Long Term Water Treatment

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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navarre1095
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Long Term Water Treatment

Post by navarre1095 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:04 pm

Shelter in place and bug out water treatment solutions have been covered in other threads. There does not seem to be much the way of long term storage and treatment. As the superintendent of a municipal water treatment facility, I have come up with a short and long term disaster plan for my customers. I covered that in another thread. In a disaster, the water could be off for weeks. But what if it never came back? Less than 1/100th of a percent of the water on this rock is safe to drink without some sort of treatment. Bleach won't last forever and the other methods will run out or break down even quicker. IMHO the absolute best long term treatment option is rain water harvesting and slow sand (biosand) filtration.

Rain water harvesting is not quite as simple as it sounds. There are chemicals on roofing shingles that retard the growth of mold. There is also the fact that most shingles are felt, impregnated with asphalt. Not to mention the dirt, leaves, and other crap that collects in your gutters. a couple of good links can be found here:

http://www.glgi.org/mediawiki/index.php ... ain_barrel" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.ehow.com/how_4608101_rain-barrel.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.duluthstreams.org/citizen/rainbarrel.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://home.comcast.net/~leavesdance/ra ... ction.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Conventional treatment consists of sedimentation, flocculation, and filtration. Some facilities use additional Carbon filters or reverse osmosis filters as well. Carbon has a short life span, the tanks have to be recharged every 60-90 days. R/O filters require ultra clean water to operate with and must be cleaned often.

Chlorine is the most common disinfection agent but Chlorine Dioxide, Ozone, Hydrogen Peroxide, Chloramines, MIOX, and Ultra violet radiation are also used. Chlorine is the simplest and cheapest way to disinfect water. In The End of the World as We Know It, it will be the one that everyone will eventually revert to. That too will eventually become scarce.

Sand has been used to filter water since the Phoenicians used it 4000 years ago. The first municipal slow sand filter was built in Scotland in 1804. The first filters built in the U. S. were also slow sand filters. These were in use long before chlorination became the norm and are fairly effective at treating most types of turbid water. They are not used as often now because of the amount of land required for large volume treatment. Riverbank infiltration and aquifers which use natural filtration are the preferred methods. Surface water is only used when the other options are not viable. Riverbank infiltration uses the same concept as slow sand.

The way a slow sand filter works is that after about 14 days or so of filtration, a biological layer forms on top of the sand. This layer is called the "schmutzdecke". The Schmutzdecke EATS all the organic material that tries to pass through it, Giardia and Crypto included. The water passes through the remaining sand is ready to store. A little chlorine wouldn't hurt but is not necessary. Never add Chlorine to the filter; you'll kill the schmutz. When the flow slows down, lower the water level to an inch or so above the sand and scrape off the top two inches. In two weeks, the filter will be ready for use again. Never drink water from this filter until the schmutzdecke forms.according to the World Health Organization slow sand filters are the cheapest and most effective form of water treatment.

Slow sand filters built from household materials

http://www.shared-source-initiative.com ... osand.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.howtopedia.org/en/How_to_Fil ... _Filter%3F" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.cms-uk.org/GetInvolved/TheCo ... fault.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://tilz.tearfund.org/Publications/F ... filter.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_hea ... index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by navarre1095 on Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:09 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by raptor » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:29 pm

Great Post navarre1095!

Thanks

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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by navarre1095 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:07 am

Typical slow sand filter performance.

Turbidity <1.0 NTU
Coliforms 1-3 log units
Enteric Viruses 2-4 log units
Giardia Cysts 2-4+log units
Cryptosporidium Oocysts >4 log units
Dissolved Organic Carbon <15-25%
Biodegradable
Dissolved Organic Carbon <50%
Trihalomethane Precursors <20-30%
Heavy Metals
Zn, Cu, Cd, Pb >95-99%
Fe, Mn >67%
As <47%

Source
http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/pdf/dw/publicat ... FSOM40.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by tilt » Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:46 am

I noticed you use "log" units as a point of reference and measurement. Please further define "log" units as well as explain how the layperson could utilize them in practical application.

Also: How does a "log" unit relate to PPM?

Thanks for all your help, I'm taking loads of notes on your posts.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by GunsUp » Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:05 pm

tilt wrote:I noticed you use "log" units as a point of reference and measurement. Please further define "log" units as well as explain how the layperson could utilize them in practical application.

Also: How does a "log" unit relate to PPM?

