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What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – Water)

Thursday, July 29, 2010, 6:14 PM

Note:  This is part of a series on personal preparation to help you answer the question, "What should I do?"  Awhile back, we polled our most frequent visitors to the site and asked what improvements would be most helpful to our readers.  The strongest response was that we should make it easier for people to start preparing.

So we've decided to do exactly that.  This series on how to build personal resilience into your life is designed for people who are just beginning the process.  Those who have already taken these basic steps (and more) are invited to help us improve what is offered here by contributing comments, as this content is meant to be dynamic and improve over time.  Our goal is to provide a safe, rational, relatively comfortable experience for those who are just coming to the realization that it would be prudent to take precautionary steps against an uncertain future.

It’s important to remember that the steps discussed here are first steps.  But for the unprepared, taking that initial action (Step Zero) is essential on the journey to developing resiliency.  These actions are “necessary but insufficient” parts of an ongoing process.

Full disclosure:  In this and future articles, we will recommend specific products that we have found to be especially suitable and relevant.  If you click on a link to purchase one of the products recommended below, PeakProsperity.com will receive a small commission.  This will not impact the price you pay for those items -- you can locate and buy these products elsewhere if you wish -- but with the funds we receive as the result of these transactions, we can continue to expand our other community offerings, produce the next wave of videos, and bolster our outreach and educational efforts.  You win by saving time and having easy access to our well-researched product recommendations, and we win by receiving your support and encouragement to continue doing what we do.

We’d also love to hear any feedback based on your firsthand experience with the products and vendors that we recommend.  Our goal is to ensure that we’re doing our utmost to offer the best guidance for utility, value, and service.

And so, we begin this series with water…

Water

The highest priority resource to get under your local control is water.  Humans can live for roughly three weeks without food, but will perish after three days without water.  Just as importantly, many diseases are water-borne, so sufficient access to water must ensure quality as well as quantity.  Ample, clean water is a necessity of life.

For most Americans, water for drinking and washing comes either from a municipal (town/city) water supply or from a private well, so for the purposes of this article, we'll focus on water solutions around those options.

To begin with, storing water is generally inconvenient.  Stored water takes up a great deal of space, it's heavy, and it needs to be replaced every couple of years because it goes stale over time.  But for people living in very dry areas or in cities, especially in areas prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, storing water is the prudent thing to do.

I personally maintain about 40 gallons of water storage capacity, even though I have access to ample well and surface water.  Our family prefers drinking water that comes from a roadside spring, and so we fill up our jugs whenever we happen to drive by.  This means we have a lot of direct experience toting five-gallon containers around and learning what features are most desirable in water storage jugs.

For any water jug, my basic requirements are reasonable price, solid construction (won't wear out after a few uses or split when bumped) and that it be free of BPA, a toxin present in some plastics.  "Guilty until proven innocent" is my motto when it comes to industrial chemicals with hormone-mimetic potential, and because of this, BPA should be avoided unless research proves it to be safe. 

For storage, we recommend:

Stackable 5-Gallon Water Containers

  • HDPE “food grade” containers (BPA-free)
  • 5-gallon size is relatively easy to transport; it’s hard for most individuals to carry more than this.
  • Stackable shape helps with efficient storage.
  • Opaque color helps to limit algae growth if trace nutrients and light are present.
  • If you plan to use this container to drink from around the house, be sure to get the optional spigot attachment.

If you’re going to be storing and using your containers inside your house where direct sunlight is less of a factor, you may want to consider a clear container instead - it’s a lot easier to see how much water you’re using up as you go.  Also, having a spigot makes it substantially more convenient for everyday needs like filling a glass, so for a few dollars more, I would personally consider this option: 

Bel-Art Clear 5-Gallon Water Container with Spigot 

  • High-density polyethylene jug holds up to 5 gallons (20 liters).
  • Long (4 1/2"), easy-access spigot allows dispensing directly from table or shelf and is self-storing; gasketed spigot screws on to a 30mm (1-1/4") I.D. bung and securely stores inside the large cap during transportation.
  • 2 3/4" screw-top opening makes filling easy and allows venting.
  • Sturdy handle and bottom grip enable easy carrying.
  • Dimensions:  25cm (9-7/8") sq. x 38cm (15") high.  Cube shape maximizes storage space

For any plastic jugs or storage containers, I prefer to "treat" them before use by filling them with water and leaving them in the sun for two days.  This gets rid of the 'new plastic' smell and helps to bake out any residues that might be left on the interior surface.  Dump the first batch of water, rinse lightly, and they're ready to use.

Clean, Clear, Potable Water

I have never yet had to worry about water availability because each place I've lived has had potable surface water nearby.  Our current house has a deep well, but I plan to invest in an additional shallow well by drilling down 80 to 90 feet to a water-holding gravel layer that sits under our land.  To this shallow well, we'll attach both a windmill (for relatively continuous pumping for gardening purposes) and a hand pump capable of drawing from that depth.  We will also be installing rainwater catchment systems to our gutters.

Clean and abundant water is critical for sustaining life, no matter what your standard of living.  Some lucky folks have natural springs, streams, or other bodies of water on their property, which can greatly ease the issue of water access in times of emergency.  But the emphasis here for everyone, even if you've got water right out your front door, is on cleanliness.  

So perhaps now you have stored water or have access to a natural source of water.  But how can you be certain that this water is safe to drink?  Fortunately, that's easy.

Our family uses a ceramic filter based on proven technology that can render even the most foul pond water into clean, pure drinking water.  It has no moving parts - you just pour water in and let gravity do the rest.  There's an upper reservoir with filters in it connected to a lower tank.

We happen to use the Doulton filter (more popularly known as the Big Berkey), which also is the filter that appears to be most preferred by members of the PeakProsperity.com community:

Doulton Filter with Two 7-inch Ceramic Candles

  • Ceramic filters are extremely efficient at removing particulates and bacteria, and are very long-lasting.
  • Water filters through at approximately two quarts per hour.
  • Each 7" ceramic candle will filter 535 gallons each (replace candles yearly if using on a continual basis).

