viruses ————————- 0.03
Enteric bacteria (E. coli) —– 0.5 × 3.0–8.0
Cryptosporidium oocyst—– 4–6
Giardia cyst ——————– 6.0–10.0 × 8.0–15.0

If you can filter out cryptosporidium, you can reduce your chances of getting a waterborne infection by around 83%.

Inside the USA, viral waterborne infections are very rare, and they have to come from some kind of human host – such as hepatitis A. If your water has hepatitis A in it, you have bigger issues at hand because your drinking water that is contaminated with human feces.

United States, 2005–2006 number of waterborne-disease outbreaks associated with recreational water use.

Parasites – 43.6%
Bacteria – 28.2%
Viruses – 5.1%


Related Forum Thread – Berkey Light Water Filter

Cryptosporidium

From studies done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we know that Cryptosporidium is a common waterborne infection, but its also a large protozoan that should be easy to filter out.

Cryptosporidium is somewhat resistant to chlorine disinfection due to an outer shell. Because of this, Cryptosporidium is one of the most common waterborne infections in city water supplies.

One of the main causes of Cryptosporidium is fecal contamination from livestock. If there are any farms upstream from your source of water, the risk of Cryptosporidium goes up.

E. Coli

Next in line is E. Coli. Escherichia coli is a bacteria that can be filtered, killed with UV light and killed with chemical treatment.

E. Coli can also be a sign of human fecal contamination.

HEPATITIS A

In ideal conditions, Hepatitis A can live in water up to 100 days.

Everyday filters can not remove Hepatitis A, as the virus is so small it slips through the filter. But, Hep A can be killed with Chlorine treatment.

CDC recommendations for using bleach to make water safe to drink

If the water is clear – 8 drops of unscented bleach per gallon of water.

If the water is cloudy – 16 drops of unscented bleach per gallon of water.

Mix well and wait 30 minutes or more before drinking.

Other viral infections

Humans know very little about viruses, as compared to other organisms. But one thing about human viral infections, the majority of them are not naturally occurring. Meaning, the water source has to have a viral source for it to be contaminated.

Water filter examples

* most water filters will not remove viruses, be sure to check the manufacturers web site for details.

Berkey light
Royal Berkey
Katadyn Hiker
Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter
Katadyn TRK Drip Gravidyn Water Filter
Katadyn Vario
MSR Sweetwater
MiniWorks EX Microfilter

UV light and devices

Exposure to UV light is effective in eliminating bacteria, viruses, protozoa and Cryptosporidium oocysts in water. SteriPEN eliminates over 99.9 of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause water-borne illnesses. Purifies 16 oz of water in 48 seconds or 32 oz in 90 seconds. However, UV light does not ensure the safety of the water beyond the exposure area.

UV devices such as the steripen are effective in making small amounts of water safe to drink. By small, you can not insert the steripen into a water well and purify 1,000 gallons of water. But, you will be able to purify 32 ounce water bottles and canteens.

One solution where the steripen can come in handy, run the water through something like a Berkey water filter, fill up a 32 ounce water bottle, purify the water in the bottle with a steripen, then issue the water bottle to a person in need.

Water Wells



Depending on the area where you live, that will define how deep the well has to be. If you are planning on installing a water pump, go ahead and set it up for an electric water pump as well as a hand powered pump. This would include a housing for the pump to go in, ground rod and maybe electrical wiring.

Instead of a hand powered pump, a solar powered unit could be installed and the solar cells could be placed on top of the pump house. But in this article, we will just be discussing hand powered pumps.

Studies from developing nations show that 90% hand powered water pumps break down within 3 years. This is mainly due to worn out or broken parts. In the case of hand powered pumps, what you pay for may very well be what you get. So if you plan on installing a hand powered water pump, do not buy the cheapest product on the market.

To start with, contact the local city hall, or water district to make sure that citizens are allowed to have their own water well. Some cities allow such wells, but only for farm or garden use. So you might have to explain that your putting in a garden, and you want a private well so you do not run up your water bill. If your town or city does not allow private wells, then its time to get the laws changed.

After everything has been cleared with the city, look through the local telephone book and find a water well service. Call them, get a bid and some references.

When the well is dug, a truck will need access to the property – which drills a hole into the ground and inserts the drill stem. This is sometimes 3 or 4 inch in diameter steel pipe. The well digger will drill down until they hit water, and then keep going for another few feet.

The way these pumps work, there is a piston that moves up and down in a shaft. The lever from the handle provides the force needed to bring the water to the top of the line.

When deciding on a water pump, be sure to pick a unit that is designed for the depth of your well and the capacity that your and your family needs. In a worse case scenario, and the pump is your only source of water – will it provide enough for your needs?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average US family uses 400 gallons of water per day. Most of that goes to watering lawns and gardens. During a disaster, the grass can die, but the garden will need water.

Conclusion

No water is ever going to be free of contaminates, but we can take measures to reduce the chance of the water being infected.

In the USA, cryptosporidium is the main cause of waterborne infections, E. Coli is second place, and Campylobacter is third place.

Common water filters can not remove viruses, they must be killed with UV light or chemical treatment.

Double water treats are better then a single layer – filter + chemical, UV + filter, chemical + UV + filter,,,,.

UV light is effective in killing over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa.
 

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I was surprised that there was no mention of boiling water for purification. We are on a private 150' well and have/use an Aquarain and Big Berkey systems w/backup filters however I've always ASSUMED that boiling was the final word for making good water.
 

