Water filtering question

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that1guy's picture
that1guy
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Water filtering question

So, I'm sure there has been a similar post on this...if there has by all means shoot me the link and Ill read there. I am looking to add water filters to my 'storage reserve' but Im not sure if there is a huge difference between them. The two most common ones here (and probably everywhere) are Brita and PUR. I was reading on the boxes about what it filters, and it seems that PUR filters out microbes and what not as well as all impurities, but the Brita only filters out the impurities (lead, cadmium, ect). Brita didn't mention anything about bacteria or microbes on the box.

With all of that said, PUR only seems to have filters that attach to the sink. While Brita seems to have a varity.

At this point I was even considering getting both....kind of a make shift double filtration (I guess).

Does anyone know anything of detail on this topic? Any recommendations?

I'm making a guess that with the water shortage, and inflation on the way this will be a definite need to have...

 

Thanks for the help all,

Mike

 

 

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
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Re: Water filtering question

Google Katadyn hiker, Katadyn Vario Backcountry or MSR Miniworks. All great personal use filter systems. The Katadyn Ceradyn is a larger capacity system and is also good - but not portable.

I'm posting from ny Crackberry and will follow up with links later this evening.

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Re: Water filtering question

I'm not sure what kind of system that you have. Is it pressurized? If not, filters designed for pressurized systems like city water may not work.

Eons ago my wife and I built a log cabin in the woods and moved in.

We installed a metal roof and our water supply came from the gutters on that roof. I built a filtering system based on the way nature does it. The water flowed through larger gravel, tiny gravel and then sand into a tank in the ground. 

We hand pumped the water back into the kitchen sink but with today's technology a 12 volt water pump such as those designed for RVs would probably be my choice.

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Re: Water filtering question

I've been using a Multi-pure system in my kitchen for years. Stainless steel unit with replaceable carbon filters goes under the sink. You can sign up for their automatic filter replacements, which has been great for me - I'd never remember to do it.

Good as long as the city water is working but I'm now looking for something that will work on stream, rain, or salt water. Does anyone know if there's anything available for converting sea water to something drinkable? Our ground water currently looks really oily - I don't know if it's fixable or not. ????

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Re: Water filtering question

I would recommend the AquaRain water filtering system.  I have one with extra filters. 

http://campingsurvival.com/aqwatfil.html

Or you could go with a Big Berkey:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0019ADB9M?tag=lifeaftertheo-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=B0019ADB9M&adid=14C9A8W53ZQEB6HFG0EQ&

They are both capable of filtering larger amounts of water, and in an emergency you could take it with you to another location.

 

 

 

strabes's picture
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Re: Water filtering question

Deb, are these ceramic systems made to take, say, rainwater off your house?  I'm totally new to this.  I spend a lot of time in the mountains with little personal water filtration systems, but have no experience with how to replace all my plumbing needs.

stpaulmercantile's picture
stpaulmercantile
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Re: Water filtering question

Strabes,

I posted a long and detailed message about ceramic filters.  But it's gone now, so I'm guessing someone objected to it because I sell them, and the post was removed.   Since I spent about 45 minutes on the post, I'm not going to take the time to redo it.  I'm more than a little annoyed that the post is gone, as it was quite informative and ceramic filters are THE way to go, and yes they do make rainwater safe to drink.  They've been in use for almost 200 years.

BSV's picture
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Re: Water filtering question

Water will -- one day in the not distant future -- become the new gold in the Southwestern USA. Here in (currently) "exceptional drought" Texas, where I live, water is precious. When my wife and I moved out into the country more than a decade ago, we built an energy-efficient house and installed a rainwater harvesting system. The original system had more than 19,000 gallons of storage capacity. Believe it or not, that is not enough. Twice we have run out of water in drought conditions, even though we conserve water carefully. You can never have too much stored water.

We capture the rain water in two fiberglass tanks. Origionally we added chlorine and pumped the water on demand through a sand-multimedia filter, a carbon filter (to remove the chlorine), a five micron filter, a one micron filter and an ultraviolet filter. Then we pumped the water into the house. Water used by the refrigerator icemaker went through a reverse osmosis filter. As you might expect, the water tastes very good.

