New England Colonial Living History Group 1680-1760. Armidale,NSW AUSTRALIA.

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 Post subject: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:17 pm 
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I discussed with Keith the idea of opening up this topic with the aim of sharing among historical trekkers some knowledge of how to make water safe to drink while trekking for extended period of time. Having done a bit of survival in the army before (a whole different concept however) and later as minimalist trekker, I believe water procurement and treatment could be second only to shelter (or dealing with the exposure threat in broader terms) in a survival situation or in a long trek.
As a matter of fact exposure and severe dehydration kills far more people than starvation in an unexpected survival situation, so if we are planning some long woodrunning stretch better we get our gear and our priorities straight just in case push come to shove and even if everything goes as planned.
Many people stranded in the wilderness or in general when planning a trek get overconcerned about food supplies....well, that's the last of the concern after water and shelter. Shelter and water are P1 and P2, sometime in different order but still the first two. Shelter intended in the broad terms as exposure avoidance.
We can go on (or survive) for a reasonable period of time without or with limited intake of food (believe it or not fasting for some time is good for our body) it is not pleasant to out senses but is not lethal; more of this perhaps in later posts; however we can't go very far if we suffer from exposure and dehydration (3-5 days top, a lot less for severe cases, and not functioning very well).
Another consideration is that water is heavy (2.2 lbs/lt), if we plan to trek for a week, considering an optimal daily intake varying from of 2.5 to 3.5 lts (part of which comes from some food) thinking of carrying all that water is out of question, the same as carrying an excessive amount of lead for casting balls.
Most of our canteens go from a quart to little less than a US gallon. My Jeroboam is little less than a gallon and it weighs like hell after a day trekking.
So it goes without saying that during our trek the need of frequently replenishing our water supply will be part of the equation and as a matter of fact part of the advance planning of the trek.
We need to plan to be in proximity of a water supply at least once a day, two days top if we really are in dire straits and carefully manage the effects of exposure leading to dehydration[/b], more than that is looking for serious troubles. It is prudent to assume as well that not the available water supplies are suitable for human consumption from the outset.
As a matter of information, if anyone of our Aussie friends finds himself trekking in Aboriginal desert areas, remember that the Aborigines used to mark water sources on nearby rocks carving a symbol made of concentric circles (2 or more).
Both in winter and in summer dehydration is always lurking for the woodrunner. Robert Roger in his rules of ranging (dont recall which one) recommend that camp site is selected in proximity of a water supply (I remember his 18th century English word "rivulet"), there was a reason for that, maybe still not a scientific one, but he knew what he was doing and what his men needed.
As we go along in this topic, I will post some more chapters on water purification and disinfection for now, as introduction, will suffice to say that as for the prevention of exposure, the water management process begins with conserving the water we have in us.
The reason I'm always mentioning exposure lays in the fact that first, dehydration could be one of the effects of exposure and second, it is related indirectly to water conservation.
Within the process of water management in the wild, which is: procurement, purification, disinfection and conservation; water conservation (which is not drinking less than required) implies minimizing, when possible, water losses which are through: urination, respiration and perspiration. Since respiration and urination are unavoidable (we'll see that something can be done with respiration), perspiration is the only one left that can be managed to a good extent by the same way we manage the exposure issue, which is, managing our first line of defense against the elements, our clothing.
18th century woodrunner clothing is very close to ideal, both in the make and in the fabric of choice, to be able to minimize water losses through perspiration, we'll see why later on.
In this topic we'll get into some modern scientific terminology and explanations (just the bare minimum) first; this is necessary to develop a good basic knowledge of the problem (and with it the capability to make informed judgment calls since, we'll see, water management is not all black and white).
As far as processes and tecniques are concerned, we'll try to stay, as much as we can, within an historically correct framework without sacrificing the safety aspect.
I look forward, in further posts to this topic, to give a simple as well a clear picture about this subject which is of primary importance, it goes without saying that any input will be much appreciated, after all knowledge, as much as it could be, remains a path and not an end.
Paolo (Vigo)


I edited this by making the script larger. For me at least it makes it easier to read with so much script.
Keith aka Le Loup aka Myeengun.
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Last edited by PaoloUAE on Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:48 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:53 pm 
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An excellent start! Bravo! Can't wait for part 2.
Keith.

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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:09 pm 
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LeLoup wrote:
An excellent start! Bravo! Can't wait for part 2.
Keith.

Thanks Keith, there are some minor touch-ups here and there as I try to make the writing more fluent and coincise without leaving anything important out. After all English is not my mother language. I beg for the readers patience.
Paolo


