Simple Yet Effective Ways to Purify Water
Did you know your body is about 60% water? Well, it is. The control center of your body, your brain is 70% water. Think about it! Humans like most animals need water to survive. It helps transport the essential nutrients to the cells all across the body. Water is the stuff that keeps us running.
Perspiration, moisture-loss through breathing as well as bodily excretions result in a negative water balance in our body. Keeping yourself hydrated and replenishing about 2.4 liters of water every day is vital to help your body perform optimally.
Why Do You Need to Purify Water?
It is important that the water that goes inside your body is clean and free of potentially dangerous contaminants and pathogens. Most community water systems in the U.S provide clean drinking water. Coagulation, sedimentation, filtration and disinfection are the steps water goes through before ending up in your home.
You may ask that if the water is already filtered and treated why is it useful to purify it further. Well, on its way to your home, the quality and purity of water may be comprised through leaky and rusty pipes. Treatment disruptions and power outages also play a negative role. The disinfectants used to rid pathogens may be problematic in their own right.
The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of more than 90 contaminants that you need to look out for to ensure the water is safe to drink. The water you and your family drinks must be free of disease causing microorganisms like Cryptosporidium E. coli and Hepatitis A.
The disinfectants as well as their by-products do almost as much harm as they do good. Chlorine, Chloramines and Chlorine-dioxide can render your drinking water hazardous. Inorganic chemicals like Asbestos, Arsenic, Lead and Mercury and the organic compounds like Benzene can make the water downright toxic.
Simple Water Purification Techniques
So, what to do? The simple answer to that question is “water purification”. Some simple ways to purify water are rather inexpensive. They can give you the added insurance that the water that is going to become a part of your body is going to do its job without harmfully affecting your immune system.
Boiling is unarguably the most popular way to purify water. There is a reason for it. Boiling kills almost all the pathogens and microorganisms. It destroys some toxins as well. If you are not sure about the safety of your drinking water, boiling is the easiest way to ensure just that.
Before boiling the water, make sure it is not cloudy and does not contain any physically visible contaminants. This is a possibility if your water-supply lines are damaged. If you see any impurities, it is best to first filter out the substances using a coffee filter or a piece of cotton cloth.
Get your drinking water to boil and keep it bubbling for at least one minute to make sure the intended results are achieved. At high altitudes, the atmospheric pressure is low, so it takes less heat energy to bring water to a boil. Make sure to boil water for longer at higher altitudes to kill the pathogens.
There are some downsides to boiling though. It consumes significant amounts of energy. It does little to do away heavy metals and chemical contaminants. Some bacteria spores like those of Clostridium may survive the boiling ordeal. It is effectively a method to provide added security against biological contaminants.
This may come to you as a surprise, but you can use the common household bleach to disinfect your water. The unscented household bleach with chlorine compounds can come in handy if you do not have any other means of filtering your drinking water. Avoid using bleaches with added cleaners.
Add 6-8 drops of bleach to every gallon of water. 2 drops for each liter will be enough. Stir well and leave the water for about 30 minutes for the bleach to do its magic. You will notice a slight chlorine odor. Bleaching will kill most bacteria and virus but it is not as effective as boiling. Organic and inorganic impurities remain mostly unaffected by bleaching.
Distillation takes boiling one step further. It does involve boiling so you can rest assured that most of the microorganisms do not survive distillation. Heavy metals like iron and lead as well as nitrates can be eliminated through distillation. Most inorganic compounds and large non-volatile organic molecules also stay with the contaminated water.
Fill a large pot half way full with tap water. Place a glass bowl in the pot and make sure it floats. Turn on the stove and put the lid of the pot upside down. You can place some ice cubes in the inverted lid to create the condensation effect. The steam from the water will rise up the pot and will be condensed because of the cooler lid, and the vapors will collect in your glass bowl.
UV lights and iodine tablets can also be used to disinfect water.
Some Helpful Devices
As you can see all these are temporary and make-do methods to purify water. If you, like most people, do not have time to boil your drinking water every day you need to get your hands on some very effective yet simple water purification devices.
Gravity Fed Filtration System
This filtration system uses gravity and ceramic filter candles to great effect. Two containers constitute the system. You pour tap water in the top filter; it makes way to the bottom container. On its way, it is filtered by the ceramic candles. You can expect a quality gravity fed filter to get rid of most biological pathogens and toxins. Doulton SS-2 Gravity System will work well.
What can be simpler than sucking water from a straw? A well-designed straw filter lets you do just that. Perfect for backpackers the straw filter removes most of the dirt, heavy metals, pesticides, pollutants as well as harmful pathogens. Consider this Straw Purifier.
Countertop Water Filters
You and your family are likely to drink clean and safe water if it is easy to access. Counter top water filters offer this very opportunity. A filter can be installed on a kitchen countertop that is directly connected to a faucet. With single or multiple cartridges that filter out most of the contaminants and impurities, you can expect healthy drinking water in the comfort of your kitchen.
Cleaning your water should not be complicated and time consuming. Boiling and other DIY purification techniques work for the most part but can be less efficient. Getting convenient and inexpensive filters is the way to go, if you want continued supply of clean water for your entire family.