Water purification methods:

Templar

F. C. Selous DSO
Joined
May 5, 2011
Messages
2,923
Reaction score
11
Location
Vietnam/Brisbane
Clean water is something we all need, and after air is a requirement of human survival.

As water is so important we need to find ways to make itsafer to consume, in the military they use the term POTABLE for water that is safe to drink, an important thing to remember is that potable doesn’t mean 100% free of pathogens, it simply means that the pathogen load is so low as to be a MINIMAL RISK of illness if ingested.

Therefore, what can we find in water that is Untreated/Non-Potable?

Giardia:
This is a bug caused by the Giadia cyst, it is characterised by severe flatulence and belching in the beginning, there will be a strong egg like odour and taste to these emissions, followed by an explosive, watery diarrhoea, projectile vomiting and severe cramps lasting from 7-14 days. Symptoms appear in 3-25 days after ingestion.

Note: Treating water with Chlorine may not kill Giardia cysts, especially in cold water.

Cryptosporidium:
This bug has similar properties to Giardiasis, but is more severe and prolonged, Cryptosporidium has no known cure other than time, and diarrhoea may last from 3 days to 2 weeks.

Note: The only effective means to neutralize Cryptosporidium is boiling or by the use of commercial micro filter or reverse-osmosis pump. Chemicals such as iodine tablets or bleach will not kill 100% of Cryptosporidium cysts; however,they will make the water more potable.

Amoebiasis:
Caused by contamination of water or food by Amoebas, specifically Entamoeba histtolytica (a Protozoan). Causes gradual onset bloody diarrhoea with Abdominal pain and tenderness. Easily confused with Giadiasis, the only way to tell without a lab is to examine the loose stool for mucus from the lower GI tract (think the clear snot you have with a cold). Symptoms appear within 2-4 weeks of ingestion

Dysentery (E. coli):
Caused by contamination of water and food by urine and solid waste of warm-blooded animals. Causes prolonged diarrhoea with bloody stools, fever and general weakness. Symptoms appear within 2-4 hours of ingestion.

Cholera and Typhoid:
Even if you have been inoculated against these, you may still contract these diseases.

Cholera is causedby contamination of water or food by human solid waste, it causes profuse watery diarrhoea (>1lt per hour), vomiting and severe leg cramps. Symptoms appear within 2 hours of ingestion and CAN KILL in as little as 1-2 days.

Typhoid is causedby a type of Salmonella and may be present in water or food contaminated by human urine or solid waste; it causes fever, headache, and loss of appetite, constipation and bleeding bowels (shown as dark tar like stains in the stool, rectal bleeding is bright red as if you cut yourself). Symptoms appear in 3days to 3 weeks, depending on severity of infection.

Hepatitis A:
Causes diarrhoea, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes), dark urine (think dark ale beer), it is spread by person-to-person contact or ingestion of contaminated water or food. Symptoms appear after 28 days from ingestion.

Flukes:
Stagnant or water polluted by sheep, cattle or pigs will often contain Flukes, especially in Tropical areas.
They cause diarrhoea, abdominal pain (Colic), weakness, malaise, night sweats, fever and jaundice. Symptoms appear at least 12 weeks after ingestion.

Leeches:
It is possible to ingest small leeches without being aware of it; they can hook into your throat or nasal passages and create bleeding wounds, which may lead to infection. Always pre-filter your water through a cloth or screen.

Treatment of water:

Boiling:
The simplest treatment for water is boiling; all water should be boiled, but note: Boiling will not protect the water against re-contamination if stored for a prolonged period.

Chlorine Bleach:
Fill 1lt container with the cleanest water you can find, use 2-3 drops of household bleach per litre of water, shake well and wait 5minutes, loosen cap and invert bottle to wash threads, then wait an additional 25 minutes before consumption. In cold weather wait for 40 minutes before consumption.
Household Bleach is about 5.25% sodium hypochlorite.

Povidone-iodine (Betadine solution):
There is two types of Povidone-iodine: 10% (military strength) and 2% (civilian strength), both of which may be found in the pharmacy. However, the 2% is far more common.

2% Povidone-iodine solution:
Fill 1lt bottle with the cleanest water you can find, add 10 drops per litre of water, and let it stand for 30 minutes, if the water is cold and clear wait 60 minutes, if very cold or cloudy add 4 extra drops and wait 60 minutes.