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 Post subject: SAFE WATER - PART 2 - WATER CONSERVATION AND FEW OTHER TIPS
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:58 pm 
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Before we get into the details of water conservation, it is worth asking upfront: how much water we need as daily intake? Answering this question is useful in planning our outing.
The rule is that there is no fixed rule. It is a matter of knowledge and sound judgment.
Upfront water intake comes from drinking as well as eating, so both come into play in the equation. Second, eating and therefore digesting some food consumes water. Third, the body’ water consumption (including loss through perspiration and respiration), depends on other factors such as body mass, fitness level, age, gender, level of activity and environmental factors. We have to make a judgment call in the planning stage to informatively guess how much water we would need daily and what to do to prevent loss through perspiration and respiration.
First we plan to take it easy, the less we exert ourselves the less we sweat. As simple as that; this in turn involve, in performing the many activities we are called upon to conduct in the wilderness, a bit of forward thinking and the proper use of the tools we have at our disposal.
Second, we have to plan and manage our clothing in a manner consistent with the environment we will be dealing with.
Our 18th century clothing serves us very well; loose fitting linen, cotton and wool cloths cover a broad span of protection from the elements and the items can be easily multilayered, thus allowing us to quick don or remove elements of clothing to avoid unnecessary overheating and sweating while doing our things.
A word about respiration, breathing in and out from the mouth let us loose water vapor, breathing out through the nose, improves the situation.
Let me make one thing very clear; sweating is our body’ defense against hyperthermia (induced excessive body temperature), it is therefore necessary to regulate body’ temperature though the cooling of our skin induced by the sweat evaporation. What we are talking here is unnecessary sweating coming from over-exertion or poor clothing management.
It goes without saying that trekking at 50+°C, requires sweating, it requires proper clothing as well, since not all the clothing material allows the proper evaporation of the sweat and the resulting cooling effect. However this brings us in the area of extreme situation, where the fight against exposure induced problems becomes a lot more complex. Still, even in this extreme situation, water procurement is a primary concern, the basic difference is how many techniques we have to put at work to battle the situation and how much time we have to fight and eventually win or lose the battle……
Another good saying is that the only good water is the one inside you, so do not conserve water by not drinking it, it won’t make any good to dehydrate with a full canteen. If water is running out, plan to make water procurement your first priority and go for it aggressively. And start your trek fully hydrated.
So back again how much water daily?
As there is no fixed rule, we have to start somewhere. Let’s use the US RDI (reference daily intake) as baseline and then we’ll go from there. US RDI indicates 3.7 lts/day for human males older than 18 and 2.7 lts/day for human females older than 18. These include drinking water and water from food and from food metabolisation as well.
Food on average contributes 0.5 to 1 lt per day, food metabolisation contributes 0.25 to 0.4 lt per day.
Staying on the lower side liquid intake in form of water could be reduced to roughly 3 lts for males and 2 lts for women.
Add to this the level of activity, temperature and humidity, mother, father, etc. I would say that the above figure are a reasonable basic guideline if you can guarantee, at the same time, a moderate level of phisical activity and a balanced diet while trekking, e.g two balanced meals a day including water reach food which is not always the case in my experience.
And here a word of caution about proteins intake in hot weather is in order.
The metabolism of proteins depletes body water.
Proteins metabolism produces urea, a toxic compound that is excreted by the kidneys, the more proteins (red meat for instance) you consume, the more water your body devotes to the production of urine to get rid of the urea.
Fats and carbohydrates on the contrary contribute water.
On this subject we enter into the judgment area; on short term proteins intake in scarcity of water is detrimental to water conservation and helps the onset of dehydration; on long term, lack of proteins causes the body to self-procure the proteins needs by catabolizing muscular tissue, a very exotic term for the fact that your body eats itself from the inside.
Bottom line: if you eat a lot of meat, get plenty of water or alternatively, especially in hot weather, switch to a more carbohydrate and fat diet; in this area 18th century trail food helps a lot.
Since we are dealing with a lot of latitude in determining our required daily water intake, a rule of thumb to know if we drink enough water is in order.
A normally hydrated man or woman, should urinate 4 times a day and the color of the urine should be pale yellow. Lower rate of urination and darker color indicates, with a very good approximation, that water intake is insufficient.
Medications might alter the color, most of us rely on thirst to hydrate which is being a bit late, it is also a fact that most of us live with and get use to some degree of dehydration, however this is by no mean a justification to not planning properly access to water sources during trekking.
Another aspect worth mentioning is that if we have to sweat, for whatever reason, profuse sweating can increase the need for electrolyte (salt) replacement. It is not guaranteed that whatever water source we find contains the required trace elements, sodium and many other, to satisfy the body needs. Dehydration might lead to serious electrolite imbalance (muscles cramps are one effect) as overhydration does as well. So keeping some salt in the pack might prove useful not only for adding taste to the food. Note also that in rescuing a seriously dehydrated person or more in general drinking too much water too quickly, can induce a conditions called hyponatremia which sometime can be fatal.
In conclusion of this chapter it is worth saying that it all boils down to proper preparation of our journey, sound self judgment and continuous personal monitoring during trekking.
Next will start talking about water treatment.
Paolo (Vigo)
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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:37 am 
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Ummmmmmm............I am almost lost for words. You know your stuff Paolo! Well done, great read. Looking forward to part 3.
Keith.

_________________
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost.
Image
Captain, Armidale NSW Australia chapter.
http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com.au/
http://australiansurvivalandpreppers.blogspot.com.au/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHEOMSZJETfj3GnoyONuvCQ?view_as=public


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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER - PART 3 WATER TREATMENT
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:47 pm 
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The first step into the water treatment battle is to know the enemy. I like to make two broad classifications of the enemy as follows:
- Natural enemies
- Industrial enemies
Notwithstanding that everything eventually come from Mother Nature, the natural enemies are the small (very small) crawlies that have a life of their own. These fall into any one of the following categories:
Protozoan,
Parasites,
Bacteria,
Viruses

The industrial enemies are anything nasty we can think about from our studies of inorganic chemistry.
These are normally associated with one form or another of industrial pollution of soil and water supplies.
Let’s talk about the crawlies first. In general the most benign effect of their presence is the well know diarrhea of various intensity all the way up to dysentery. Some of them can cause serious trouble over and above the s….t hitting the fan. Amongst other things, severe diarrhea contributes big time to potential severe dehydration if water supply is scarce.
With the crawlies we are concerned with three information in order to effectively manage the water purification-disinfection process: their size, their reactivity to certain disinfecting substances and where they come from (the culprit for spreading them). Where they are found is water but some of them can be found in soil and food as through contamination often due to poor sanitation.
Considering that there are four general type of water treatments (purification & disinfection) available: filtration, chemical, UV radiation and boiling and that no one treatment, with the exception of boiling, is good for all the crawlies, it makes sense to look at size when it comes to filters and to look at their reactivity when it comes to chemicals* and UV treatment (will spend few word on UV treatment as well).
(*When it comes to chemicals and UV suspension particles or slimy organic stuff also influence the treatment).

