Drink Safely: Build a Water Filter

When you go camping, get lost in the woods and out of water, you need to improvise your own water system to relieve your thirst. In the forest, look for the probable places where you could find sources of water. When you finally find one, make your own filtration system to purify your collected water to ensure your safety.

survivalPhoto source:  http://trillium-woods.blogspot.com

Water is abundant. However, drinkable water is the problem because when you are in an unknown environment, the water you have collected needs to undergo a series of purifying techniques first before you could drink it as it might contain harmful organisms that are not good for your body. There are different ways on how people filter and purify the water – it could be physically, chemically or biologically, depending on how will it be used.

Physical filtration is simply separating solid particles from the liquid content. One known method is through sand filtration. There are different types of sand that may vary in sizes – starting form the biggest granule to the smallest – put into layers overlapping one another and allowing the particles of water to be filtrated evenly. Chemical filtration involves using chemicals according to what time of purification needed. One known method is ionization/alkalization where water undergoes electrolysis which will result into water with less acidity. Biological filtration can be done through aerobic or anaerobic processes. Learn more about filtration techniques.

And since you cannot just simply do chemical or biological filtration, we are left with physical filtration in which, luckily, the materials needed could be seen anywhere in the environment. Here are some of the steps:

Look for the materials

They could be found anywhere or some are the things you are bringing or you are currently using. For the purification materials, you’ll need charcoal, pebbles, sand, alum, a cloth, two containers and a cutter or a knife.

Pre-filtration process

Naturally, water may contain sediments and we don’t want to drink that. In order to remove these sediments, get the alum and wrap it in a cloth. Submerge it in the container of water for at least five hours. This will help you pre-filter water’s heavy sediments.

Filtration process

Since you have two containers, one is used as a basin for the filtered water while the other is for the container holding all the filters. It is better that this container has a pointy end to avoid spillage in the filtration process. You could use the upper half portion of your one liter bottle of water container and put it into an inverted pyramid style where the upper portion is wide open and the lower portion is a narrowed end where you could reuse the bottle cap to open and close this filtration system.

When you’re done, start making layers of the filters you enumerated above according to size, bigger at the top to finer filters at the bottom. Start with the charcoal, then pebbles and lastly, the sand. The height of each layer depends on how big is your filtration container and how much water you need.

Tie a cloth at the narrowed end (where the bottle cap is attached). Make sure that this cloth is strong and finer enough to hold the sand you are using because we don’t want to drink our water with sand particles.

survivalactivityPhoto source: http://all-about-water-filters.com

Once you are done making this setup, pour the water at the opening part of your inverted bottle where it will first undergo its filtration on the charcoal layer then to the cloth. It will take 30-45 minutes for the water to pass through the filters and then to the container.

This setup is good for one person consumer only. So if you want to make more, you could adjust the sizes of containers and collect more filters. You could also collect a variety of filters as long as you follow the ‘biggest to smallest’ rule. And before you put everything on the filtration container, wash all the filters first. If you do not trust the filtration system you are making, you could also boil the water afterwards to ensure further safety.

This setup is reusable and can last up to three months. You are not only helping yourself but you are also doing Mother Earth a favor of using her resources in a smart way.

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