Portable Water Purification

Healthy Water

Purification of Water In An Emergency

Making Water Safe With Portable Water Purification Techniques

Having an active and adventurous lifestyle can bring you to places where potable water is hard or impossible to find. For backpackers a portable water purification system is an important part of their equipment as without it they may have to drink unsafe water which can make them sick while at a location where no medical aid is available. There are now a wide variety of commercial portable water purification systems available on the market which can be used for hiking and camping in remote areas or possibly during an emergency disaster where the safe water supply has been cut off or damaged.

Boiling is one of the simplest techniques in purifying water since there is no special equipment needed. Just bring water to a rolling boil for at least 5 minutes and it will effectively kill most bacteria including viruses. If combined with an activated charcoal filter a rolling boil for only one minute can neutralize most pathogens and pollutants in the water and make it safe to drink.

Another portable water purification system is the portable pump filter, which are now commercially available. Most of these filters will remove dangerous bacteria and protozoa but do not remove an unsafe virus. It is still necessary to disinfect the water by adding iodine or bleach or letting it pass under an ultraviolet light after filtering to fully remove all contaminants.

Activated carbon adsoption is one of the best portable water purification techniques that can be used at home or in travel. Granular activated carbon filtering adsorbs most toxic particles and is easy to store or carry. However, this method is usually used for pre-filtering or post-filtering. Though it is very efficient, carbon adsoption should be used along with chemical disinfection treatments to render the water totally safe.

Chemical treatment is another one of the portable water purification methods used in emergency water situations. Disinfection by chemicals is used to terminate waterborne bacteria and viruses by way of neutralizing the pathogens and other impurities in the water.

Iodine treatment is one of the most common chemical disinfection methods used. Iodine only needs to be added to water in specified amounts. The iodine will kill most of the common contaminants present in the water although it is better to filter the water first when possible. Most iodine treatment kits have an iodine pill as a disinfectant and a second pill which contains vitamins that will remove the iodine taste from the water after treatment.

Chlorination is the most popular of the chemical additives in part because it can be found in most homes in the form of bleach. Using chlorine in water is also three times more effective as a concentration of iodine. An added plus is chlorine will also help remove iron and other minerals found in the water.

Ultraviolet purification is still another portable water purification technique that destroys bacteria and viruses in unsafe drinking water by exposure to its rays. Ultraviolet light is in most cases provided by using mercury lamps. Studies show that ultraviolet radiation will disinfect without changing the composition of the water.

Another important portable water purification method that needs only the suns rays is solar water disinfection. It has been found that the temperature and UV rays provided by the sun will destroy any unsafe microbes lurking in the water.

The best method is to use a transparent plastic polyethylene container completely filled with water and the cap tightly closed. The container is then exposed to direct sunlight for six to eight hours in full sunlight or two to three days in partial sunlight. This method of emergency water purification has been found to work especially well in areas with strong and constant sunlight.

If you are unsure if your water supply is safe to drink, it is always better to use one of the above portable water purification techniques mentioned above before drinking it. If you get extremely ill from drinking contaminated water you will only make a bad situation worse.

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