It is also good to know the culprit, of human or animal origin, as the presence of anyone or both of them in the area might be an indicator of what is lurking in the pond and allow us to make a good judgment call on the most suitable treatment.
So let’s look at all the crawlies. For reason of completeness and space will start with the Protozoans, in other subsequent chapters will discuss about the other categories and their peculiarities.
Protozoans (sometimes classified as single cell parasites):
Giardia lamblya
Criptosporidium parvum
Cyclospora cayetanensis
Entamoeba histolytica
Microsporidia

(*Some of these protozoans are quite smart sort of speak, they have a double life form. Inside a host (hopefully not us) they have a life as the everyday parasite. When excreted from a host, while waiting to find another accommodation, they take what is called “cyst” form.
A cyst is a kind of cocoon that the crawly build around itself as protection (an “armored” crawly sort of speak). Once the cyst is ingested by a new host, the crawly gets out of it and start its life again in parasitic form. Quite smart isn’t it for a single cell life form? The cyst life stage makes the crawly a bit harder to kill with some treatment methods. It makes it also particularly resistant to heat and cold allowing its survival even for months while waiting for a new “accommodation”).

When it comes to sizes we are concerned, when applicable, to the cysts form life stage.

Upfront let us be clear that boiling is the first and most secure method of water treatment for Protozoan type of crawlies. So make sure you can start a fire……… and that you have a container that can contain water and go on the fire to boil it with your kit.
As a matter of fact boiling works for most of all the other as well, albeit one or two are heat resistant, but more of this later when we’ll discuss about other crawlies.
There are hundreds of different indications about how long water should be boiled. The reality is that just reaching rolling boil temperature is sufficient. After all pasteurization of milk and other foodstuff is obtained at temperatures lower than boiling, albeit at different holding times.
The reason for rolling boiling is that, most of the time, we don’t have a thermometer to check if this or that lower pasteurization temperatures have been reached, so when water on the camp fire bubbles we know that, at sea level, we are at 100°C.
Personally, if the water is full of organic matters (the greenish smelly slime that sometimes floats on the surface); I’d like to filter it before storing into a container for further boiling.
The reason for that is an extra precaution, I do not want some of the “armored crawlies”, the cysts, or others to hang inside or on the surface of the slime (as some tend to do) where full boiling temperature, being this in contact with outside air, might not be reached if boiling is very brief.
It is a long shot in terms of precaution, but it might be worth the five minutes spent in filtering and I prefer it to longer boiling time as it conserves fuel (which here in the desert is not that abundant by definition).
How do I do this filtering? A sock, some ball patch fabric or a bandana tied around the neck of the container before scooping water in. Anything with reasonably tightly woven fibers would do. As a matter of fact you can even do it with a tightly packed nest of green or dry grass as long as it catches the slime it is fine. More about organic slime and particles later.
So far so good, but what if we cannot start a fire? Here the knowledge and judgment factors come into play.
From now on size and reactivity matters. Let’s bring back our Protozoans crawlies and analyze them a bit more in detail.

Giardia 11-14 x 6 -10 microns in cyst form
Most common water born crawly. Usually found where domestic or wild animals share water sources with human (also found in soil and food) which become infected through fecal contamination.
In Cyst form is very resistant to cold, heat and desiccation and can survive for months outside a host. Because of its resistance in cyst form it has to be assumed to be omnipresent even in apparently crystal cleat streams.
Cryptospridium 4-5 microns spherical in cyst form
The crawly is essentially ubiquitous.
The biggest concern in drinking water borne pathogen nowadays in industrialized countries.
There is no established 100% effective treatment albeit most of the symptoms are generally self limiting in healthy individuals.
The cysts are highly environmental and water disinfection chemicals resistant (chlorine & Iodine).
Cyclospora 7.5-10 microns spherical in cyst form
Mainly found in Tropical and Subtropical regions.
Spread through fecal contamination of water as well food.
Quite rare outside endemic regions.
Know to be resistant to chemical disinfectants (chlorine and iodine)
Entamoeba 10-20 microns in cyst form
Primary infecting humans and primates.
Cysts exist in loose feces which are the primary cause of contamination of water, soil and food.
Cysts are heat and cold sensitive. Thrive in moist environment.
Microsporidia 1-40 microns spores
This crawly comes in a variety of species and spread through spores rather than cysts.
Some of the species infect aquatic life (fish primarily) some terrestrial life (including insects like locusts, bees and silkworms).
Some 13 species of this crawly are known to infect humans. They are known to infect mostly human with some form of compromised immune system.
Spread by fecal matter and inhalation.
Water species are sensitive to cold and dry climates, terrestrial species are more resistant to cold. Exposure to sunlight kills the spores very quickly.

Worth mentioning once more that the size is given in order to countercheck efficacy of some filtration methods.

It is comforting to know that the Giardia cysts (6 microns), Cyclospora cysts (7-7.5 microns) and the Cryptosporidium cysts, while being the toughest crawlies are also two largest (speaking in crawlies relative terms).