10% Povidone-iodine solution:
Fill 1lt bottle as above, add 2 drops of 10% strength Povidone-iodine and wait 30 minutes, if cold wait 60 minutes, if very cold or cloudy add 4 drops and wait 60 minutes.

Iodine Tincture:
Fill 1lt bottle with cleanest water possible, add 5 drops of 2% Iodine Tincture to 1 litre of water, shake and let stand for 30 minutes, if water is very cold or cloudy add 10 drops per litre and let stand for 30 minutes.

Iodine Crystals: (Khan/Visser Method)
8g Resublimated USP Iodine Crystals, 1oz GLASS bottle, place crystals in the bottle and cap.
To use, add water to the 1oz bottle with crystals, shake well and let stand, then add 13ml (2.5 teaspoons) of the solution only to 1qt/lt of CLEAR water and let stand for 30mins. If the water is CLOUDY add 26ml/lt and let stand for 30min.


Note: Iodine and Povidone-Iodine is not the same thing! Povidone-Iodine is Iodine with an anti-fungal soap mixed in to help cleanse the skin... Pure Iodine or tincture of Iodine is an Alcohol based solution made by saturating Iodine Crystals with Alcohol.

Potassium Permanganate (Condi’s crystals):
Fill 1lt bottle with the cleanest water you can find, add 3-4 small crystals to 1 litre of water and let stand for 30 minutes, if water has turned bright pink it is considered purified. If it is dark pink dilute with more water as it will be too strong to safely drink, and wait for a further 30 minutes.

The least you need to know: (Fill > Add > Shake > Invert & loosen cap > let stand "X" amount of time.)
Based on 1lt bottle:

Chlorine Bleach(5.25%) = 2-3 drops/litre – wait 30-40 minutes.

Povidone-Iodine “Betadine”(2%) = 10 drops/litre – wait 30-60 minutes.

Povidone-Iodine “Betadine”(10%) = 2 drops/litre – wait 30-60 minutes (4 drops if water is very cold or cloudy)

Iodine Tincture (2%)= 5 drops/litre – wait 30 minutes; 10 drops/litre if very cold or cloudy – wait 30 minutes.

Iodine Crystals (Khan/Visser) = 13ml (2.5 teaspoons) (Clear water) or 26ml (Cloudy water) solution/litre - wait 30 minutes.


Potassium Permanganate“Condi’s Crystals” = 3-4 small grains/litre – wait 30 minutes, if BRIGHT PINK safe to drink.

Boiling = bring to a rolling boil for 1-3 minutes, add 1 minute for every 305m above sea level.

(Water is easily re-contaminated again after boiling, but not so easily with chemical treatment)
 
Last edited:

Templar

F. C. Selous DSO
Joined
May 5, 2011
Messages
2,923
Reaction score
11
Location
Vietnam/Brisbane
I will also add that where ever possible always filter your water before treatment.

A container filled with layers of material from a cloth (bottom) fine sand to coarse (top), and with a layer of Charcoal (not Ashes), makes a good filter. Use a plastic bottle, a can, a shirt sleeve or trouser leg, even a sock as your container. At the very least use a cloth over the opening of your bottle to filter out the chewie stuff before treatment...
 

Wave Man

Pyromaniac
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
2,235
Reaction score
697
Location
Brisbane, QLD
all good advice, as far as a cloth filter goes, that's one of the many uses of the cotton bandana.
 

Wentworth

Bear Mears
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
2,672
Reaction score
123
Location
Blue Mtns
Great thread, thanks for posting Templar.
Might add that UV and chlorine dioxide also claim effectiveness against crypto, but for the chlorine dioxide they suggest a 4 hr wait time in cold water :(
 

Templar

F. C. Selous DSO
Joined
May 5, 2011
Messages
2,923
Reaction score
11
Location
Vietnam/Brisbane
Thanks for mentioning UV and Chlorine dioxide.

Yes,

UV-C is good for killing your water, its only drawback is that it requires the water to be as clear as possible before use, if the water is cloudy it won't work as well as expected.