Thanks for all your help, I'm taking loads of notes on your posts.
PPM stands for parts per million, it is relative to the ammount of substance you have. So if you have 1000 liters of water that contains 1 PPM arsenic (or anything else) you have .001 L or 1 mL of arsenic (total volume)*(# PPM)/(1 million).

I'm making a pretty confident guess that a x log unit reduction means that you have removed 1-(1/(10^x)) percent of your starting amount, this would correspond to 1/(10^x) remaining.

so:
1 log unit reduction = 90% removal
2 log unit reduction = 99% removal
3 log unit reduction = 99.9% removal
4 log unit reduction = 99.99% removal

It is relative to how much you had to begin with. So if you started with 1000 liters of water with 1000 PPM arsenic (1 L of arsenic) and you filter it with a 3 log unit filter, you would have 1 mL of arsenic left.

This my relatively well educated guess, I have never actually used "log units" for anything but I regularly work with a logarithmic scale.

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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by navarre1095 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:56 pm

Sorry, on my other posts I had been putting the percentage beside the log unit. TTUShad, you are correct. Log units are decimal places used to indicate disinfection/ inactivation of bacteria and viruses. The most removal credit that the EPA will issue is 5.5-log, that's 99.9968%. You can only receive that credit if UV is part of your treatment process and well water is preferred over surface water. No treatment process is 100%

For reference a PPM is four drops of chlorine in 55 gallons of water,one inch in 16 miles, one second in 11.5 days, or one minute in two years.

Arsenic (AS) is measured in parts per billion. The action level was 0.40 up until two years ago when the EPA lowered it to 0.10. There are wells in this are that have as much as .75 PPB. Mining, farming, and plastics manufacture are the main arsenic polluters. I don't see much of it in the Ohio River. Pesticides, fertilizers, and the fact that tons of animal and human waste are dumped into the river are my biggest problem.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by iMack » Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:58 pm

Lots of great information in this post. Thanks for the information!

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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by Alaskanon » Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:03 pm

If you have the electrical means you can make an ozoninater to treat your water supply
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by iMack » Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:52 pm

Alaskanon wrote:If you have the electrical means you can make an ozoninater to treat your water supply
Someone has been watching the colony lol

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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by GunsUp » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:26 pm

navarre1095 wrote:Arsenic (AS) is measured in parts per billion. The action level was 0.40 up until two years ago when the EPA lowered it to 0.10. There are wells in this are that have as much as .75 PPB. Mining, farming, and plastics manufacture are the main arsenic polluters. I don't see much of it in the Ohio River. Pesticides, fertilizers, and the fact that tons of animal and human waste are dumped into the river are my biggest problem.
Sorry for the mistake, I just pulled arsenic out of my ass, I really have no clue how much of anything should be in water as I am an electrical engineer not a civil engineer. At least I guessed correctly on what a log unit was :)

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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by Alaskanon » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:38 pm

iMack wrote:
Alaskanon wrote:If you have the electrical means you can make an ozoninater to treat your water supply
Someone has been watching the colony lol
Damn skippy I have! It's quite an informative show. I've learned a few things, knew a few things, and disagree with a few things. But it's certainly entertaining. Main thing I've learned is do NOT just just get together with random survivors.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by navarre1095 » Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:12 pm

Alaskanon wrote:If you have the electrical means you can make an ozoninater to treat your water supply
O3 is an effective disinfectant. However, it is energy intensive and way too complicated. I know of a few utilities that have abandoned the use of theirs. You also have to dose with Hydrogen Peroxide to break down the Bromates that form which are major carcinogens.

Save your juice for the lights and build yourself a filter.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by DannusMaximus » Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:03 pm

Great post!

I live in your neck of the woods, Navarre, and it gets cold here in the winter. Damn cold. Cold enough to freeze the top layers of water in a sand filter made out of a plastic 55 gallon drum, possibly cold enough to freeze the bottom layer and bust all the pipes, also.

SO, is the only alternative to have a filter like this set up inside a heated garage or other heated area? That leaves me with my basement, and I don't exactly have happy thoughts of taking all the sand, etc. down into the basement, and carting 5 gallon buckets of water down the stairs from my rain barrel.

Any alternatives for cold weather usage of this type of filter?
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by navarre1095 » Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:51 pm

I don't have a cold weather solution just yet. It does get cold here. We had both rapid sand filter freeze up here once. They were 40 feet across! In '77 it got so cold the water mains themselves froze up.

Any greenhouse gurus out there? As I recall, water stored in barrels will help retain heat in a greenhouse. I'm considering building a cheapie this season.