This filter removes all bacteria, all other little critters, and even a host of noxious chemicals.  We even use it to treat our otherwise perfectly safe well water right now, because it removes even slight impurities and improves the flavor.  But having this process be part of our daily life also gives us familiarity and practice in using this system of water filtration.

Knowing that our family will always have clean drinking water, no matter what economic or weather emergency may arise, adds to our resilience.  It also gives us a peace of mind that is invaluable.

We like the Doulton in the stainless steel model because it sits in our kitchen exposed to light.  If it were transparent, algae and other photosynthetic critters would eventually grow in the tank and shorten filter life by gumming them up.  Metal doesn't let the light through and thus keeps the water cleaner.

But the stainless model is a bit pricey (beginning at $178 + S&H), and some folks prefer to buy and stash a cheaper model to be pulled out only under emergency conditions.  If this is your plan, long-term algae growth is not a concern.

For infrequent emergency use, we recommend the Doulton Plastic Water Filter with Two 7-inch Ceramic Candles, which is currently priced at $138 + S&H.

  • Uses the exact same ceramic candle filters as the Doulton model.
  • Water filters through at approximately two quarts per hour – throughput can be materially increased by adding more ceramic candles (up to five).
  • Clear surface makes it easier to see how much water you’re using up as you go.

For more travel-sized/compact filters and purifiers, we recommend the MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter and the SteriPEN Emergency Water Purifier.  For even more options, click here.

These first steps are only a start toward increasing personal resilience through water security.  Much more can be learned about treating, storing, irrigating, and conserving water in our community forums, including a specific thread that has been developing for over a year on this topic (click here for the Definitive Water Thread).  There is an incredible wealth of guidance amassed here by many PeakProsperity.com members who are passionate and experienced about developing personal and community resilience – and many are happy to help answer questions posted on the forums.  So please consider joining the forum discussion if you have questions.  And if you’re one of those experienced forum mavens, thank you for all that you’re doing to help new members start on building resiliency into their lives.  


If you have not yet seen the other articles in this series on resilience, you can find them here:


What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 8 – Community)


    What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 9 – Your Next Steps)

    Full disclosure: In this and future articles, we will recommend specific products and services that we have found to be especially suitable and relevant. If you click on a link to purchase one of the recommended products or services, PeakProsperity.com may receive a small commission. This will not impact the price you pay for those items -- you can locate and buy these products elsewhere if you wish -- but with the funds we receive as the result of these transactions, we can continue to expand our other community offerings, produce the next wave of videos, and bolster our outreach and educational efforts. You win by saving time and having easy access to our well-researched product recommendations, and we win by receiving your support and encouragement to continue doing what we do.

    We’d also love to hear any feedback based on your firsthand experience with the products and vendors that we recommend. Our goal is to ensure that we’re doing our utmost to offer the best guidance for utility, value, and service.


    Part of the copy in this series is excerpted (and slightly modified) from a book chapter I wrote for The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises (Richard Heinberg and Daniel Lerch, eds.)

    This content is being reproduced here with permission.  For other book excerpts, permission to reprint, and purchasing information, please visit http://www.postcarbonreader.com.

    Related content

    54 Comments

    LG's picture
    LG
    Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 6 2009
    Posts: 59
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Mr. Martenson,

    I have used a KATADYN gravity flow water filter for years. It is a food grade plastic with ceramic filters. I have used this brand since Y2K. For a number of years my wife and I lived in remote bush Alaska where the water is sometimes of questionable quality. Being plastic it would ship easier without damage, it is also seamless. One ceramic filter will provide enough water for six people easily. Since the filters have an in-water limited life there is no need to use more than is necessary. Numerous retailers carry these products. Not having used the metal canisters I cannot comment about their function, but I cannot see why metal would not do the job. Your site is very useful and informative. Walmart has an eight-gallon water container that will stack, in sporting goods.

    Best Wishes.

    Poet's picture
    Poet
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Jan 21 2009
    Posts: 1844
    Re: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 - Water Filtration)



    It's great to have something that works for years and doesn't require chemicals or constant maintenance. Just let gravity do the work.



    I can attest to the ceramic filters. Growing up a tropical country, we had the stainless steel type container with candle-style ceramic filters. Had years of use in them.



    We did go one step further (not necessary), which was to boil our water before putting it in there.



    Poet


    Dokken's picture
    Dokken
    Status: Member (Offline)
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    Posts: 1
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Here is a no-cost option that can even save money for most people and it has benefits in good time or bad.

    I take bottles my family normally uses (milk jugs, large juice bottles, soda bottles and such) and wash them out with dish soap and rinse after we use them. Then, I fill them 3/4 full with clean water. Then, I put the bottles in our large freezer in our garage. This does two things.

    In good times, this stored frozen water adds to the thermal mass of my freezer. Anyone who knows physics understands that things with lots of thermal mass are more stable in temperature and take less energy to maintain. In other words, with a full freezer once it is cold, it stays cold longer without having to turn on. The water bottles are free thermal mass. You could of course buy hundreds of dollars of extra food, but if that's not in your budget the bottles are great.

    Of course, if you're out of town and the freezer goes out, it's nice to have it half-full of ice. The thermal mass should keep the food inside from going bad for at least a few extra days. Something as simple as a two-day power outage could ruin hundreds of dollars of food unless you have it protected with lots of thermal mass.

    In bad times (you pick the situation) you obviously have a dozen or so gallons of water stored in the form of ice. Simply take them out one at a time.

    So, frozen water in bottles you were probably going to discard or recycle. It's simple and free. It cuts electric rates (thermal mass), protects food during temporary outages and serves as a small stockpile if needed.

    patrickcornelius's picture
    patrickcornelius
    Status: Member (Offline)
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    Posts: 2
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    The Simpler the Better,

    Make a 2 ft wide trench with a very slight incline that receives full sunlight with the higher end supplied by runoff.

