Water Purification - Backpacking 101

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Water Purification - Backpacking 101

Water Purification

Scott E. Palmer, V.M.D.


Learning Objectives

• List microorganisms in lakes & streams

• Explain common sense practices to minimize

chances of infection

• Describe 4 methods of water purification

• Determine the best method(s) for your needs

• Explain proper filter safety & maintenance


Meet The Troublemakers

• Protozoa


Meet The Troublemakers

• Protozoa

• Bacteria


Meet The Troublemakers

• Protozoa

• Bacteria

• Viruses


Common Sense Practices

• Avoid evidence of animals

• Look for snow runoff

• Use Springs


• Boiling

Purification Techniques

• Chemical Disinfection

Water Filters / Purifiers

• Ultraviolet Purification


Boiling Water

• At sea level, bring water to a rolling boil.

• Above 3,000 feet, boil for 3 minutes.


Boiling Water

• Boiling kills protozoa,bacteria and viruses

• Boiling is a good choice in cold weather

• Boiling consumes fuel!


Chemical Disinfection

• Iodine, Polar Pure Crystals, 30 minutes

• Iodine, Potable Aqua, 2 tabs/qt.

• Sodium Hypochlorite, 2 drops/qt.

• Micropur MP1,1tab/qt, 4 hrs

*Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium are resistant to

iodine disinfection.

disinfection


UV Water Purification

• Lightweight, battery

• 90 Seconds to purify

1 liter of water

• Kills bacteria,protozoa &

viruses (DNA disruption)

• Requires clear water


Water Filters/Purifiers

• Ceramic or pleated cartridge

• Carbon cores removes odor/taste

• Intake & Output tubing or fittings

• Purifiers contain iodine to kill viruses


Water Filters/Purifiers


Intake Hose


Output

Hose

Intake Hose


Output

Hose

Intake Hose

Pump & Housing


Output

Hose

Filter Element

Intake Hose

Pump & Housing


Output

Hose

Filter Element

Carbon Filter

Intake Hose

Pump & Housing


• Filters slurp up water

and force it through a

porous barrier that

screens out bacteria,

protozoa and sediment.


Gravity Filtration

• Pair of 1 liter bags

• Filter cartridge between

bags

• Ease of operation

• Eliminates protozoa &

bacteria


Keep Your Filter Safe

• Isolate intake & output

• Carry spare parts/repair kit

• Keep intake off the bottom

• Eliminate sediment


Eliminate Sediment


Filter from a Cooking Pot


Filters & Storage Bags

• Wash with warm soapy water and

rinse thoroughly.

• Sanitize by submerging in a solution of

household bleach (2 tbs/gal water),

rinse well and dry thoroughly


Filters & Storage Bags

• Eliminate odors/taste by soaking

overnight in white vinegar solution

(5 tablespoons per quart of water).


What Method is Best?

• Amount of protection

• Volume of water required

• Size & weight

• Ease of operation, time available

• Cost & replacement of elements


Don’t Go Thirsty!

• Go ahead…”camel up!”

• Just treat the water first

• Dehydration is a serious threat to your crew

• Take no chances, be prepared


On-line References

• www.cascadedesigns.com

• www.ems.com

• www.rei.com


Text References

• Howe S.,et al. Making Camp

The Mountaineers, Seattle WA, 1997

• Berger K, Hiking & Backpacking

W.W. Norton Co., NY, NY , 1995


Learning Objectives

• List microorganisms in lakes & streams

• Explain common sense practices to minimize

chances of infection

• Describe 4 methods of water purification

• Determine the best method(s) for your needs

• Explain proper filter safety & maintenance

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