This is particularly important for the Cryptosporidium (4-5 microns) and for the more rarely encountered in developed countries, Cyclospora, which are resistant to most of the common chemical treatment and, in absence of the possibility of boiling the water, can rely only on filtration for effective removal.

Here we have to make a choice between historical semi-correctness and safety when push comes to shove and we cannot light a fire to treat water.

Filtration of water in the wilderness, utilizing makeshift filters, is a bet.

In a true survival situation, if the alternative is death, we can take some risks and accept that by instance, Cryptosporidiosis (the disease brought by the Cryptosporidium) is bleak but in most healthy individuals, is self limiting and chose dysentery rather than death. After all, statistically, most of the unexpected survival situations resolve within a 72 hours period, statistically……so even with some bad dysentery, we can hang on (drinking in our water some grinded fire coal) and wait for the cavalry.
However the purpose of historical trekking is not to become a survival statistic, so we must plan and think safely.
We can construct a well made multilayer filter (gravel, sand and charred wood) and this will, hopefully, remove the Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora cysts, hopefully……Oh it will remove organic slime and other particulates which is also essential for further treatment, however I personally believe that hope is not good enough in the wilderness. Graves and hospitals are full of hopeful wilderness runners.
Cryptosporidium is essentially ubiquitous, so the chance that is not going to lurk in our selected pond, is at the best, very slim.
The bottom line is, if you cannot boil it, you have to reliably filter it.
For reliable filtration I mean processing through a filter in which the pores’ size (absolute pores’ size) is small enough to guarantee, as per industry standards that “X” microns crawlies will not pass.
Again in selecting the type of filter we have several on the market produced by reliable companies specialized in this sector.
Keep in mind however the Cryptosporidium and if traveling the Cyclospora sizes and take the lowest number of microns of minimum guaranteed “absolute” pores’ size that can stop them. Other crawlies are a lot smaller than 4 microns; however they are not that resistant to alternative disinfection method.
As a matter of fact most of the filters on the market have absolute pores’ size way smaller than 4 microns, however make a habit of checking the specs before purchasing.
I personally use a Sawyer® Point Zero Two and Point One portable filters.
The Point Zero Two is also called “Viral Purifier” (a misnomer since it DOES NOT filter the majority of viruses which are the smaller in size of all crawlies) and has an absolute pore size of 0.02 microns which is quite good for everything else which could be chemical resistant.
The Point One is also good, albeit with larger pores’ absolute size (0.1 microns), is very effective in filtering all of the crawlies but viruses which might be chemical resistant.
The Point Zero Two is expensive (the 4 lts bladder model) sells at around 130 USD, however is guaranteed for a million USG with a very simple backwash care. On the long term is the cheapest filtration method.
The Point One is cheaper, at about 40 USD, and guaranteed as well for a million USG with the same backwash care.
Both the above filters as many other on the market are light, easy to use and very contained in size.

As long as a filter stops the chemical resistant crawlies, we can effectively and safely complete the water treatment with a high degree of safety.
With regard to the chemical resistant Protozoans, remember that the Cryptosporidium cyst (4 microns) is the “ubiquitous tough guy in the pond” so with the above filters as well as with the majority on the market we are on the safe side.

We have filtered our water, then what’s next?

Here I have to briefly recall what I said early on about organic slime and suspension particles (will call them the “crap”). The crap doesn’t go along very well with some chemicals, with UV treatment as well as with filters with small pore sizes.
More specifically the organic crap reacts with some of the disinfecting chemicals and renders them less effective. With UV the crap makes the water tough to penetrate for the sun’s rays thus failing the purpose of the treatment. As for filters the crap clog them, that’s all, they still work but the flow is greatly reduced.
So we have, in the process, to remove the crap upfront (before filtration) and the suggested methods are the one I listed earlier in the paragraph (sock, bandana, etc.).
There are other methods for removing the crap, especially organic and inorganic particles which do not settle on the bottom of the container by gravity, of particularly interest, since it is also effective in removing (precipitating is more appropriate as it doesn't kill them) a large percentage of the Giardia lamblya cysts (or any other of the larger cysts lurking within the crap), is the FLOCCULATION. In industrial water treatment plant a substance called Alum is used. In the wilderness, baking powder or the white ash from the camp fire works fine as well.
Flocculation basically works on the principle that the substance introduced in the water, let’s say white ash, helps binding together the particles which are too light to settle by gravity alone making them all together heavier and allowing them to sink to the bottom of the container.
Simply drop one or two spoon of white ash in the water (1 lt), stir, let the water settle for a while till the majority of the particle sediment, together with the ash, settle on the bottom of the container.
If the water is not enough clear, repeat the treatment after having moved the water into another container taking care of not stirring the bottom sediment too much.
After having removed the crap and filtered the water, next is the chemical or UV treatment.
Starting with the chemical, we have to substances that are commonly used in various compositions: chlorine based and iodine based.
Chlorine based substances range from household bleach to more sophisticated compositions available in tablet form.
We can go into details of the various chlorine based disinfectant, however they are less effective than Iodine when in solution form and less stable in the sense that you cannot guarantee, in the long term, that X percentage chlorine solution will remain X percentage.
They tend to react with organic matters in the water losing in the process some of their effectiveness. The tablets are just fine and we will list some of the brands at the end of this chapter, however tablets tend to run out.
What we need is a long term, reliable and portable disinfection method and Iodine gives us just that.
Iodine based products are many, there has been a lot of literature about toxicity of iodine, we’ll talk about that as well a bit later. In my opinion (corroborated by more medically knowledgeable persons) those who need to be concerned about iodine seriously are: pregnant women and people with thyroid dysfunctions (some people are known to be also allergic to iodine). These individuals will need to switch to chlorine based disinfection methods and go for the tablets. Everybody else is quite safe with iodine in the quantities and concentrations needed for personal water disinfection.
Iodine comes and a variety of presentations: Iodine topical* solution *Topical means for external application, Iodine-povidone (like the Betadine®) and others.
All are useful, some with little draw backs, I personally use the so called Iodine Crystals Saturated Water Solution. It is easy to prepare, last for very long time, is small in size and it is easy to use. It has few draw backs but these are easily overcome.
Iodine, if I recall well, was discovered as back as the 17th century. Iodine solutions can only be stored in glass or plastic containers with Bakelite or plastic cap (I haven’t tried cork but I guess it will work), no metal.
To make the solution we need:
- 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle, the same used for medications
- 4-8 grams of Elemental Iodine crystals 99.99% ACS grade (about 45 USD @ 100 grams)
Throw the crystals in the bottle, fill it with water and shake it.
After about 1 hour the solution is ready that is, all possible iodine crystal that could pass into solution in the water have dissolved. There will be some crystals left at the bottom of the bottle, leave them there, since the solution is saturated they will stay there for as long as needed. I put a picture of how it looks at the end of this chapter.