    A small stream will work too.   Runoff from a hillside, parking lot or just a normally moist area will do.

    OR if you are in an extremely dry area just supply the trench with material that contains water.  Even Urine will work.

    Soak the bottom of the trench with dirty water to be distilled. Or place in the bottom any material containing moisture.

    Avoid contaminating by keeping the dirtiest water low away from sides of the trench. Below green leaves, broken cactus or other moist material.  A layer of rocks to support the trough, separates the dirty water from the clean surface areas.

    Lay a Trough or Gutter down the centerline of the trench the entire length, extend it out of the trench couple of feet at the low point. This can be an eve trough from a house, a half pipe (PVC cut lenghtwise), or anything of similar shape that is clean or can be cleaned. Even a series of buckets or containers if you do not want a continously operating version.

    The low end of the tough fills a water container.  Keep it safe, clean, partially buried to keep water cooler but do not let dirt in.

    Make sure the trough is well seated and can not fall over. Sit on rocks or some good foundation as the moist vegatable matter will degrade and deform. If in a small stream, use nice heavy rocks.

    Unroll a long, clean piece of transparent or translucent plastic over the trench longways. Secure the sides with stones or long poles/sticks.   Now lay a fairly light pole or straight stick down the center. Small diameter metal rod is good. A series of small stones will work too.

    Hope you can visualize.  This is a long slightly sloping trench covered in material that allows infrared light in with a slight "V" shape.  One is making a long greenhouse.   The upper suface is cooler and allows the water vapor created by the sunlight to condense.  It is a SOLAR STILL with no moving parts.

    Condensation will form over the top inner surface.  The solar distilled droplets will congregate and gravity will gather them to the bottom of the "V"...they will fall into the tough and gravity will collect them at the bottom of the tough.

    Allow a few gallons to flow throught the newly installed system to clean it out.

    The Continuous Product is nearly perfect distilled water. With no moving parts.  No filters. No expense. No bacteria if one is very careful.  No particulates.  Total Dissolved Solids near zero.  Better than Reverse Osmosis (energy intensive), Better than any other system except triple distilled lab water.

    One must guard this water source, if roving bands of thugs are present. So put is where it can not be seen easily.

    One can make several of these in different locations.    One can make a personal version too.

    In my Air Force Survival school, I made one with my helmut and the condom in the survival kit in the Mojave Desert.

    P.S.  Use sheet plastic that is as clean chemically as possible. Survival mode is a different story. This can supply as many people as needed. Just expand the system.  Store water carefully, cleanly, non-contimated for non-sunny days.

    If one opens the transparent material to recharge the trench with wet stuff, ONE MUST keep the inner surface as clean as possible.

    jhart5's picture
    jhart5
    Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
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    Posts: 89
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Question - Will a Doulton filter system purify and remove the salt content from sea water?

    yoshhash's picture
    yoshhash
    Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
    Joined: Sep 20 2008
    Posts: 271
    grey water experiments

    I hope this isn't too far out of context (this is not about drinking water), but I have done extensive experimentation with grey water systems- or to be more precise, re-capturing relatively clean water (bath water) for re-use (flushing the toilet). I find that this is a much larger and more consistent supply than rainwater, but some of my trials were more successful than others.

    I have yet to find a single soul out there doing this, so I would appreciate it if anyone else has been doing this too could get in touch with me so that we could compare notes- or we could start a branch thread separate from here if there is enough interest.

    Denny Johnson's picture
    Denny Johnson
    Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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    Posts: 324
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    JHART5..............From the Berkey FAQ:

    http://www.berkeyfilters.com/berkeyfaqs.htm

    Can I filter sea (salt) water through my Berkey system? No. The concentration of salt in sea water will more than likely ruin the elements fairly quickly.

    I have a water softener installed in our house, can I filter that water through my Berkey? Some people do, but we do not recommend it. It is best if you put water in your Berkey that has not gone through your water softener (the excess salt will likely shorten the life of the elements).

    crash_watcher's picture
    crash_watcher
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    Posts: 146
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    The water bob works great as a way to store up to 100G of water, provided that you you have a spare bath tub in your house and you have some advanced warning to fill it. 

    http://www.waterbob.com/Welcome.do;jsessionid=97D1A027C9D9835D2D114506F1...

    tictac1's picture
    tictac1
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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    Posts: 174
    Re: grey water experiments

    Yoshhash-

    composting toilets are prefered as a long-term solution, IMO, since flushing toilets not only wastes water, but also wastes a resource, i.e. compost.  Plenty of info out there already on safely composting human waste, so no need to go over it. 

    If you're interested in converting a pre-existing system, it's a lot of work!  You need to be able to capture the grey water in a tank, where it needs to be circulated and treated.  No way around this, grey water stored even for a few days gets RANK as the bacteria starts to multiple.  Rough filteration and UV /bleach sterilizing works, but now you're talking about extra maintenance, power, etc.  It can be done, though.

    My system I'm currently working on uses harvested rainwater, my grey water is used to water shade trees via underground perforated pipe.  My goals were low-maintenance, safe, and water frugal.  The shade trees are decidious, and placed to reduce my substantial cooling costs during the summer.

    After doing the research and a few experiments, I came to the conclusion that re-using grey water for toilets was not efficient for my situation.

    For storage of water, i personally am leaning toward bins rather than totes.  You can harvest rainwater in these (at about 330 gallons each) and then purify using your chosen system.  Rainwater is usually very clean, mine tested the same as my RO faucet at 10 ppm dissolved solids.  You can add a little chlorine to the tank to keep growth in check til you use it.  Bleach is cheap and effective!