About a year ago, we decided to take advantage of the latest technology, so we upgraded our rainwater harvesting system. We no longer have to add chlorine to the main storage tank, which is a considerable cost saving in energy usage (the chlorinator pump ran constantly). We eliminated the ultraviolet filter and added a state-of-the-art entire household filtration system. Ours is an Aquacore system. We no longer need the reverse osmosis filtrattion system, but we left it in place.

We have a metal roof, which is important if you plan to capture rainwater. Other roof types will work, but generally not as well -- especially if you are planning on potable (drinking) water. A ingenious centrifugal filter gets rid of leaves, twigs and other debris, ensuring that water flowing into the main collection tank is clean. There is a simple formula to determine how much rainwater you can expect per inch of rainfall. In our case, every inch of rain flows about 2,000 gallons into our main collection tank. At the moment, all we need is some rain! Have I mentioned that we are very interested in getting some rain? I am spending a lot of time gazing at the sky these days, in the hope and expectation that I will be rewarded with some precipitation.

Total investment is well over $25,000, which is a lot of money. But ours is an entire household potable system. You can install a non-potable sytem for a much smaller investment. Furthermore, you can collect rainwater in a non-potable system and run it through one of the simple household water purifications systems mentioned elsewhere in this thread, and have drinkable water.

We have a barn with a metal roof covering about 3,200 square feet. To irrigate our large vegetable garden, we have just installed five 3,000 gallon plastic water tanks. We paid $1,200 each for the 3,000 gallon tanks, and the dealer delivered them at no additional cost. So, if it would ever rain, we will eventually have 15,000 gallons of water to irrigate our vegetable garden. This is a non-potable system, but in a pinch we can pump water into our potable system and run it through our elaborate filtration array.

We made some costly mistakes along the way. You don't need an expensive system like we have. You can make do with a simple, non-potable system, which you can use to irrigate your vegetable garden. You can run small amounts of non-potable water through a relatively inexpensive reverse osmosis filtration system for potable water needs. We have no regrets and would do it again. But we were in a position to afford it, and I realize that not all readers enjoy that luxury. Life has taught me humility, and I'm grateful for what came my way.

If readers have any specific questions about potable rainwater harvesting systems, I will be happy to respond. Give me your e-mail address and I will get back to you promptly.

 

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Re: Water filtering question

To Mike (the original poster) the type of water treatment to choose depends on the water quality of your source water, what impurities need to be removed, the volume you are trying to treat, and your objectives or use for your treated water. 

What you use to make your city water simply taste and smell better will be different than what you need to take water from a natural source like a pond and make it safe to drink.

I'm a drinking water engineer; if you provide more details on your needs I can give you some ideas to consider.

Tom 

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Re: Water filtering question

 

 

These are ceramic "candles" that remove bacteria from water.  The link below is an FAQ document that describes how they work, etc.

http://www.stpaulmercantile.com/berkeyfaq.htm

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Re: Water filtering question
stpaulmercantile wrote:

Strabes,

I posted a long and detailed message about ceramic filters.  But it's gone now, so I'm guessing someone objected to it because I sell them, and the post was removed.   Since I spent about 45 minutes on the post, I'm not going to take the time to redo it.  I'm more than a little annoyed that the post is gone, as it was quite informative and ceramic filters are THE way to go, and yes they do make rainwater safe to drink.  They've been in use for almost 200 years.

its not gonoe, dont worry, I will copy and past it here....I originally put this question in the wrong spot...wellot wrong, but it was in subscribers only so I thought I would post it where it would help the most people....

 

To everyone else, thanks a lot for the info, I didnt know about all of this...

that1guy's picture
that1guy
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Re: Water filtering question
Woodman wrote:

To Mike (the original poster) the type of water treatment to choose depends on the water quality of your source water, what impurities need to be removed, the volume you are trying to treat, and your objectives or use for your treated water. 

What you use to make your city water simply taste and smell better will be different than what you need to take water from a natural source like a pond and make it safe to drink.

I'm a drinking water engineer; if you provide more details on your needs I can give you some ideas to consider.