I think I read somewhere that phone cord filters will not freeze and they remove 125% of crypto.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by DannusMaximus » Sun Sep 20, 2009 6:17 pm

navarre1095 wrote:I think I read somewhere that phone cord filters will not freeze and they remove 125% of crypto.
Never occurred to me to use phone cord as a filter media...

Perhaps wrap the PVC portions in blue wire? That would give a +5 bonus to constitution rolls against GI tract diseases due to contaminated water, too... :lol:
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by navarre1095 » Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:00 pm

This looks promising. .5 micron filter, small, cheap.
http://www.monolithic.com/stories/a-pra ... ter-filter" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by TheSnoo » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:24 pm

navarre1095 wrote:This looks promising. .5 micron filter, small, cheap.
http://www.monolithic.com/stories/a-pra ... ter-filter" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I'll one up you on that one. .02 micron. It gets viruses. They have a nice selection, they're reasonably cheap, and they come with a million gallon guarantee.
http://www.sawyerproducts.com/water.htm
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by navarre1095 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:05 pm

Ooooh, how much is that one? They have it at WallyWorld?

If this one gets 7-log, is backwashable, and has decent filter runs...

That works out to 4 gallons of perfect water for one person each day for 684 YEARS!

Gotta find some reviews on that one.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by TheSnoo » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:17 pm

This is where I found out about it:
http://boatbits.blogspot.com/2009/08/ma ... water.html
He's discussing one of thier filters that does NOT filter viruses. For virus removal and the million gallon guarantee, you need the SP135, the SP190, or the SP194.

Here's a review posted on the AR15 forums, it's a paste and copy from another site that I couldn't get to. The placeholder I got instead said they were having technical difficulties.
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b ... 951&page=3

The virus removers cost between $120 and $150 each. I got the bucket kit. It works just fine, but of course, I have no idea if it's removing viruses or not.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by navarre1095 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:43 am

There is no question that there better, fancier, more expensive, filters out there. The original intent of this thread was this:

Let's say that it's now 2012 and TEOTWAWKI has happened. You go to your carefully planned and stocked BOL only to find that Billy Ray Clampett and his 48 redneck kin folk now occupy your cabin, and have your guns, and your food, and your megapure 5000 filter system. Or there is now a smoking crater where your fortress of solitude once stood. Or the local (insert Warlord, gub'ment, or other authoritarian figure here) and his 100 (national guard, LEO's, gangbanger) warriors evict you from your BIL and confiscate the 40,000 rounds of ammo and the armory that you have so carefully hoarded, along with all that food, and your other megapure 5000 filter. Or let's say like everyone else,(present company excluded) that you have made no preps at all. What will you do for clean water? There will be NONE available in the wild. We will go back to dumping raw sewage back into the rivers. Thousands of tanks of chemicals will leak; and with few left to do anything or even care about it, they will leach into all the water supplies. What will you do for clean water?

Aside from the freezing issue which was so adroitly pointed out, the biosand filters that I listed earlier are IMHO the BEST filter systems out there for years-long water issues. Get whatever you can, but at least keep this design as another tool in your kit. At least you can teach it to others less fortunate.

BTW, I have a total chubby for that Sawyer .02 filter.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by TheSnoo » Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:33 pm

Well, I keep my sawyer in my BoB/INCH bag. It doesn't take up much room at all.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by thelight » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:38 pm

TheSnoo wrote:Well, I keep my sawyer in my BoB/INCH bag. It doesn't take up much room at all.
Your BoB is eaten by a Grue in the dark. You are lucky to still have your life. Suddenly, you are thirsty. :wink:

Seriously, I rock a First Need Purifier that I've posted about on this forum before many times. Having a hi-q purifier is great. Knowing how to build a quality filter out of easily obtainable materials is better. Something can always happen to your gear. Your knowledge is always with you. Knowledge before Stuff.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by TheSnoo » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:52 pm

I grab a coffee can that some kind littering asshole donated to the Lost Hikers Survival stash, clean it out as best as I can, and using my shirt as a dirt filter, fill it with water, and boil it.
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Re: Long Term Water Treatment

Post by navarre1095 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:07 pm

TheSnoo wrote:Well, I keep my sawyer in my BoB/INCH bag. It doesn't take up much room at all.
Seriously, the Sawyer rocks. The WTP operators want one to play with. I wasn't bagging on your post. Whether we have the cool stuff or not, we will by necessity be the ones to teach the others.
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