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Water - Purification

Water that is to be consumed by people or animals must be clean enough to not cause health problems. There are many ways to purify water as shown below.


Filtering water can be an effective way to purify it. However, there are some things you ought to be aware of before you use a filter.

For portable filter systems, you may need to fill a container with "dirty" water and then filter it. Consider that you need to have a special designated "dirty" container that is used to, for example, dip into the river to get water. If you dip your filter water bottle, there is a chance that you will contaminate the clean parts of the filter system. This where a funnel would be a great tool to have so you do not get any "dirty" water anywhere that you do not want to. Also, a funnel can help you avoid the spilling of precious water.

Black Berkey® Purification Elements - This is a popluar combination of a water filter and a water purifier. Click here for more info on the Black Berkey® Purification Elements.

Homemade Water Filtering System - This is a simple solution that combines a couple of buckets, a spigot, minor labor and one or two Black Berkey® Purification Elements. Click here for more info on the Homemade Water Filtering System.

Painter's Net - This is an inexpensive solution that can help to strain water before it is purified. They come in sizes that fit one and five gallon paint cans. However, any material that acts as a screen is better than nothing.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) System - This is a common household filter. Click here for more info on RO filtering.

Still - A Still can be used to produce clean water by distilling it. Click here for more info about using a still.

Swimming Pool Filter - A Swiming pool filter can help provide water that is somewhat clean for your use. Click here to learn more about using a swimming pool filter to purify your water.

Water Purifier - This is a pitcher with a filter that will purify water in small quantities, such as a pint at a time.

To see some Water Purifier Solutions, click these links:

Brita Water Filtration Pitcher, Classic, 6 x 8 oz Glasses

Culligan Pitcher, Drinking Water Filter, Model PET-1

PUR Ultimate Water Filtration Pitcher, 7 Cup Capacity

Water Sport Purification Bottle - These were, at first, made for athletes, but today you are likely to see them everywhere. They can be purchased with screw on lids, built in straws and even convenient handles. Some even have built-in filters. However you use one, they make excellent portable water storage containers. This is very handy if you have a source of water and need to purify it.

To see a Water Sport Purification Bottle , try this link:


There are many ways to treat water to make it safe enough to consume. All of these methods will be more effective if you have strained the water ahead of time. FEMA lists only three methods of Water Treatment, so that is all that we will list here.

Boiling - This is the safest method of treating water.  

Consider the following:

  • Boiling water require no special equipment.
  • Boiling water requires fuel.
  • Boiling water is time consuming.
  • Boiling water will kill all pathogens, including viruses.
  • Boiling water is impractical for all but a limited amount of water, unless you have a lot of time and a large supply of heat.
  • Boiling is recognized as the safest treatment under survival or emergency conditions.

To purify water by boiling:

  • Bring water to a rolling boil and maintain that for a minimum of 1 minute.
  • Keep in mind that some water will evaporate.
  • If the pot is covered, it will shorten the time to reach a boil.
  • Let the water cool before drinking.
  • Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This also will improve the taste of stored water.

Chlorine (Bleach) - You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color safe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners. Because the potency of bleach diminishes with time, use bleach from a newly opened or unopened bottle.

Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.

To purify water using Chlorine:

  • Use an eye dropper for dosage.
  • Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water, stir, and let stand for 30 minutes.
  • The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it doesn’t, then repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.
  • If it still does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.

Distillation - While the two methods described above will kill most microbes in water, distillation will remove microbes (germs) that resist these methods, as well as heavy metals, salts, and most other chemicals.

Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting only the vapor that condenses. The condensed vapor will not include salt or most other impurities.

To purify water using Distillation:

  • Fill a pot halfway with water.
  • Tie a cup to the handle on the pot's lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water).
  • Boil the water for 20 minutes.
  • The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled

There is a simple solar still that can be created with common household parts. It uses only the energy of the sun and is effective on any day when the sun shines. Click here to learn more by reading the Solar Still section of the Water Equipment page.



Water Test Kit - Once you have treated your precious water, it is a good idea to make sure that it is safe enough to drink. There are Water Test Kits available that allow you to do just that.

To see some Water Test Kits, try these links:

Watersafe Home Drinking Water Test, Lead, Bacteria


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Black Berkey®  Purification Elements

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