The solution is poured, will see how, into the water to disinfect, the bottle is refilled with water and a new solution is made with the remaining crystals. When there will be no more crystals at the bottom of the bottle, add another 4-8grams and keep going.
It doesn’t matter if is exactly 4, 5 or 8 grams, iodine will go into solutions till is saturated and then it will stop dissolving, it will work all by itself. The important aspect is to ensure that after about an hour, there are still crystals at the bottom of the bottle, this is the proof that solution saturation has occurred.
(To be continued....)
Paolo
In the pictures: my iodine saturated solution with its neoprene (wrapped in duct tape) "warming" pouch, two portable water filters from one from the military (the tape around the filter is fluorescent tape which, in case I drop the filter by night in no light allows me to still locate it) and the fattiest a Sawyer Point One with its 1.5 lts bladder and its backwash syringe. Note the very contained size.[size=150]
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Last edited by PaoloUAE on Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:41 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:01 pm 
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LeLoup wrote:
Ummmmmmm............I am almost lost for words. You know your stuff Paolo! Well done, great read. Looking forward to part 3.
Keith.

Thanks Keith,
Paolo


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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:26 pm 
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Bl**dy brilliant! We are very lucky to have you on our forum Paolo, & I mean that sincerely. This is the best article on this subject I have ever read.
Thank you.
Keith.