Chlorine dioxide is also a good treatment for short term use, if used for a prolonged period however, it causes chemical induced diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Remeber also it's most common use to date is as an industrial bleach for paper manufacture.
 

Wentworth

Bear Mears
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
2,672
Reaction score
123
Location
Blue Mtns
Really? Hadn't heard that regarding chlorine dioxide, as it is used in some municipal water treatment, aqua mira drops and the MSR miox.
 

TasMonk

Lofty Wiseman
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
173
Reaction score
1
Location
Tasmania
Iodine Crystals: (Khan/Visser Method)
8g Resublimated USP Iodine Crystals, 1oz GLASS bottle, place crystals in the bottle and cap.
To use, add water to the 1oz bottle with crystals, shake well and let stand, then add the solution only to 1qt/lt of water and let stand for 30mins.

[snip]

Iodine Crystals (Khan/Visser) = 1oz solution/litre - wait 30 minutes.
I've been reading through the original Khan & Visser material and wanted to draw attention to a couple minor points on this, particularly as it seems a few of us are soon going to be equipped to use it, and also because a lot of people might be reading this as a reference in the future.

First, the amount of crystals is not important as long as there are Iodine crystals in the jar. The 8-10g is only a suggested starting amount, and reading between the lines it seems that Khan & Visser chose 8-10g simply because it will treat a sufficiently large amount (up to 1000 liters) but is also a non-lethal amount in case they were accidentally consumed all at once (this being the reason they pointedly note in the original article that no one has died from ingesting 15g or less).

Second, a 1oz jar will hold nearly 30ml of water. Khan & Visser's original article calls for only 10ml of solution to be used per liter of water to be purified. I can maybe see some marginal increase, say to 12ml or even 15ml (roughly half the 1oz jar) as an "insurance factor" particularly if the water is less than perfectly clear or one is in a hurry... but using the entire jar of solution, as the instructions here seem to suggest, would be three times the recommended amount and to me that just seems needlessly excessive.

As I said, I'm just basing this on the original research article from the mid-'70s and I was reading that because I'm unfamiliar with this technique. If there is newer research contradicting what I'm saying here or updating the technique I'll happily welcome being corrected!
 

Templar

F. C. Selous DSO
Joined
May 5, 2011
Messages
2,923
Reaction score
11
Location
Vietnam/Brisbane
The amounts given were passed on to me by the late Ron Hood (US Survival Instructor) and were not part of the original post here as I had not used the method personally, unlike the other methods posted.

As an adjustment to this post:

To treat 1 liter or quart of water, carefully pour off 13ml (2.5 teaspoons) of the saturated iodine solution, the time frame is still the same for CLEAR water, if the water is cloudy add 26ml and stand for 30min.

source: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/water-treatment.htm
 
Last edited:

Templar

F. C. Selous DSO
Joined
May 5, 2011
Messages
2,923
Reaction score
11
Location
Vietnam/Brisbane
As an interesting side note...

As of October 26, 2009 the EU has banned the sale and use of Iodine drops and iodine tablets for the use of water treatment in all 27 member countries... after someone ingested/over dosed on the stuff and died, hard to tell which as the information is scetchy at best... :confused:
 
Last edited:

TasMonk

Lofty Wiseman
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
173
Reaction score
1
Location
Tasmania
The amounts given were passed on to me by the late Ron Hood (US Survival Instructor) and were not part of the original post here as I had not used the method personally, unlike the other methods posted.

As an adjustment to this post:

To treat 1 liter or quart of water, carefully pour off 13ml (2.5 teaspoons) of the saturated iodine solution, the time frame is still the same for CLEAR water, if the water is cloudy add 26ml and stand for 30min.

source: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/water-treatment.htm
Excellent, thank you. It should be easy enough for us to put marks on the 1oz jar indicating 13ml/2.5tsp and again at 26ml/5tsp to make this easy to dose correctly. The only other variable is that it should sit for longer if the water is colder (20min at 20C, 40min at 15C, and 60min at 5C below which it's not recommended for use without warming the water)

Also, your good info sleuthing answers another question I was having, namely if subsequent research has continued to support the technique. Since the CDC is still including it in their recommendations, the answer must be yes. Thanks for that, Templar!
 

megan

Russell Coight
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
21
Reaction score
0
Location
Australia - but no fixed abode
I must admit reading the forums here, I perplexed at all the people buying and using iodine for water purification. It isn't effective against all nasties. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_water_purification) and more importantly in my opinion; you can overdose on iodine if you use too much. There is no limiting how much you use. eg. adding too much doesn't taste bad or horrible. I have trouble remembering if I've added chlorine tablets to my water at times - but the check is easy - can I smell chlorine?

