Looks can be deceiving when it comes to bodies of water. Even the clearest mountain stream may be a habitat for microbes such as Giardia or Entamoeba. These are common causes of diarrhea and dehydration. Poor drinking water may also cause deadly epidemics of diseases such as Cholera or Typhoid. Therefore, disinfecting water is a very important aspect to any survival or emergency situation.
Therefore, those who are off the grid should employ disinfecting water and filtering techniques to make water safe to drink. Commercial filters are available, such as the Lifestraw or Mini-Sawyer, which are compact, lightweight, and effective in blocking these organisms. Simple ways to disinfect questionable water include:
Boiling: A roiling boil for one minute is all that’s needed to kill most pathogens (disease-causing organisms). Add 1 minute of boiling for each 1000 feet of elevation.
Bleach: Household bleach can be used to disinfect water by adding at least 8 drops. Perhaps better, add 12 to 16 drops per gallon and waiting 30 minutes before use. You might notice a vague chlorine taste. Pouring the treated water from one container to another several times or waiting a few hours should help.
Iodine: Tincture of iodine is also useful for disinfection purposes. Use 16 drops per gallon, more if the water is cloudy, and stir well and wait 30 minutes before use.
UV sterilization: Using a clean, clear plastic container, fill with water to 80 to 90 percent capacity and set in direct sunlight for 8 hours. Shaking well improves the taste.
This article is from Survivor’s Edge Survival Experts Handbook 2018 Special Edition Magazine. Grab your copy at OutdoorGroupStore.com.
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