Friday, June 13, 2014

Emergency Water Filters

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The words below are from an email conversation between the guru and me. My words have been removed, and his have been edited slightly for flow, since it was originally a private conversation. It’s posted with his approval.

I don’t personally recommend the much vaunted "British Berkefeld" (Big Berkey) filtering unit for a number of reasons that go beyond the significant number of complaints regarding leaking, stripping of threads on the filters, filters that are not certified, filters that come apart, and flow rates that are not accurate.  As a filter unit to use in a short-term emergency it would be significantly better than nothing even with its shortcomings and lack of true portability.  But it is convenient and looks good in a kitchen in an old-timey way. But 100% guaranteed potable water is not assured with the Berkeys, regular certifications are lacking, and warrantee is limited.

Sawyer filters/purifiers are certified, do work, and complaints are minimal, usually only related to flow rates due to use of muddy/filthy water and misuse.  Important details, test results, and certifications are available and not hidden (as they are on the Berkey site).

Sawyer's Point Zero Two "bucket" purifier is rated highly and it is accurately described as needing regular (perhaps daily) reverse flushing if the water is muddy and filthy with sediment — simply pouring the dirty water through several layers of cloth, like a t-shirt, significantly improves the time between reverse flushings.

Clear water can be purified for days before reverse flushing. AND the Sawyer Point Zero Two filters remove 99.997% of viruses, 99.99999% of bacteria, and 99.9999% of Protozoa/Cysts.  FINALLY, they have a lifetime replacement guarantee on the filter.

Being a "bucket" purifier, it looks only as pretty as your bucket ... if you want pretty, use a stainless steel milk bucket.  Otherwise a plain old 5 gallon plastic bucket works just fine and costs a lot less.  For the cost of the Berkey, you can make three "bucket" filters with three Sawyer "bucket kits" (bucket not included; use your own).

I recommend having the Point Zero Two "bucket" purifier for long term emergencies, setting it up in a semi permanent spot when needed (but still moved with ease).  Or get their two-bag Point Zero Two system for backpacking and "bugging out".

The PointOne Sawyer filters are ideal for use if you choose to pre-chlorinate or use water from clear(ish)-running streams or fresh lakes, etc., where no sewage or dead animals are present ... which is 95% of the United states. Heck, even their PointOne systems remove 99.99999% of all bacteria and 99.9999% of all protozoa, plus Sawyer's certified 0.1 micron absolute filters remove bacteria and protozoa at a higher rate than accepted EPA guidelines.

The PointOnes are ideal to carry in a small pack, pocket, or a featherweight fanatic's backpack.
I'd stake my life and health on a Sawyer Point Zero Two purifier if it came down to SHTF, and have never had a bad result with their PointOne filters when "boondocking" or remote camping. Oh, one thing to be aware of on (both the Berkey black filters and) the Sawyer PointZeroTwo purifiers ... they should be "primed" to get a good flow going.


For my Sawyer, I used the big horse syringe that came with it, using the reverse flush method with potable water, and while it took a bit of time it allowed the flow to get started immediately.  Otherwise, with a dry filter, it will take ten to fifteen minutes for the filter to flow and bubbles to leave the housing ... be sure to keep the filter below the supply, but have its output end pointed up until it flows without bubbles. Remember, the flow will not be fast, but will slowly purify at about 3½ gallons an hour from a low-head five gallon bucket (80+ gallons a day) , or around 4½ gallons per hour from a 55 gallon drum (100+ gallons a day) of water. © 2014
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