Hard to overdose on any of the chlorine based water purifiers tablets: add too much chlorine and you wont' drink it. Even if you have added too much chlorine (and waited sufficient time for the chlorine to kill the nasties it will), you can lower the chlorine by aerating the water (leaving stand in large open vessel, or pouring between vessels), or quicker - add a dechlorination chemical. Easy and common one is vitamin-c.

(Yes you can overdose on vitamin-c like you can on anything but you need to seriously work at it. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_C#Adverse_effects)
 
Last edited:

Moondog55

Walkabout
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
0
Reaction score
1
Location
Geelong Victoria Australia
Megan we use it as a back-up because for most of us it works and the LD50 is incredibly high. Also the raw product has a stable shelf life measured in decades not years and is not only very cost effective but also has multiple uses as topical applications.

Not recommended obviously for those with iodine problems but here in Australia iodine deficiency is much more of a problem than iodine sensitivity.
Simply put there is TOO MUCH information on the web and a lot of it is either totally wrong misleading or dangerous.

Also I can assure you that Iodine tastes MUCH worse than Chlorine
 

Wentworth

Bear Mears
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
2,672
Reaction score
123
Location
Blue Mtns
Hi Megan,
Iodine won't kill cryptosporidium, but neither will chlorine. Chlorine Dioxide will, but this is different to chlorine and not available in Australia unless you buy the MSR Miox pen.
Iodine does kill giardia as long as the water temperature is over 20 degreesC. Chlorine is more effected by organics in the water, which creates Chloramine (according to the wonderous Cody Lundin, even more of a nerd than me).
I personally prefer the taste of aquatabs (sodium hypochlorite) over iodine, but I do alternate between the two.

As regards the dosing and overdosing, Polar Pure is a commercial variation on the Kahn Visscher Method, which includes a bottle with a particle trap in the throat, so the crystals can't get out. They also bond the iodine crystals with "inert" material so that it won't kill you if swallowed, but also means it takes an hour to create the solution rather than 5 mins.
 

Randall

Rüdiger Nehberg
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
806
Reaction score
619
I must admit reading the forums here, I perplexed at all the people buying and using iodine for water purification. It isn't effective against all nasties. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_water_purification) and more importantly in my opinion; you can overdose on iodine if you use too much. There is no limiting how much you use. eg. adding too much doesn't taste bad or horrible. I have trouble remembering if I've added chlorine tablets to my water at times - but the check is easy - can I smell chlorine?

Hard to overdose on any of the chlorine based water purifiers tablets: add too much chlorine and you wont' drink it. Even if you have added too much chlorine (and waited sufficient time for the chlorine to kill the nasties it will), you can lower the chlorine by aerating the water (leaving stand in large open vessel, or pouring between vessels), or quicker - add a dechlorination chemical. Easy and common one is vitamin-c.

(Yes you can overdose on vitamin-c like you can on anything but you need to seriously work at it. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_C#Adverse_effects)
That's a common misunderstanding - if you can smell chlorine, then there is too much. It isn't chlorine you can smell, it's chloramines. It means, there's not enough chlorine in the water.
 
Last edited:

Markie D

Les Stroud
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
90
Reaction score
109
LIFE STRAW......

1 of the best things i ever purchased is a life straw, It makes water purification so easy, I used to carry purification tablets, and boil water then filter for drinking. Now i just fill my bottle with dirty water from lakes or even a puddle, Then i just slide my life straw into the bottle and drink it directly from the bottle, Makes life so easy, they reckon they filter 1000 liters.
I have had my first one for a year, (tbh i don't think i would have done 1000 liters through it) and i just bought a new one at christmas (christmas pressy from the kids) so i plan on just replacing it every year. They only cost 30 - 40 bucks, they weigh nothing, and i only pack half the water that i used to. Money well spent.
 
Top