    Dayo North's picture
    Dayo North
    Status: Member (Offline)
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    Posts: 8
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Slow Sand Filters or Bio-sand Filters

    These can be made with local materials and are used as a way to make drinking water out of scummy ditch water in third world countries. The process is simple. You use a 5 - 10 gallon container made from plastic, concrete, or another material. Place layers of sand and gravel into it starting with the course material and finishing with the fine material, add some simple plumbing and tada it is ready for use.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioSand_Filter

    http://www.biosandfilter.org/biosandfilter/files/webfiles/BioSandFilter_Construction_Guidelines.pdf

    scbt's picture
    scbt
    Status: Member (Offline)
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    Posts: 20
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    I just got one of these, I know I need to do more research on this product, but the price is right.

    http://www.bridensolutions.ca/survival-straw-alloy-media-water-filter

    I have no vested interest in this product, but i know when you start, you start cheap. 

    If anyone has any experience with this product, positive or negative, please share.  And DYDD as a false sense of security can be more dangereous than none at all.

    patrickcornelius's picture
    patrickcornelius
    Status: Member (Offline)
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    Posts: 2
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    REGARDING the SOLAR STILL

    I am suprised that the SOLAR STILL Post is not creating interest:

    The SOLAR STILL in my first post above will distill sea water too. It can take moisture out of almost anything.

    Almost any other system will eventually clog with the dissolved solids of Sea Water. 

    My fancy RO system on my sailboat has a 5 or 6 to one waste flow and a pressure of around 900 psi.

    It has a powerful high tech electric pump that uses a lot of amps. 

    My Solar Panels and Wind Turbine electric supply must be managed well. 

    Many other items on my boat need electricity too. My Single Side Band Radio for example.

    The RO membrane is constanly cleaned by this waste flow over its surface. (the brine is put overboard)

    I see another post below about bio sand filters.  That could still have very dirty product water. 

    THAT FILTER SYSTEM OUTPUT MAY NOT BE SAFE TO DRINK! ...

    Please be careful.  The bacteria, virus,  and other substances are not removed with that system.

    A distillation or a very fine Reverse Osmosis filter system will remove the bacteria, virus and even most molecules.

    Solar Distillation takes no other energy than sunlight and removes virtually ALL other molecules, particulates, organisms in the water.

    Filters and any mechnical system will break or clog eventually.  Also, the world we will be using these devices in will not be friendly.

    If your supply of filters is large, it will probably be stolen or attacked. If you do not have many spares you have a limited time to produce water.

    You should be able to make your system out of junk ...Like McGyver... Many abandoned houses will provide gutters.  Just take them off.

    It is the primary part of the SOLAR STILL.

    If you MUST drink dirty water, use the survival method tablets to kill the organisms in the water.

    The toxic metals, chemicals etc. will still be present if the water is contaminated but the critters will be dead.

    Get only the Purification Tablets that are made to strict U.S. Military specs, (usually Iodine based, TGHP Tetraglycine Hydroperiodide) and are proven to effectively KILL giardia, bacteria, VIRUSES and most microorganisms. Even in the crystal clear pristine streams, rivers, and lakes, water should ALWAYS be considered unsafe to drink. It's just not worth the risk!  Some tablets DO NOT kill cryptosporidium. 

    So the Solar Still is best method overall.

    ejanea's picture
    ejanea
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    Posts: 53
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    I have three (so far...  at least two more to come) tanks that retain water from the roof of my house.  This is about 27000 litres.  We get about 480mm (17 inches, I think) of rain annually (over about 5 months) and I don't use the town supply at all.  

    I use this for the house (we are frugal...  a long shower is a winter luxury) and for the garden in summer.  (I grow most of our vegetables.) The chickens also use this water.

    It is pumped into the house at some pressure,  but I also have a "gravity fed" supply in the kitchen.  I will soon have a generator to supply the pump if there are any issues with electricity.  It is also possible to get water out of these tanks into a bucket if all else fails...  as people did in the past!

    This is a common solution to this issue here, and in fact,  most people won't use the "town water"  for anything to do with eating or drinking as most people prefer the taste of rainwater.  If you ask someone if they'd like a cup of tea,  for example,  the most likely answer will be a question... "Do you have rainwater"  as for most people the answer of yes or no is contingent on the water supply.

    Damnthematrix's picture
    Damnthematrix
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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    With all due respect to Chris, I had to laugh at:  "To begin with, storing water is generally inconvenient.  Stored water takes up a great deal of space, it's heavy, and it needs to be replaced every couple of years because it goes stale over time."

    See that tank at the R of our house?  It's 5,500 gallons.  Yes it's heavy, but it sits on a 4" thick concrete pad I poured myself.  The entire contents are used yearly, AND replaced gradually as and when when it rains...  it NEVER goes stale.  ALL the drinking water at the kitchen faucet is double filtered, the second filter being Activated Carbon.  My wife reckoned the water started tasting "funny" about three years ago, and this fixed it totally, our water is better than anything you'll buy in a bottle.

    As far as space goes, they are 3.4m in diameter, about 11 feet? and stand ~2m high or 6' 6''.

    In Australia, very very few people have wells.  Our steel tanks cost ~$2500 each installed and delivered, I'll bet boring a well could easily cost more than that....  The water is lifted to the taps with a demand pump that starts almost immediately any tap is turned on, everything is solar powered and runs even during blackouts off our backup batteries.

    We have a second one (Identical) which we use exclusively for the Zone I garden (smack bang in the middle of the above photo).  All the watering is done by gravity  The tall pipe sticking out the roof BTW is the vent for our dry composting toilet, one reason we do very nicely with just one tank for the house...  Notice loads of mulch in the garden to stop evaporation.

    Corrugated iron water tanks are considered a national icon here...

    Mike

    VeganD's picture
    VeganD
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    Posts: 642
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    re: solar still

    FWIW I appreciate the post, I think it is good to know in a real survivalist emergency what to do. I thought bleach was adequate to kill critters in the water, or a few drops of povidone iodine.  It makes sense to go with the strongest stuff, since gastroenteritis increases your water requirements massively.