Tom 

Tom,

I am looking for an 'all in one' for lack of better terms. Since I dont know exactly where I will be living by 2012 (I'm in the military right now), and we all know the issues headed our way (inflation, shortages, ect...). I figure having something that is cost effective and makes water from any source, if need be, safe to drink. With that said do you think the ceramic filters that Stpaul put up fit the bill? It sure seems like it, and they are priced great too (Deb, it is the exact same filter you recommended too, check it out...).

I just want to say that this site, and all its members are awesome....I'm normally  not one to take part in forums, but Everyone one here genuinely wants to learn and help, its great to see...

Thanks,

Mike

that1guy's picture
that1guy
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Re: Water filtering question
Linda K wrote:

I've been using a Multi-pure system in my kitchen for years. Stainless steel unit with replaceable carbon filters goes under the sink. You can sign up for their automatic filter replacements, which has been great for me - I'd never remember to do it.

Good as long as the city water is working but I'm now looking for something that will work on stream, rain, or salt water. Does anyone know if there's anything available for converting sea water to something drinkable? Our ground water currently looks really oily - I don't know if it's fixable or not. ????

Linda,

It seems like ceramic filters do that all, I have been reading since Stpaul showed them to me yesterday, and now a few people have recommended them. I just asked woodman his input too since he also said he works in the industry, but until then I would look at Stpauls link... http://www.stpaulmercantile.com/index.php?ref=ChrisM&action=store&page=WaterFilters 

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that1guy
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Re: Water filtering question

 

 Here is that long post about these filters from stpaul.....a bit of information in it and well worth the read if you didnt know much like me... =)

 

 

                

This is the water filter most often used by missionaries and relief organizations in third world countries to remove bacteria from water.  It was first developed for the Royal Family in 1835.  The original filter casings weren't stainless steel or plastic, of course, the but filter elements, pictured on the right, are the same.

The filter elements are called "candles" and they are made from crushed diatomaceous earth (fossils) that are liquified, then molded and baked in a ceramic kiln.  Water molecules are able to slowly work their way through the ceramic pores to the hollow center, then drip into the lower chamber of the water filter.  Bacteria are too big to get through, so they get stuck on the outside of the filter.  The ceramic contains particles of silver that creates a toxic environment for the bacteria, so they cannot multiply.  (Paper filters, on the other hand, provide an excellent growth medium for bacteria, so the bacteria multiplies and eventually grows through the paper, a process called mitosis.) 

The stainless steel filter body can be fitted with 2 or 4 ceramic candles.  More candles equates to more surface area, thus faster water production.  On average, each candle will produce about one quart of water per hour, so a 4-candle unit will produce about a gallon an hour.  These are called "gravity filters" because there are no moving parts or pumps - gravity just causes the water to seek the lowest level, so the water filters from the upper chamber to the bottom chamber.

These filters do cost more than cheap paper filters.  But the cost per gallon, over the lifetime of the filter, is much lower.  As an example, you can purchase the plastic filter with four 7" ceramic candles for $199 on my website (10% of that goes to Chris in support of this website - see links below).  Each 7" candle will "officially" produce 535 gallons of clean water, according to the manufacturer.  Doulton limits the claimed gallonage to 535 because they believe the granular carbon centers of the ceramic candles lose their effectiveness after that much use.  The hollow centers are filled with granular carbon to remove chemicals and improve taste.  But the ceramic will continue to remove bacteria for a very long time.  Let me explain.

Bacteria and particulates in the water are trapped in the outermost layer of the ceramic.  Over time, as the pores get clogged, water production slows.  When it slows to a level that is no longer meeting your needs, the filters can be cleaned.  Just use a stiff toothbrush or a scratchy pad (scotchbrite) to clean the outside of each ceramic candle and rinse in clean water, then reinstall.  The cleaning process removes a tiny amount of the ceramic, essentially the clogged pores, thus exposing a fresh layer of unclogged pores.  Water production returns to its original speed.

This cleaning process can be performed about 100 times before the filters gradually reduce in size to the point that you should replace them.  If you are filtering muddy water, or water from a cistern in a field that is filled with mosquito larvae and scum, you might need to clean the filters every 2-3 days.  If you are filtering relatively clean rain water or river water, you may only need to clean them once a month or once a year.  My son uses one to filter well water, just to be safe, and I've cleaned them 3 times in 8 years.  You do the math.