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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER - PART 4 WATER TREATMENT
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:11 am 
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In general in order to be effective Iodine should reach a concentration per liter of anything between 4 to 8 ppm (part per million) which is close to 4 to 8 mg/lt (milligrams per liter), albeit there is the temperature variable which will see later.
Why such a wide range of acceptability?
It depends on how bad the water we are trying to drink looks.
If it is stagnant water and kind of cloudy go for the higher dosage if it is gin clear water the lower figure will do the work.
However to remain from the safe side anything above and including 6 mg/lt (or 6 ppm) will do the work and it won’t taste that bad.
We have the bottle of solution and the liter of water to be treated, so how much we have to pour in? These are general indications that will result in solutions stronger than the suggested optimal, however it is a fact that measuring ppm/mg/ml in the wilderness is not as easy as in a lab, so use them and be on the safe side.
One ounce (oz) which is about 30 ml, is about 6 teaspoons.
One teaspoon is therefore 5 ml, given that the solution roughly weighs like water, 5 ml equals 5 mgr or 5 ppm.
If the water is clear go for one teaspoon (5 mg/lt) or a capful.
If the water is cloudy go for 1.5 to 2 teaspoons (7.5 to 10 mg/lt) or two caps full.
If you are using a dropper consider that one drop equals 0.05 ml.
If the water is very, very cloudy you can drop the entire content of the bottle (about 26-28 mg, excluding the crystals) and live happily ever after.
As a matter of fact you can always drop anything between ½ to the entire content based on water turbidity and keep going.
In plain terms it means that with one 1 oz bottle of solution, right away, you can treat anything from 3 to 1 liters of water depending on water turbidity. Reconsitute the solution with 1 oz of the treated water, wait one hour for the solution to saturate and keep going.
Personally I go for the ½ or all solution. I like a little taste of iodine which some people call the “taste of safety”. It is a little psychological boost knowing that iodine is there and makes the liquid you are drinking safe.
DO NOT DROP THE CRYSTALS IN, LEAVE THEM IN THE BOTTLE.
Let the water stand for 20-30 minute, after that cheers! You want to make double sure, let it stand for 1 hour, it is not necessary but if it makes you feel better go for it.
(*make sure, in the event of using screw cap canteen or bottle, that the treated water spills through the thread of the cap by momentarily turning the canteen upside down with the cap partially unscrewed. This ensures that no crawlies will hide in the thread).
For those who don’t like the “taste of safety”, AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THE TREATMENT, AND NOT BEFORE, it might be useful to consider to bring along few tablets of Vitamin C, those of the kind that dissolve in water (effervescent) . AFTER THE TREATMENT drop 1/3 to ½ of one tablet (they are quite large in size and come in handy aluminum tubes) into the treated water, vitamin C kills the iodine taste (and its effectiveness, so use it AFTER iodine has done the killing not BEFORE) and makes the treated water more palatable.
Here we go into the variable of the iodine utilization.
Temperature. Iodine is sensitive to temperature (which in general slows all chemical reactions), the colder it gets the slower it kills; we need therefore to increase the settling time once added to the water and here please bear with for a little reasoning.
As the water gets colder, the reaction slows down, so we need to give “x” amount of iodine more time to do its job. Conversely if we don’t have much time, we can stay with the same holding time but use larger amount of iodine. I hope is clear.
Basically the iodine equation is:
Effectiveness (at a given Temperature) = quantity x time
We play on the variables that we have at our disposal.
So if you are a mathematician and go for the 1 or 2 teaspoons solution, the colder the water is the longer you need to let the iodine works.
In terms of safety one hour is the maximum resting time for temperatures down to 4-5°C.
Or, working on the quantity, add to the original dose the same amount for any 10°C below 35°C which is, in case of one teaspoon (ts.) at 35°C, 2 ts. at 25°C, 3 ts. at 15°C, 4 ts. at 5°C; keeping the 20-30 min. holding time.
We can see that at 5°C the resulting amount of saturated solution for one liter will be 20 ml or mg, which is pretty good.
I said that I prefer the ½ to full 1 oz. bottle solution, this method allows us to reach an amount of anywhere between 15 to 27-28 ml/lt or mg/lt of saturated solutions (see Chapter "Part 9 - Iodine Facts & myths").
This is more than enough concentration for a temperature range from scorching hot down to close to freezing (about 4-5 degree centigrade) and still holding the 20-30 minutes time.
The reason for my rough going when it comes to adding iodine solution is very simple. If I’m badly in need of water I don’t have time neither to check if the temperature is 15°C or 25°C, nor to remember the various time-quantity values for this or that temperature, I just need to remember to drop in anything between ½ and full and let it rest for 20-30 min. That’s a lot easier if you are in a badly dehydrated state.
Remember that in a survival or close to survival situation, the first things that get affected due to stress, urgency, exposure, etc. are your complex motor skills and with it the capability to do complex thinking. You have to keep it simple and effective at the same time to have a fair chance.
That’s another reason for grooving through practice some of the wood runner’s skill first of all making fire.
A word of caution when in proximity of freezing temperature, make sure you keep your tiny 1 oz bottle from freezing it will break if filled to the top and make sure that the water you treat is not in the pre-freezing slime state, that won’t work very well, it must be liquid.
You can always carry the iodine solution into a pocket to keep it warm and preventing it from freezing.
Another advice which I know is conflicting with historical correctness, we have said we need a container which can go onto the fire to be able to boil the water, our copper/brass kettles will do just fine.
However when it comes to filtration, flocculation and/or iodine treatment or as a matter of fact any other treatment that we will explore other than boiling, it is much, much better to have a transparent container such as a Nalgene® large neck bottle (I mentioned Nalgene® because it is light and tough as hell). You can see my bottles in the pictures at the end of the chapter.
These come in various colors, transparent is the way to go. It allows us to visually check the status of the suspension, the iodine induce coloring, the status of the flocculation. It is comforting, more practical and you can see what you are doing and how you are progressing with the treatment.
Keith will excuse me, we can always build a leather makeshift bottle container and tell people around that some (extinct) Indian Tribes, somewhere in the remote North American wilderness used cylindrical water containers………hehehehe, a little humor in all these dealings with nasty, disease carrying bugs is in place.
In emergency even a spent common PET water bottle will do. Will see later why PET.
To complete the Iodine discussion, if anyone wants to know more about how to deal with other iodine based mixtures (such as iodine tincture, Betadine®, etc.) which are also used for disinfection, please let me know and I will publish some information about those as well.The reason I omitted them at this stage, rightly or wrongly, is that I prefer a method that is of immediate use without too much thinking for the reasons I stated above.
The additional information on other iodine compouds, if requested, will be provided and could prove useful in the event (that would never happen) that we are caught unprepared and we need to improvise a treatment using, for example, the car first aid kit or any first aid kit where iodine based disinfectants are normally at home.
Let's talk about Chlorine.
We don’t want to make the old good chlorine feel bad and it is worth, for those who cannot use iodine, to know the subject in detail.
(To be continued with…..chlorine, then UV treatment, then the other crawlies and how they react to chlorine and iodine treatment and in conclusion a little write up about iodine toxicity "facts and myths")
Paolo
In the pictures my Nalgene bottle (with marked capacity scale) and the detail of the large mouth, the whole set of bottles I use and the old military cup, apart for the Nalgene bottles all other, made of stainless steel, can go on the fire. The tape around the Nalgene bottle is useful first grade ducting tape which also holds some makeshift cordage device for attacching the bottle to the pack or belt.
PS: Thanks once more to Keith


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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:51 am 
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No thanks needed to me my friend, your idea, and you are doing a dam fine job Paolo.
On the sugestion of leather covered bottles, glass would also be good even though heavier. If you are going to carry extra water, then a glass bottle in the haversack would be fine.
Keith.

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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:46 pm 
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Keith indeed glass could be used, a bottle with a large mouth would suit better, scooping water with the standard size bottle opening while trying to fit a sock or something to do some preliminary slime/particles filtering could be time consuming.
Paolo

I take this occasion to make a small note on the chapter about Iodine dosing during the treatment.
In the metric system ppm (part per million) is also referred as mg/kg (milligrams/Kilograms) a ratio of weight or as mass per unit of volume as in our case which is mg/Lt. (milligrams/liters). Just to clarify in case someone, conversant in physic, gets a little puzzled. I'm not trying to get over technical but when it comes to survival, clearing as many potential doubts as possible on what you are doing is a major phycological boost. It is comforting to know that what you are doing is the right thing.