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In the USA, the majority of waterborne infections are from cryptosporidium – which is a large protozoan. Its easily removed by filtration, but not affected with chemicals. Chlorine has a difficult time killing cryptosporidium due to its outer shell.

From a 2005 – 2008 US government study on waterborne infections

CDC Source Document
Cryptosporidium accounted for 82.9%

Microorganism size and susceptibility to filtration:

Cryptosporidium oocyst—– 4–6

If you can filter out cryptosporidium, you can reduce your chances of getting a waterborne infection by around 83%.

Related Forum Thread – Berkey Light Water Filter

Cryptosporidium

From studies done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we know that Cryptosporidium is a common waterborne infection, but its also a large protozoan that should be easy to filter out.

Cryptosporidium is somewhat resistant to chlorine disinfection due to an outer shell. Because of this, Cryptosporidium is one of the most common waterborne infections in city water supplies.

One of the main causes of Cryptosporidium is fecal contamination from livestock. If there are any farms upstream from your source of water, the risk of Cryptosporidium goes up.
This is most likely going to be a problem for me. I take it the article is saying that Cryptosporidium is 4-6 microns?

Worst case (unfiltered) would sunlight help with chlorination?
 

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Disinfecting with Ultraviolet can be problematic. You need clear water and the ability to totally surround the water with the UV light to prevent the shadow effect. Since the ultraviolet can be blocked (shaded) it might not reach all the contaminates to deactivate them from reproducing. A easy way to think of it is like using a tree to shade you from the sun. The bacteria or viruses hides behind other bacteria or spot of dirt and avoids the UV.

A lot of simple ultraviolet disinfection products on the market will not provide enough intensity and total coverage. This is especially the case with cloudy or occluded water. If you do use UV it is best to do it after you have already filtered the water as much as possible. Have a type of UV filter that passes the water through a reflection type of chamber that presents the UV to all angles.
 

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Boiling water - that topic should be common knowledge. So lets talk about stuff that is not discussed very much.

I am thinking of getting a SteriPEN and leaving it at the bug out location, along with some 32 ounce water bottles.

Run the creek water through the Royal Berkey, fill up a 32 ounce water bottle (or canteen), after the water is in the bottle or canteen purify the water with a SteriPEN.

The thing with the water bottles and canteens - I would want them to be see-through so I can verify the UV light is on.
 

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First Need portable water purifier takes care of all you mentioned including Viruses. While a steri-pen is good as a second line of defense. Had anyone looked into building a UV light box that would work on a gallon jug, or does the light source have to enter the water(like the steri-pen) to work?
 

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I was thinking more along the lines of treating water in plastic bottles and sunning them.

The water filters are great, but they're a little high priced and are on the back burner. Until them, boil, filter as best as I can (coffee filters), treat and sun are my plan.
 

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I was thinking more along the lines of treating water in plastic bottles and sunning them.

...
Plastic might block any UV from the sun rays from getting to the water. You would want clear glass that is UV transparent. In the treatment plant our UV lights had quartz sheaths to allow UV though.

In response to the person asking about if the UV light needs to be inside the water, no. A UV box is rather the standard method. You want something that allows no shadows. I have not looked at this "steripen" so I can not speak to its efficacy. I would doubt you would want to use it in anything but a very small container at best.

One comment about inside clear glass as Kev mentioned, is UV light can damage your eyesight, so do not look without protection at a UV source. Depending on the glass will depend on the amount it gets transmitted.
 

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I don't have a lot to add to this since we have two springs on our property that we had tested and it was very pure but I did want to say excellent post Kev.
 

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I have not looked at this "steripen" so I can not speak to its efficacy. I would doubt you would want to use it in anything but a very small container at best.
On the stripen website, the company has a long list of certifications from laboratories.

The rating is something like 48 seconds of exposure for 16 ounces of water, and 90 seconds for 32 ounces of water.

That is why I suggested 32 ounce water bottles. Each water bottle would take 90 seconds of exposure, and 32 ounce water bottles are common. You can go to just about any sporting goods store and buy 32 ounce bottles.

16 ounces of water is not very much in the summer time. While out on the boat fishing or hiking, I can down 16 ounces of water at one time.

I have been stocking up on 32 ounce water bottles and canteens from academy sports and outdoors, the bottles and canteens are cheap and they are BPA free.
 

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Why the #1 topic for survival has gotten so little attention here i will never know. With water prices always rising a simple hand pump for my 15 avocado tree's would be practical for me now, not just SHTF. I could care less about the grass, the tree's provide a nice privacy barrier as well as shade, not to mention its a superfood. I planted the tree's with 3' sections of perforated sewer pipe so i just walk around with a bucket and instantly deep soak them. I go to the desert during the winter months on a friends property to do my R&R, they have a electric well but when we get edumacated enough well try making it solar.

Thanks for the ideas and always doing the heavy lifting ;)
 

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Why the #1 topic for survival has gotten so little attention here i will never know. With water prices always rising a simple hand pump for my 15 avocado tree's would be practical for me now, not just SHTF. I could care less about the grass, the tree's provide a nice privacy barrier as well as shade, not to mention its a superfood. I planted the tree's with 3' sections of perforated sewer pipe so i just walk around with a bucket and instantly deep soak them. I go to the desert during the winter months on a friends property to do my R&R, they have a electric well but when we get edumacated enough well try making it solar.

Thanks for the ideas and always doing the heavy lifting ;)
http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=255677

:thumb:
 
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