If you are concerned about chemicals, buy a cheap charcoal filter and a large bag of granular activated charcoal.  You can use the charcoal as a prefilter or a postfilter.  Use the ceramic filter to remove bacteria, and the activated carbon to remove chemicals.  A $199 Doulton filter and a $10 bag of activated charcoal and some coffee filters or a tea strainer will provide many years of safe water for your entire family.

You can read more, or purchase, at this link: http://www.stpaulmercantile.com/index.php?ref=chrism&action=store&page=WaterFilters&ref=ChrisM

I also offer a Bucket Filter kit.  You supply 2 5-gallon plastic buttons, and I supply two 10" ceramic candles, detailed instructions and a plastic spigot.  The kit costs only $99 and it will produce up to 3 quarts of clean water per hour.  You can see the bucket filter and download the instructions at this link: http://www.stpaulmercantile.com/index.php?action=store&item=WaterFilterBucketKit&ref=ChrisM

If anyone has questions, you can ask here on this forum, or email me directly at [email protected]  Discounts are available on the website if you purchase 2, 4 or 8 filters.  I also offer substantial discounts to relief organizations and non-profit water projects, so contact me if you are involved in such a profit. 

stpaulmercantile's picture
stpaulmercantile
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Re: Water filtering question

That1Guy,

Thanks for reposting.  I saw it, then it was gone, so I figured somebody had complained and gotten it removed. 

It's a pity that more people don't know about ceramic filters.  They filter water the same way the earth does, and they work.  And if you take care of them, they can last for decades.  An outfit called Engineers Without Borders did a water project in Peru last year.  I provided the filters, they sent a team in that built bucket filters (2 plastic buckets, obtained locally, plus 2 ceramic candles and a spigot).  Every family (200) in the town received their own filter, along with instructions on how to use them.  Water-bourne illnesses have been virtually eliminated in the town.

 

 

strabes's picture
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Re: Water filtering question

Do the ceramic filters treat water completely or do you need to augment the filtering with other treatment?

Is the only advantage of having 4 candles that it filters faster than 2?  If the candles last so long, then I'm guessing buying extra candles to extend the lifetime really isn't necessary. 

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Re: Water filtering question

I work as a consulting engineer designing water supply, treatment, storage, and distribution systems at the municipal scale.  I'm not as familiar with household size treatment systems, but the same general principals apply.  I'll try to spend some time doing more research and post it on this site, but will jot down a few notes that come to mind now.

In an emergency situation where you need drinking water but your normal sources are out (say the town water doesn't work or there's no electricity for your well pump) then you might need to get some water from a natural pond or stream of unknown water quality.  What you want to protect from is the acute risk of sickness due to bacteria (e.g. E. coli), Potozoan cysts (Giardia, Cryptosporidium), and viruses.  You can do the same things I have on extended backpacking trips in the woods, and find this kind of equipment at outdoor outfitters.  You can use a water filter that is fine enough to filter out the nasty microorganisms.  I have a portable filter with a hand pump that sucks from a  source and  discharges into a clean bottle.  The trick is to make sure you keep everything clean downstream of the filter.  Sometime filters have things like silver impregnated which is poisonous to microorganisms.  Other options to prevent waterborne diseases including boiling the water or using iodine tablets.  Since the tablets don't taste great, I consider that a backup method in my emergency supplies.  If you're at home you could use a teeny amount of bleach (sodium hypochlorite) which is what many water utilities use, but I woudn't advise it since most folks probably don't know how to calculate the proper dosage.

GAC (granular activated carbon) filters remove impurities by adsorbing them on to the micropores of the activated carbon (charcoal).  They can be used to remove objectional tastes, odors (like hydrogen sulfide - rotten egg), and color in water as well as chlorine from municipal water.  If you think your water supply is at risk of a chemical contamination (e.g. volatile organic carbons or VOCs) then carbon filters can generally remove these kinds of impurities.

Treating salt water is energy intensive.  Reverse osmosis or distillation is needed to remove the salt (sodium and chloride, etc.). 

I'm not familiar with the ceramic filters but will look into them.

My graduate research was in slow sand filtration.  This is one of the oldest forms of water treatment and remarkably simple yet effective.  It's basically passing water through a box of sand, removing turbidity and pathogens by a combination of physical filtration and biological action.  I'd build one to serve my own house if I had a small surface water supply to use. 