    Regards

    Denise

    sammy's picture
    sammy
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    Posts: 35
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    I want to throw this out there to CM members. I am located in the SF Bay Area and work for a small family business. We have lots of surplus 55 gallon foodgrade HDPE plastic drums that members can pick-up for free. They contained sorbitol, a foodgrade sweetner and are closed top with 2" bungs. Their are also some 55 gallon metal drums that would be perfect for fuel storage. These contained isopropyl alcohol. If interested PM me for pickup details. Sammy

    UrbanMan's picture
    UrbanMan
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    Posts: 2
    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Chris,

    Great site.  Like a combination of STRATFOR and Survivalblog.  I wrote an post about your site with a link to here, and listed your site in my Survival and Preparedness Links. 

    Chris Martenson article on Urban Survival Skills.com - http://get-urban-survival-skills.blogspot.com/2010/08/urban-survival-preparation-chris.html

    Great article on water - the primary consideration for all Survival and Emergency Preparedness planning.

    UrbanMan

    Tall's picture
    Tall
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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    I urge caution to people who expect to be able to use any water source and get clean water from these filters.

    Patrickcornelius is correct about this filter- it will not remove waterborne viruses. Brand new, it appears to be designed to remove bacteria, protozoa and some chemicals via the activated charcoal filter cores. As water filters age they lose efficacy, particulalrly the charcoal (toxin-removing component), especially if you have heavy concentrations of contaminants. 

    If you have surface water, spring water or shallow well water, boiling first is a good idea to destroy viruses. Depending upon where you are, you may also encounter pesticides, algal toxins, industrial chemicals, etc. You can not depend upon these small amounts of charcoal to remove contaminants in all situations.

    If you are using scummy pond water, you are setting yourself up for potentially serious adverse health effects. With contaminated water, distilation is the safest route.

    Brief overview: http://waterfortheworld.com/problem/waterborne-diseases

    the navigator's picture
    the navigator
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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    This is a common solution to this issue here, and in fact,  most people won't use the "town water"  for anything to do with eating or drinking as most people prefer the taste of rainwater.  If you ask someone if they'd like a cup of tea,  for example,  the most likely answer will be a question... "Do you have rainwater"  as for most people the answer of yes or no is contingent on the water supply.

    ejanea, our local "authorities" have told us not to use rainwater from our roofs to water our gardens because the water contains contaminants from the roof.  is this a concern for you guys?  what type of roofs do you have?  what procedure do you use to capture and use the water?

    i've read other sources who say that the rooftop contaminants are not an issue and that it is ok to use water from our roof to water our garden.  i would love to be able to do so, but am hesitant because of the possible threat of illness, etc.

    thank you in advance,

    lanni

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    DTM,

    Interesting post about the water tanks.  Sounds like a good option there.  Unfortunately, we have something here called "freezing".  Do you have any low cost, practical strategies for addressing that problem?  Heating a large metal tank or a bubbler just wouldn't work around here with occasional subzero winter temperatures.  A subterranean tank might be an option but would require a considerable excavation and wouldn't allow gravity feed.  Luckily, we have superb well water.

    lannji,

    Good point.  I've never used rainwater from the roof for watering the garden or drinking for this very reason.  Watering the lawn or washing, fine, but nothing that we're putting inside our bodies.

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    I guess it depends what you define as "occasional freezing".  Three years ago, we had -6 deg C here (~20F?) in the morning which was part of a week long cold snap when we had (for here) very severe frosts every day.....  of course, the daytime temps rose well above freezing after sun up, but the point is we had no problems with our tanks, or burst plumbing.

    We haven't had a frost since BTW, as the last two winters have been way warmer than average.  The weather's all over the place now, almost ran out of wate rlast year when it didn't rain for 6 months, and this year, more than half way through winter (our normally dry season) our tanks are still brimming full.....  but there's no climate change  !  ;-)

    Having said that corrugated iron tanks are an icon here, a lot of people build inground concrete ones.  I don't like them because they cost more, they are more unsustainable than steel, and they can't be moved if you so desire.

    Re roof contamination, bird shit could be a problem, though there's plenty of it under the TV aerial where birds perch that never seems to wash off...... the sun cakes it on so hard I can't even clean it off!  We've been drinking it for five years now, and never get sick.  We installed filters ~ two years ago, and the water is delicious, I can't stand town water any more, and I noticed after we moved here how much nicer the espresso coffee I make with it is, not to mention the home brewed beer.....  NO FLUORIDE either!

    Mike

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Actually, I said occasional "subzero winter temperatures" which is deep freezing.  It's almost always below freezing here 24/7 in mid winter here except for a brief thaw or two.  Occasional subzero freezing could consist of one month of no temperatures above 0 deg. F and many nights down to -25 to -30 deg. F such as occurred back in the winter after Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991.   When it's that cold, when you spit, it freezes when it hits the ground (and maybe before).  An above ground corrugated metal tank would become a very big ice cube in short order.

    With rainwater contamination, I'm less concerned about bird feces than about trace chemical contamination from the asphalt shingle roofing material we have.

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    I've been collecting water for about 8 years. Initially I used a metal roof and a large collection field, that turned out to be too small of a collection area. Next I addded the roof of our main house which was/is asphalt shingle. I was very concerned with the effect of tar on my water sup[ply. It's not much of an issue. I use a mechainical filter, then a UV sterilizer at 1/2 the rated capacity and finally a large activated carbon filter to polish. It works great and we have never been sick from anything remotely associated with water.

    BTW, my tanks have a 27,000 gallon capicity

    Best,

    Ross

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    rossneder wrote:

    I've been collecting water for about 8 years. Initially I used a metal roof and a large collection field, that turned out to be too small of a collection area. Next I addded the roof of our main house which was/is asphalt shingle. I was very concerned with the effect of tar on my water sup[ply. It's not much of an issue. I use a mechainical filter, then a UV sterilizer at 1/2 the rated capacity and finally a large activated carbon filter to polish. It works great and we have never been sick from anything remotely associated with water.