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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:48 pm 
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I was thinking along the lines of using a cotton or linen bag to scoop the water & let the water run through the bag into the kettle. From there I thought perhaps another bag to filter the water into a cup, or boil depending on place & situation.
From cup to bottle, easier to pour, then back to kettle for boiling or add iodine. or boil & then back to bottle & iodine? Charcoal could be added to the second bag. I thought of a bag because I generally have several in my knapsack for containing other items, such as the large one I keep the kettle in. It would add little weight to carry a couple of close weave bags, & they are easy to use when scooping up water. What do you think?

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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER - PART 5 CHLORINE
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:07 pm 
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Chlorine based products come in different forms, liquid and tablet, the most common liquid form comes from the old good household bleach which is a solution of anywhere between 5.25 to 6% of Sodium Hypochlorite (the familiar Clorox®).
Bleach (of the unscented, uncolored, not powdered and with no cleaning additive type) can be used for disinfection; however it is impractical for wilderness mainly because the solution is not very stable and on the long term, the percentage of Sodium Hypochlorite dissolved changes as the substance deposit itself on the container walls.
This weakens the concentration making difficult to achieve an efficient disinfection with the indicated dosage.
On short term, it is efficient as household or emergency disinfectant but is not the first option in long treks.
The prior mentioned organic matter (the slime) has also a part in reducing considerably the efficacy of this disinfectant so rough “sock” pre-filtering is in place to eliminate the slime.

[size=85]*For those into chemistry, the organic slime (not lifeless suspension particles like mud or the like), causes the chlorine to react with the omnipresent (in any organic matter) ammonia and amino acids to create what are called chloramines, a byproduct that release chlorine slowly and inconsistently (so the known holding time and dosage are becoming unreliable parameters).


We recall that some of the Protozoans are chlorine resistant as well, at normal concentrations, so pre-filtering with a state of the art filter is mandatory.

The dosage is 5 drops of bleach for 1 liter of water to be treated with a standing time of 30 minutes.

Again, in my opinion, this is fine at home, but a bit too theoretical for a wilderness situation. After all who carries a dropper in his pack?

I had to use bleach for emergency disinfection and after the recommended 5 drops (I had to figure how much 5 drops were) and 30 minutes standing time, the water didn’t have a light smell of chlorine, that gave me a headache, as well a little chill on my back, it is safe or not?
I ended up adding a teaspoon full of bleach and the water, after 30 minutes, smelled a bit like swimming pool water. It all went fine including my bowel functions after returning, so please draw your own conclusions.
As I said earlier, an immediate, no brain method, to gauge your disinfection results is in place in the wilderness.

However in the interest of safety let me re-state that in that occasion, I couldn’t filter the water albeit it was gin clear, so basically I GOT LUCKY. Due to some unexpected circumstances, I had to push my luck a bit further since the alternative was no water at all at close to 45°C outside temperature with 90% humidity.

Again chorine reactions are temperature sensitive, if the temperature is anywhere above 15-16°C the 30 minutes holding time is fine, for lower temperatures increase the holding time to 45 minutes or one hour.

On the market there are other products which are chlorine based and here I’m not doing marketing but for those who cannot use iodine this is what is available.

There following two chlorine based products are the one I tested and used:
- Chlorine Dioxide (trade names: Potable Aqua®, Katadyne Micropur®, Aquamira Water Purifier Tablets®)
- Sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione [SDST] (distributed in US by HQ COMPANY brand name Chlor-Floc®)

They both come in tablet form in handy water proof sealed wrapping. Each tablet once opened, must be used fairly quickly and cannot be packed again. They have a pretty long shelve life, albeit by law the manufacturer has to indicate an expiry date. I have used expired tablet which were properly stored.
Of the two, Chlorine Dioxide is the chemical of my choice.
The tablets are, in chemical terms, a small masterpiece or as some defines them a highly engineered chemical delivery system. I call them a “micro-lab”.
Chlorine dioxide is a substance that is highly unstable (that means explosive), so processing and transportation of large quantities has been out of question. It must be produced right on the spot where it is used and that’s what these tablets do.
Each tablet includes chlorine and an activator which upon immersion, combine and produce chlorine dioxide, all in a 3 mm. diameter pill, quite amazing isn’t it?
Each tablet is good for one (1) liter of water.
If you are using a transparent container this should be kept away from direct sunlight during the holding time.
Chlorine dioxide, as per manufacturer indications, is good for killing Protozoan, Parasites, Bacteria and Viruses. However there are different holding times and still the issue of temperature sensitivity as for all chemical reactions.
Follow the producer recommendations which are clearly printed on the pack and on the tablets wrapping (albeit I need glasses to read them); as reference I list the various holding time of the Aquamira Water Purifier Tablets® which I keep as a backup.
Clear water at 20°C:
Bacteria & Viruses = minimum 15 minutes
Protozoa (Giardia & Cryptosporidium) = minimum 30 minutes
Murky water at 4°C (worse case scenario):
Bacteria & Viruses = minimum 15 minutes
Protozoa (Giardia & Cryptosporidium) = minimum 4 hours