 I've bought a couple household systems from these folks before with good luck.  The website has lots of info on different types of systems to treat different things.  http://www.pwgazette.com/ 

Right now, we enjoy pretty reliable public drinking water supplies in the US, especially since rules were strengthed after the crypto outbreak in Milwaukee in 1993.  Generally operators I know are pretty dedicated to delivering a safe product.  You can be pretty sure when you drink water out of the tap it is safe to drink, though it might not always look or taste so great depending on where you are.  In the future though, water supplies are going to become more stressed and limited.  In addition, limited energy due to peak oil and limited municipal funds to maintain infrastructure could cause decreasing reliability.  At the same time, water sources are getting more stressed by environmental degradation.  Some day pump water hundreds of miles like we do today is going to seem like a silly idea probably.  Having multiple sources or backup options therefore seems like a good idea.  Even though I have municipal water at my house which doesn't die even during a 5 day power outage last winter,  I keep a 5 gal container plus additional bottles filled all the time.  I never drive anywhere without water in my vehicle just in case also.

Again, I'll try to do some more research and provide better info but hope this helps to start. 

Tom

 

 

  

gauntlett's picture
gauntlett
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Re: Water filtering question

I just ordered two of these.  They have a 4000 liter unit and a 6000 liter unit.  Amazon.com has a decent discount on the 4000 unit at the moment.  For me they are the perfect filter because they are portable, last a long time, filter most any water, and filter all viruses.   

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001EHF99A?tag=abitofsem-20&camp=213381&creativ...

 

-T

SPM's picture
SPM
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Re: Water filtering question

I have a house RO filter unit, which once removed would require a pump to move water through the membrane, prob around 25 to 50 psi. I have 12vdc pumps that could be hooked up to a car to serve this purpose. I also have a couple regular whole house water filter housings with .5 or 1 micron elements, I bought for a project a while back. The packages of filter elemnts are cheap and plentiful. These do not require much pressure to push water through and a simple pump could be made with a 5g bucket and the lid cut to be used as a plunger. I was looking into small handpumps, but nothing really struck me to purchase it. I can make a pumping system if need be. My feeling is if TSHTF you are going to have to be resourceful from anything you can find around, and maybe raid from your local hardware store.

Not to shoot down anyones game on selling ceramics, but my experience from using them camping, they do not last very long. I do not know how much impurities the Brita and Pur systems remove, so I can't really comment. Maybe the cheapest way to go though. The RO is awesome, but the most work.

Another note on the ceramics, they are desgined to filter and purify water from some of the most nasty sources while camping.

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SPM
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Re: Water filtering question

Damn, those filters are expensive. 1050 gallons isn't bad though.

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SPM
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Re: Water filtering question

I live in an apartment, so my RO system isn't hooked up per se. Its sitting on top of the kitchen counter with hoses everywhere and adapted on the end of the faucet. I can't drink the tap water here, but it is a hassle to wash dishes. It does have a 3 gallon tank, so I have some water in it if needed. I have only about 5 gallons of water saved in addition to that. I think it might be a good idea to buy more bottled water.

that1guy's picture
that1guy
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Re: Water filtering question
gauntlett wrote:

I just ordered two of these.  They have a 4000 liter unit and a 6000 liter unit.  Amazon.com has a decent discount on the 4000 unit at the moment.  For me they are the perfect filter because they are portable, last a long time, filter most any water, and filter all viruses.   

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001EHF99A?tag=abitofsem-20&camp=213381&creativ...

 

-T

Since you have one, would you say it works for day to day use too? It looks pretty awesome for travel, but what about someone that drinks a lot of water?

Ray Hewitt's picture
Ray Hewitt
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Re: Water filtering question

I find a water distiller is adequate for drinking needs. You can always be sure the water is pure and is actually healthier than purified water.

http://www.waterwise.com/

SPM's picture
SPM
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Re: Water filtering question

True Ray, I think for some people that might be the best route.

Take into account you have to find a way to cool and condense the steam back into water. I did this as a science experiment in class. We had to use ice water with the condenser coils in order to convert it back from gas to liquid.

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