Fundamentals of Water Filtration & Purification for Emergency Survival

Water Filtration & Purification for Emergency Survival

Water filtration is when a contaminated water supply is prepared and made safe for human consumption. There are several methods of water filtration that can be used. Still, the main aim is to render the water fit for use by removing or killing bacteria, microbes, and other contaminants. The type of water filter that one can use depends mainly on the contaminants’ nature present in a particular water supply.

Purpose of Water Filtration

The main purpose of water filtration is to remove impurities from water. The designing of water filters is done so that they can facilitate cleaner water from existing sources reliably and as quickly as possible. These filters provide safer water, improving the taste, and removing bacteria that could otherwise cause infection or sickness if ingested.

Types of Water Filtration

As mentioned, there are several different forms of water filtration used. These include reverse osmosis, which condenses the water before forcing it through a semi-permeable membrane at high pressure. It then removes large particles such as bacteria. Besides, sand filters work similarly, though on a larger scale. They remove bacteria and large particle contaminants.

Another type is ultraviolet filters that bathe the water in radiation, thus killing bacteria. Activated carbon filtration reacts to the pollutants with carbon and removes them from the water, while distillation boils off the water, leaving pollutants behind.

Benefits of Water Filtration

Many benefits come from the water filtration process. Among these are the improvements to health. Research shows that filtering out chlorine from any drinking water reduces the risk of some cancers, such as colon and rectal cancer. Simultaneously, by removing bacteria and other microbes from the water, the risk of disease is significantly reduced.

This is particularly important for both children and the elderly, whose immune systems are not as strong, especially during emergencies. Water filters should be replaced regularly to prevent a buildup of microbes and other contaminants. If this is not done, pollutants will build up. Once they reach a critical level, they can easily overflow into the water supply, making it more contaminated than before filtering took place. This should be considered, especially during an extended period of a disaster.

Emergency Water Filtration Techniques

In any emergency water treatment, you should always filter water as a first step. If municipal water supplies falter or electrical power fails, you can turn to unusual sources. Serious illness can result from drinking water without filtering or treating available water from plumbing reservoirs, waterways, and swimming pools. In most cases, homemade filters or commercial filters do help to avoid these problems. There are different filters used, which are discussed below:

Crude Filters

One of the real defenses against water-borne diseases is by boiling or chemically treating water. Filtration helps by removing many water contaminants. When the water is cloudy, it should be left to settle and then filtered through clean cloth layers. Some experts recommend boiling water for ten minutes. Besides, five to eight drops of chlorine bleach per gallon of water kill harmful viruses and bacteria, but crude filters only remove obvious debris in the water.

Ceramic Filters

Ceramic water filters effectively remove harmful organisms, providing immediate drinkable water. They remove particles down to one micron in diameter. Not all filters in the market meet these standards. You should therefore check with the manufacturer to find out if additional steps may be needed. In emergencies, filters that depend on a pressurized water system to operate will not be of great help.

Homemade Filters

The Homemade water filters built in stages do filter water in large amounts, though not perfectly. These filter stages should run from coarse to fine, where first stages screen out large pieces of debris, and later stages remove finer particles from water. In the last stage, the water could look clean if there is a deep layer of activated charcoal. It should be disinfected with chemical treatments or boiling before drinking it. Homemade filters are not considered enough to guarantee potable water, though they can be used in a crisis.

Backpacking Filters

Small backpacking water filters are a great idea for the home emergency kit, although their total output can go as low as 200 gallons per filter. They are combined with simple cloth filters to remove coarse debris, producing drinkable water from emergency sources such as water heaters or even from toilets’ reservoirs.

Survival Filters

Emergencies indeed happen in the cities and a wilderness situation when clean water runs short. An emergency filter pit can be dug in the bank of a creek or even the shore of a lake in such situations. The ground itself is used as a primitive filter. Before filling a container, one should wait for the hole to fill and the water to clear. At this point, stage filters with found materials such as dry grass or clean sand can be rigged from spare clothing to serve the purpose


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I am by no means an expert in every aspect of this stuff. I plan to learn, and when possible, enlist the help of experts in various fields to come together and offer their knowledge. In a few years, I dream that this site will be a virtual survival encyclopedia and allow a total novice to come on here and be supplied with everything they need to prepare for anything.

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