Personally I like to roughly pre-filter the water with the method mentioned before (sock, etc.), the less organic slime there is, the better, even with chlorine dioxide.
In addition to, shake the container well to ensure that the tablet dissolves entirely (here a transparent container helps) and don’t forget to wash the thread as indicated earlier to kill any bug that might be hiding there.
Four hours is a long time when you are thirsty but in absence of alternative is better than nothing. This requires some forward planning from our side.
However tablets are of immediate use (although they run out), so we can treat, having a suitable container, more than one liter of water at a time as opposed to iodine saturated solution where the 1 oz bottle is good for anything between 1 and 3 liters but can be reconstituted in one hour time. All systems have the pros and cons.
To the best of my knowledge (I might be wrong), chlorine dioxide tablets, is the only chlorine based simple to use, portable treatment that kills our dreaded, ubiquitous Cryptosporidium (there are others but not as handy and easy to use). So they are highly recommended for those who cannot use iodine, cannot reliably filter the water and cannot start a fire.
SDST. This product brand name Chlor-Floc®, as the name says has the double effect of flocculating and disinfecting the water to be treated.
One 600 mgr tablet is good for 1 liter of water. It is also temperature sensitive so the manufacturer gives a mix of different holding time at various temperature (at 25°C, 7 minutes up to 15 minutes at 10°C and 5°C) as well as increased quantities (2 tablets instead of one per liter) are very low temperatures (5°C).
On the instruction for use on the “killing list”, there is mention of: Giardia Lamblia cysts, bacteria, viruses and other harmful micro-organisms. There is NO MENTION of Cryptosporidium so we have to assume that it is not effective in removing the ubiquitous bug.
This product has an additional flocculation property, thus during the treatment, sediments will form on the bottom of the container. These can be removed by straining the treated water with the usual sock, bandana or the like.
A last note on liquid chlorine based disinfectants. Aquamira produces the Aquamira Water Treatment Drops® a two products treatment system which requires some pre-mixing before utilization. I don’t find this suitable for wilderness use for the same reason stated above (complex motor skill deterioration), however if you like it you can use it.
There are other liquid products as well as purifiers that utilize electric current generated by batteries to do the work, by all mean try them, however if they take too much of assembling (by the Murphy' Law they will break when needed most), reading or thinking, you know the rationale.
This pretty much closes the chlorine subject.
Next we will discuss about UV (ultra violet) treatment, including the SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection) method (this is where PET bottles come handy), and the various options we have.
Thanks for your patience.
Paolo
(To be continued….)
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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:47 pm 
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LeLoup wrote:
I was thinking along the lines of using a cotton or linen bag to scoop the water & let the water run through the bag into the kettle. From there I thought perhaps another bag to filter the water into a cup, or boil depending on place & situation.
From cup to bottle, easier to pour, then back to kettle for boiling or add iodine. or boil & then back to bottle & iodine? Charcoal could be added to the second bag. I thought of a bag because I generally have several in my knapsack for containing other items, such as the large one I keep the kettle in. It would add little weight to carry a couple of close weave bags, & they are easy to use when scooping up water. What do you think?


Keith, thanks for the question.
If we can boil it, I have used two linen bags, one inside the other, (of about one liter capacity each) of those I use for carrying food supplies.
They are not that tightly wowen as the old style canvas bucket and at the same time, they do not sip water that fast so that to fill a 1 or 2 gallons kettle becomes a rush against time. Alternatively, if I have a large enough piece of cloth in the pack, to cover the full mouth of the 1 gallon kettle, I throw in the kettle with the cloth tied around the mouth with a piece of cordage, this works well if you have a slightly elevated vantage point from where to scoop water.
My linen bag are quite thick, tightly woven fabric (they almost stand by their own) as opposed to some other that are quite flimsly and sip water very fast.
I used to tie a small flexible twig bent in a circle to the bags opening and with a piece of cord I could scoop water even from distance. Although some muds and slime comes in, the linen pre-filters them pretty well (a little mud settles on the bottom of any container after a while anyhow). It is not highly efficient but it works. I made sure,afterward, that the linen bags I used didnt get mixed with the other clean bags or other gear before I could boil them.
The reason I didnt use the old style canvas bucket to scoop water and then run it through a linen bag or sock or the like, is that it had a wooden bottom and I couldnt find a container large enough to boil the bucket to make it safe again for other utilizations. My guideline is to minimize cross contamination as some bugs' cysts are surviving in the outside environment quite well and hide in the most unthinkable recesses of the gear.
If iodine disinfection is the only option (no fire), we dont want to contaminate too many items of our gear in the process of moving untreated water from one container from another (once an item is contaminated the only safe way to treat it is by boiling it), I used the same two linen bags one into the other, same twig modification on the opening (it can be sewn in with sinew or linen thread) as well as tying one of the bottom corner of the bag to the side of the bag itself in order to have the bag present only one corner (like a funnel) to the mouth of the bottle (which hopefully is not that small) this helps funneling the seeping water quite effectively.Two layers of linen are quite good for filtering most of the organic slime stuff out.
The bottle becomes then the decanting (for the little mud left if any, that however will settle by gravity) first and treatment container after a while. Once the treatment is over, poor the water carefully in a cup, taking care not to steer the bottom if any. As additional precaution, if you feel is needed, you can put a piece of cloth tied around the neck of the bottle to stop some particles but it shouldnt be necessary.
Regarding the charcoal, if industrial pollutant are not suspected, I wouldnt use it. I never understood what's the advantage of these sand/gravel/charcoal filters as they do not stop cysts or other organisms and they do not perform any better than a good double or triple layer of linen or tightly woven cloth to stop slime and suspension; in addition they are cumbersome to built and they sip water very slowly.
I hope I explained it clearly enough. If you have any doubt just ask.
I put here below a picture of the tought linen bag I have (the darker in color) next to the flimsy one (whitish color).
Paolo


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 Post subject: Re: SAFE WATER
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:10 am 
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Understood Paolo. Thank you. Much appreciated.
Keith.

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