    BTW, my tanks have a 27,000 gallon capicity

    Best,

    Ross

    Ross,

    Hope that works out for you long term.  My best friend has been in EPA enforcement for 30 years and has some interesting stories to tell.  Unfortunately, you and your family may not know the full consequences of your actions for 20-30 years.  As you know, neither a mechanical filter nor a UV light will address the chemical contaminants in the water.  The activated carbon filter should get rid of many of the carcinogens and other chemicals but not all of them. 

    http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/h2oqual/watsys/ae1029w.htm#what

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Damnthematrix wrote:

    I guess it depends what you define as "occasional freezing".  Three years ago, we had -6 deg C here (~20F?) in the morning which was part of a week long cold snap when we had (for here) very severe frosts every day.....  of course, the daytime temps rose well above freezing after sun up, but the point is we had no problems with our tanks, or burst plumbing.

    We haven't had a frost since BTW, as the last two winters have been way warmer than average.  The weather's all over the place now, almost ran out of wate rlast year when it didn't rain for 6 months, and this year, more than half way through winter (our normally dry season) our tanks are still brimming full.....  but there's no climate change  !  ;-)

    Having said that corrugated iron tanks are an icon here, a lot of people build inground concrete ones.  I don't like them because they cost more, they are more unsustainable than steel, and they can't be moved if you so desire.

    Re roof contamination, bird shit could be a problem, though there's plenty of it under the TV aerial where birds perch that never seems to wash off...... the sun cakes it on so hard I can't even clean it off!  We've been drinking it for five years now, and never get sick.  We installed filters ~ two years ago, and the water is delicious, I can't stand town water any more, and I noticed after we moved here how much nicer the espresso coffee I make with it is, not to mention the home brewed beer.....  NO FLUORIDE either!

    Mike

    DTM

    I am sure you have figured it out by now but  -6 is not -20F. It is 20 F. Actually 21.2F but hey what's a couple of degrees among friends.

    It is no wonder you have weather all over the place. It may not be due to climate change - just a difference between C and F

    V

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Several weeks (months?) back there was a thread encouraging those of us that do not post to do so. I have been reading and absorbing as much as possible and always felt so far behind the curve compared to the insightful posts from the community.

    Maybe it's my time to contribute something, even if it is only a small idea.

    I live in suburbia and access to spring water by the side of the road is non existent. And no one would dare consider using water from the creeks, streams or rivers near my community. Storing fresh water (where or whatever the source) in 5 gallon containers is a good solution to the short term problem, but what about long term? There has been discussions about rain barrels and water collection systems and so forth, but there may also be other solutions readily at hand for those of us that live in environments that cannot or will not condone water collection tanks.

    I sat outside today (less than 100 degrees finally) looking at my man made pond and stream and it dawned on me. I already have a source of water collection that does not compete with township ordinances or association laws, etc. Taking that thought a little further, so does anyone that has a pool. If or when needed, these "collection basins" could provide a source of rain water that could be combined with one of the purification methods described in this thread.

    Thank you to everyone that has been contributing and a special thank you to Chris Martenson for keeping us informed and encouraging us to make a difference by being prepared and encouraging our neighbors and community to do the same. The suggestion of us to move beyond step zero has challenged me to move out of my comfort zone. Thank you for the nudge and for your diligence and insights!

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    I think that I have done enough research on this topic to finally be able to decide on which product is the most appropriate for my situation.  I had never even heard of the “Doulton” filter or ceramic candles prior to reading this article.  I was even more surprised to discover that this technology has been in use since 1827. 

    There is a filter/candle made by the same company that is of a higher quality than the ceramic candles as well as add-on filters that will remove fluoride and arsenic.  The filter is called the “Black Berkey” and it is used in the same containers that Dr. Martenson uses for his ceramic filters. 

    The following is an educational site along with some questions from prospective customers that are addressed in an informative and rather thorough manner.  Also included on this site are several useful YouTube videos.   

    One product that I intend to purchase is a sight-glass spigot that allows the user to see the water level in the lower container on the stainless steel models.       

    http://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com/wordpress/berkey/the-difference-between-black-berkeys-and-ceramic-filters-a-quick-history-and-comparison/

    My only obstacle is getting one because for some reason, they apparently don’t ship to California.  Nevertheless, that issue shouldn’t be too difficult to circumvent. 

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    Possible use for spent ceramic candles/filters

    We are currently filtering chlorinated, town water and don't need the inner charcoal thing to filter out diseases.  Supposedly the ceramic part works to take out chemicals long after (forever?) the inner part is spent so I've waited beyond the recommended time to change out the candles.  How about using a spent candle as a sharpening rod?  This week I plan on checking it out as a fine/superfine stone before honing.  I'll try it flat on the bench and also in a vice.  Might be good for deeply serrated edges but might be too thick.  Does anyone else do this?

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    Re: Possible use for spent ceramic candles/filters

    M.E. wrote:

    We are currently filtering chlorinated, town water and don't need the inner charcoal thing to filter out diseases.  Supposedly the ceramic part works to take out chemicals long after (forever?) the inner part is spent so I've waited beyond the recommended time to change out the candles.  How about using a spent candle as a sharpening rod?  This week I plan on checking it out as a fine/superfine stone before honing.  I'll try it flat on the bench and also in a vice.  Might be good for deeply serrated edges but might be too thick.  Does anyone else do this?

    Please recheck your facts on the chemical reduction of the filter elements. It is my understanding that the charcoal absorbs chemicals and chlorine, the ceramic made from diatomaceous earth shreds bacteria and virus and the colloidal silver finishes the job on anything that makes it through the "tortuous path" of the ceramic.

    As far as using the ceramic as a sharpener, keep us posted. I think it will work well. I am curious as to what grit you associate it with once you start using it.

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Great Tip! Thanks

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    I have a question about how to filter water from a salt water pool for drinking.  I was looking at the Aqua Cera Plastic Water filter but it does not say anything about salt water.  I read another article that says to boil the water to distill it.  I am looking for a short-term solution in an emergency where water is not available - we have a salt water pool at the house we are renting and it would be a great source of water if we can make it drinkable.

