Water purification is a vital process for either when your water supply has been tainted, or when planning a camping trip with your friends and family. In addition to contracting diseases and exposing your body to harmful bacteria when drinking unclean water, failing to purify it can cause diarrhoea, vomiting and other dehydrating symptoms which you will feel the effect of for days to come.
Understanding how you can adequately and safely purify your drinking water is an indispensable life skill which we will talk more about. That said, in this article, we will lend you some useful tips to keep in mind when filtering water.
Boil the Water
The easiest and most straightforward way to ensure your water is pure is by boiling it. When out in the wild, this means that you will need to make a fire and have an adequate container, boiling the water for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Although some people advise that 1 minute is enough, only good can come from boiling away any nasty and bacteria-infecting microorganisms found in tainted water. An important thing to remember is that the higher the altitude, the longer the cooking time should be.
Now that we’ve covered the natural way of purifying water, we can move on to chemical treatments that are bound to make your water safer for drinking. Amongst some of the most reliable and most efficient examples, you will find Iodine, Hydrogen Peroxide, Sodium Chlorite and Potassium Permanganate.
It may also surprise you to know that these chemical treatments are commonly used by survivalists, campers and hikers worldwide. That’s why you will be able to easily find purification tablets designed explicitly for these outdoor explorations and activities.
You may be wondering how to use them, but there’s no need to worry as it is incredibly simple to treat water this way. All you have to do is to drop the advised number of tablets into a container filled with impure water and then let the pills work their magic. As a general rule of thumb, water should be ready to consume within 30 minutes or so, but make sure you read the instructions and remain patient before gulping it down.
We had to separate plain old household bleach from our previous point, and that’s because this is probably one of the most surprising treatments – since you’ve been taught never to put bleach anywhere near your face or mouth.
Although there are purifying benefits to adding bleach to your water, it’s essential to know how much and when to stop. To make your water safe, only add about 1/8 teaspoon of the bleach in one gallon of water. Afterwards, let the treatment do its thing for longer than 30 minutes.
If you can’t get over the fact that you’re using bleach, skip it and add iodine (specifically 2% tincture of iodine) for every litre of water – also waiting a minimum of 30 minutes before drinking it.
We all want to believe that we are certified survivalists and that when put to the test, we would manage to survive in the wild. Hopefully, no doomsday scenario is going to take place anytime soon and for your traditional camping trips, you are always able to make use of commercial filters which could save you from nasty bacteria.
This technique is quite simple, as well, as you will merely need to add the unsafe water into a water hose located at the end of the purifier. Then, just watch it as it passes through either a charcoal or ceramic filter. Note that these commercial filters come in a variety of shapes and sizes and there are multiple options available in today’s marketplace.
You may find that some are pump-operated, while others have more simple filter systems. Although both types are efficient, they are not 100% able to remove viruses – despite typically getting rid of microorganisms, bacteria, or protozoa.
Of course, using a commercial filter is considerably better than not using anything at all. If you don’t usually tend to be prepared for the occasion, there are other methods available, like the ones previously mentioned.
The process of distilling water is meant to remove any bacteria that managed to survive boiling, bleach and many other methods. In addition to destroying these tiny microorganisms, distillation is thought to remove metals, salts and chemical pollutants that can harm your health – especially after prolonged consumption.
If you’re wondering how distillation works, it involves boiling water as an initial step. Then, collect the vapour and condense it into a liquid form, or otherwise, the drinking water you will get. Many survivalists have been known to create their distilling apparatus by suspending a cap and attaching it inside a container’s lid.
Afterwards adding a small layer of water at the bottom of the bowl and re-boiling it for around 20 to 30 minutes. Once the pot or similar container cools down, the water which drips down is the one that is purified.
Although large water facilities are more renowned for using ultraviolet radiation to kill bacteria and pathogens, smaller and more portable ultraviolet lights can be used at home or even in the wild. An ultraviolet purifying unit refers to a light source which has to be inserted into the contaminated water.
This small light source is highly efficient, managing to kill microbes in as little as 30 to 80 seconds. However, note that this method is not capable of removing metals, chemicals, or dirt found in water. Thus, make sure you combine it with another technique for added efficiency.
Under reasonable conditions, our bodies can survive without water for around 3 to 5 days. However, dehydration can cause severe physical and psychological damage. Thus, it’s important to know how to purify your water in case of an emergency.
Helping our cells, organs and tissues to regulate temperature and maintain other bodily functions, pure water is an absolute must for our survival as we know it.