Emergency Water Treatment
Emergency Water Treatment - what can you do?
Water naturally contains various harmful substances such as protozoan parasites, bacteria, viruses and harmful chemicals. The two most common protozoa are Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Protozoa have been found to be more resistant to water treatment by Iodine and Chlorine compared to bacteria and viruses. Common bacteria found in water include E.coli and Salmonella. Common viruses include hepatitis A, Rotavirus and Polio. Viruses unlike protozoa respond well to disinfection.
Most of these pathogens are introduced into the water by human and animal carriers. When one drinks contaminated water they are likely to suffer symptoms such as fever, cramps, diarrhea and nausea. Symptoms may not occur immediately as the pathogens usually have an incubation period of between a few hours to a couple of months. Symptoms only begin to show after the pathogens have multiplied reaching a threshold.
Methods of Emergency Water Treatment
Boiling - After water has been brought to a boil it should be maintained that way for 10 minutes. For every increase of 1000 ft above sea level the water should be boiled for an extra minute. The advantage of boiling as a means of emergency water treatment is that it kills all pathogens viruses included and no special equipment is required. However, it consumes fuel and it is not practical to boil large amounts of water.
Iodine / Chlorine Treatment - This type of treatment destroys most of the pathogens viruses included. However, emergency water treatment by chlorine changes the taste of water. About 3 drops of iodine are required for a quart of clear water and about 6 drops for cloudy water. This method is relatively cheap and is not recommended for long term use. Chlorine in the form of bleach may be used to purify water for drinking. However, the bleach must be marked 5.25% sodium hypochlorite and free from soap and phosphates. When using bleach to purify water 0.5 ml should be used for each gallon of clear water and 1.25ml for each gallon of cloudy water. After this, the water should be left to stand for 30 minutes before filtering.
Iodine tablets may be a bit expensive but they are very effective. Iodine use should be combined with filtering since tablet iodine is not very effective against Giardia and Cryptosporidium. This is because these protozoa form cysts which prove hard for iodine to penetrate. However, the effectiveness of Iodine depends on the PH and Temperature of the water. Iodine is not recommended for long term use. Iodine may be an essential nutrient but its ingestion is not advised. Pregnant women and victims of thyroid disease should avoid using Iodine as a means of emergency water treatment.
Stabilized Oxygen - Oxygen enriched concentrates when added to water are effective in killing bacteria. These concentrates also increase the level of oxygen in the water. This method may be preferred by people who want to avoid the negative side effects of iodine and chlorine. On the other hand excessive mounts of oxygen have been found to cause damage to cells and DNA.
One sure form of emergency water treatment is by purchasing an emergency water purification kit or water filter. They can be purchased online or even found or ordered at some local retail outlets.
If you have an interest in the subject our site has a world of information concerning emergency water purification. Many of the articles go into much more detail and give you other emercency methods.