    Thanks for any suggestions!  Donna

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    Re: What Should I Do?: -Solar Water Disinfection

    I would urge folks to stock up on plastic PET bottles. In a dark place they should last for a long time. Their value is in emergency water purification.

    These techniques have been used in Africa and other high solar gain places but they can work in the colder and darker parts of the USA with more time.

    The key word is "SODIS"

    "Solar water disinfection, also known as SODIS  is a method of disinfecting water using only sunlight and plastic PET bottles. SODIS is a free and effective method for decentralized water treatment, usually applied at the household level and is recommended by the World Health Organization as a viable method for household water treatment and safe storage."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_water_disinfection

    If you are interested in growing your own food please see our home gardening page...nothing is for sale there, zero ads, just information.

    http://verdant.net/food.htm

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Hi Ddavis04,

    I think that a desalinator would work for your salt-water pool.  There are several different desalinators on Amazon, although they’re not cheap.  I was thinking about getting the Katadyn Survivor 35.  At the time of this post they were temporarily out of stock and the price was down from $1,895 to $750. 

    I found the Katadyn Survivor 35 available at another site (http://www.fishreports.net/tackle/katadyn/) for $2,079.  This site also has a desalinator (Survivor 06) for $874.  Amazon has this same filter for $895. 

    Ref.:  http://www.amazon.com/Katadyn-8013418-Survivor-06-Desalinator/dp/B000F395X0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=sporting-goods&qid=1295765783&sr=8-1  The discussion between a reviewer who gave the product a one-star rating based on his phone conversation with a Katadyn representative is interesting as well.

    Here’s another link to a page on Amazon.:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=desalinator&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=3930029001&ref=pd_sl_50uv3hxlhs_b

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    The Warer Bob clearly states it is for one-time use only - we passed based on it's non-sustainability. Okay for one-time use in an emergency if you still have water flowing to your residence.

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    Re: What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 2 – ...

    Does the stuff from Pauls mercantile ship to Canada?  Want to order that doulten filter but I know ordering anything but very small things from the US is usually a no-no.

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    Shipping Water Filters to Canada

    Hi, this is john from St. Paul Mercantile.  Yes, I do ship to Canada, though my website does not compute shipping costs outside the continental US.  If you are interested in a water filter, or any other product, just email me what you want and I'll email you back with the shipping costs.  Sometimes I might suggest a similar product that is lighter, to save on shipping costs.  For example, with the water filters, it is much cheaper to just send the ceramic candles with a spigot, then you can use two locally-purchased buckets to build your own bucket filter.  Instructions are on my website at www.stpaulmercantile.com 

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    Aqua Cera Water Filter - some advantages

    Chris recommends the stainless steel Doulton water filter, adding that the Aqua Cera plastic body filter is also good for occasional use.  I wanted to list a few of the advantages of the Aqua Cera filter to help people make the choice of which one to purchase.

    The Aqua Cera is made from food-grade plastic by a US manufacturer of food containers, so you don't need to be concerned about chemicals leaching from the plastic.  Also, bear in mind that you aren't storing water in the filter for years on end - i.e., you are constantly running water through the filter - drinking the clean water and adding unfiltered water.  So the water you are drinking doesn't sit in the plastic container for any length of time, so even if there were minor leaching of plastic chemicals, the water just wouldn't be there long enough to become contaminated.

    The Aqua Cera costs about $50 less than the stainless steel model, while containing the exact same Doulton ceramic candles.  In addition, the Aqua Cera is a larger filter that holds about twice as much water in both the top and bottom tanks, so this is a good choice for larger families.  Another advantage is the Aqua Cera has a raised base that lifts it off the countertop about 4 inches.  This gives you room to slip a cup under the spigot to dispense water.  With the Doulton stainless model, you must move the filter to the edge of the counter so the spigot hangs over the counter to dispense water.  Or, you can find something of your own to use as a base to raise the filter several inches.

    The Doulton stainless filter is now provided with only 2 holes, though I will drill 2 additional holes at no charge if you ask me to at the time of your order.  In May, this will change and the stainless bodies will once again come from the factory with 4 holes.  With more holes, you can mount more ceramic candles.  Each candle will produce about one quart of water per hour, so a 4-filter model will produce about one gallon per hour.  The Aqua Cera comes with 5 holes, plus it is a taller filter so it can support the 10" ceramic candles (compared to the Doulton's 7" candles).  With five 10" candles, it will make up to 7 quarts of water per hour.

    All of the water filters can be viewed at http://www.stpaulmercantile.com/index.php?ref=ChrisM&action=store&page=WaterFilters  10% of your purchase price will go back to Chris in support of this website.

    I am working on developing a multi-stage portable water filter that will remove sediment, chemicals and bacteria from water.  It will include a hand pump that will allow you to draw in water from a creek, spring, rain barrel, cistern, or puddle.  In addition to a sediment filter, it will include a carbon block filter with much higher chemical removal abilities than the Doulton filters.  This new filter will also contain a Doulton ceramic filter of a different design that is used in pressurized filters (the hand pump will produce the pressure).  With this system, the replacement costs of the sediment and carbon block filters will be fairly low and the ceramic filter should last for at least 2-3 years without needing to be replaced.  The basic "kit" will include extra filters.  This filter should be capable of producing about one gallon of water per minute with brisk pumping.  It won't be a pretty table-top model, but it will have superb filtering capabilities.  I should have this kit in production by summer 2011.

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    Chemical Contamination

    Will the Doulton remove chemical concentrations? I live on a golf course in Florida. The water in the lakes/ponds within the course (my back yard) are standing water that level with the ground water table. A lot of weed and feed chemical runoff occurs and I am quite sure there is a lot of nitrates, potassium, phosporous and a bunch of other chemicals in this water, even arsenic. Will the Doulton handle it? Thanks.

