Thursday, October 3, 2019

Comparison of Water Treatment Methods in One Easy-to-Read Chart

I figured it was about time for another post on water treatment methods.  There's so much that needs to be done and so many ways to do it that it can get a little confusing.  I thought a color-coded chart would be helpful. 
The chart includes fourteen different methods of treating water.  Some are approved and useful, and others are from what "someone somewhere on the internet" said, and which should probably be avoided.

As far as how well water purification and filtering methods work, or to what extent, you need to decide what is important to you, or what you might be able to yield on or compensate for in other ways.

Bacteria.  You've got to eliminate or kill them.  If you don't, they might be killing you.  If they don't kill you, you might wish they did.  (Cholera, Shigella, Campylobacter, Salmonella, etc.)

Viruses.  Same as for bacteria.  (Enterovirus, norovirus, rotavirus, hepatitis A, etc.)

ProtozoaGiardia and Cryptosporidium are no fun for anyone, but especially for those with weakened immune systems.  Make sure your chosen treatment method will eliminate this risk.

Most people are satisfied to deal with the first three issues and call it good.  Some are a little concerned about other issues as well, so it makes sense to address them also.

Chemicals.  These are actually the hardest to deal with.  But if it makes you any happier, your city water doesn't deal with them well, either.  Every time you take a drink from your tap, you're drinking antibiotics and other medications that municipal water treatment plants do not remove.  (You are aware that your wastewater gets treated and sent back to you for drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning, right?  That's just one reason why some people prefer wells.)

Cloudiness.  Cloudy water in and of itself won't make you sick, but we just feel better drinking clear water.  

Taste.  Some treatment methods leave an off taste to the water.  Consider having some Kool-Aid or similar flavoring to mask off tastes and cloudiness.


Method
Bacteria
Viruses
Protozoa
Chemicals
Cloudiness
Taste
Distillation
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Boiling
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Chlorine
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Iodine
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Solar pasteurization
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Stabilized oxygen
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
UV light
Yes*
Yes*
Yes*
No
No
No
Reverse osmosis
Maybe
Maybe
Maybe
Yes
Yes
Yes
Ceramic filter
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Charcoal filter
Yes**
Maybe**
Yes
Maybe
Yes
Yes
Sand filter
No
No
No
No
Yes
Maybe
Grapefruit seed extract
Maybe
Maybe
Maybe
No
No
No
Straining through cloth or coffee filter
No
No
No
No
Maybe
No
Katadyn Micropur tablets
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Maybe
*clear water only
**new filters only

Distillation is the gold standard for any water being given to infants and small children.  They are at greatest risk for adverse effects of chemicals in the water.

For the rest of us, making sure bacteria, viruses, and protozoa are eliminated is the minimum standard.  To get the cleanest water and best taste, we'll probably have to make sure to have a nice water treatment system, or combine two methods.  There are loads of products on the market, and each has their advantages.

Water is pretty critical to life.  Make sure you've got a lot stored and the knowledge and equipment to treat it in a few different ways. 

Links to related posts:  
Water--Basic Purification   
Iodine  
Betadine for Preparedness    
Katadyn Micropur Tablets  


For further reading:
https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/backcountry_water_treatment.html
https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/home-water-treatment/household_water_treatment.html
https://www.cdc.gov/safewater/solardisinfection.html
https://preparednessmama.com/how-to-purify-water/

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