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    Other Berkey products

    John,

    I was wondering if you planned on offering any of the other items sold by the berkefeld company like the black berkey or the pf-2/4 filters as mentioned in a previous post, as your prices are way better then theirs.

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    Ceramic Candles other than the standard Doulton Super Sterasyl

    Sorry, I didn't see the question from 2 months ago regarding other filters.

    I do not sell the Black Berkey, nor will I ever sell the black berkey filters.  These filters are not manufactured for the Doulton/Berkefeld company.  They are imported from China and sold with the "berkey" name so many people think they are Berkefeld.  Doulton and Berkefeld ceramic candles are manufactured in England by Fairey Industrial Ceramics.  They are sold in the US under both the Doulton and Berkefeld names.  The company that own the distribution rights for Berkefeld also sells other candles.  The USA Doulton distributor looked at the testing results and chose not to carry the black candles.

    I offer the following candles:

    7" super sterasyl - the standard candles used in the stainless steel housings.  They are ceramic candles with impregnated silver, plus they have charcoal centers, so they remove both bacteria and chemicals such as chlorine.  They do not remove fluoride.

    7" super sterasyl ATC - The ATC candles do everything the super sterasyl candles do, but they also remove lead.  They cost $10 more per candle.

    4" Aqua Cera B-2 - These are "add-on" candles that attach to the bottom of any 7" ceramic candle.  They remove Fluoride and heavy metals from water.  Because they attach to the bottom of the super sterasyl candles, they actually hang down inside the clean-water part of the filter.  I sell these for $45 per pair.  These are not on my website currently, but I do stock them, so give me a call or email me.

    http://www.stpaulmercantile.com/index.php?action=store&page=WaterFilters&ref=chrism

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    Water Purification without filters and High tech

    http://www.thewatercone.com/Index.html

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    watercone

    Great idea!

    Now I really like the watercone.  Once the water condenses it doesnt touch where the contaminated water was.  It is portable and easy to understand.  It probably doesnt cost much.   People will really use it.  Why didn't I think of that?

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    home-made watercone?

    yes, it is absolutely brilliant, I was instantly jealous of the person who first thought of it.  I have tinkered with the idea of hacking a home-made, free version using common discarded containers.  Most drink containers already have a dimple at the bottom, so in theory it is easy enough to pull off by cutting a hole out ot the center.  Unfortunately, most are too small to be of much practical use.   Does anyone know of any larger common brand name dimpled beverage containers which might  work better?

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    yoshhash wrote: yes, it is

    yoshhash wrote:

    yes, it is absolutely brilliant, I was instantly jealous of the person who first thought of it.  I have tinkered with the idea of hacking a home-made, free version using common discarded containers.  Most drink containers already have a dimple at the bottom, so in theory it is easy enough to pull off by cutting a hole out ot the center.  Unfortunately, most are too small to be of much practical use.   Does anyone know of any larger common brand name dimpled beverage containers which might  work better?

    yosh -

    Take a look at the 5 gallon jugs used for office water coolers.  You could probably work something up with a few of those.  If the dimple is too shallow to collect a lot of water, it seems like it would be pretty easy to fashion a continuous gravity drain line by drilling a hole and connecting a piece of tygon tubing running to a secondary collection bottle.

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    Just a thought, but...

    I wonder if you had two bottom rings.

    1.  Smaller to contain your "base stock" water that you need to convert.

    2.  Larger that would serve as the "collection" that could be hooked up to gravity drain system.

    My thought is that you could then use something large diameter for collection ring (maybe small solid plastic kids pool), larger basestock volume like a 5 gallon bucket and material like a clear plastic drop cloth for your outer dome.

    DIAP,  It's been a few decades since I stood EWS, but isn't that pretty much how the Evaporator or Still worked?

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    Chucks688 wrote: DIAP, 

    Chucks688 wrote:

    DIAP,  It's been a few decades since I stood EWS, but isn't that pretty much how the Evaporator or Still worked?

    Yes, the flash basket design was conceptually the same.  We just added a few more moving parts - a vacuum and steam - to help flash the water into the condenser, separate from the brine.

    I think the brine overboard system was solely responsible for generation of the watch to watch Small Valve Maintenance program.  Remember the halcyon days of the Cold War when the brine collection tank would freeze?  We weren't on the equator..........

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    Ultra Quiet...

    Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

    Remember the halcyon days of the Cold War when the brine collection tank would freeze?  We weren't on the equator..........

    Yep, spent a fair amount of time on "North Atlantic Training Missions" or for mom and dad's consumption - "Business Trips."  For some reason I keep thinking that weeks of laying low, avoiding any attention, eating mostly macaroni, no showers and perpetual water conservation may not all be in my past...  On a positive note I've got plenty of plastic cow and ravioli so I'll just pretend it's midrats. Smile

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    having trouble visualizing this

    Hi Patrick Cornelius,

    I am new to this forum as of today.   I was intrigued by your description of a solar still but had trouble visualizing it from your description.

    So I looked up the term "solar still" and saw this on wikipedia.   Does this illustration capture what you are trying to say?

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Solar_still

    Also, when you did this, how much water were you able to get?  From your description it sounds like it was a fair amount.

    Thanks much!

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    water jugs (storage)

    Chris:

    In order to purchase plastic jog for water storage, we need to know the plastic number rating.  Can you provide or refer us to whom may know, the plastic rating (the number in the small triangle somewhere on the plastic product)?  If so, let me know the number rating.

    Bud Wood

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    Types Of Plastic For Water Storage

    Bud Wood

    Welcome to the forums!

    Here's a good reference on plastic numbers (via Google):
    http://ecovillagegreen.com/1812/what-are-safe-plastic-numbers-to-use/

    From the article, it appears that #2 HPDE seems best.

    Poet

    budWood wrote:

    Chris:

    In order to purchase plastic jog for water storage, we need to know the plastic number rating.  Can you provide or refer us to whom may know, the plastic rating (the number in the small triangle somewhere on the plastic product)?  If so, let me know the number rating.

    Bud Wood

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