Outdoors, Green Living, Homesteading, Sustainable living, Green Building

Blue Gold: Water Filtration, Purification, Flocculation, Sedimentation, Distillation, Condensation and more

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Lets talk about the bad things in water. All of these things in the list below have acceptable levels. For information on pathogens (bacteria, virus and protozoa) please do research for the area which you intend to visit. This is because there are simply too many. Also with good water treatment, all of them (from any location) will be deactivated, killed or eliminated. Since we are going to do a nuclear attack with residual disinfection, knowing which kind you are dealing with usually is not important at all.

  • Bacteria (Too many kinds here to count, mostly from rotting animal and plant matter or fecal matter and urine)
  • Virus (too many kinds to count)
  • Protozoa (larger than bacteria, kind of like microscopic worms)
  • Poisons (pesticides, herbicides, mining byproducts or products, chemicals)
  • Heavy Metals (lead, mercury etc.)
  • Radioactivity (radon gas, nuclear fallout)
  • Acid/Alkaline (from trees and rocks)
  • Minerals (iron, manganese, calcium)

Someone in live chat ask me what would I possibly do with all this clean water that I would produce. I have to reply that I don’t want chemicals in my garden soil. I don’t want high levels of bacteria or heavy metals fed to my barnyard animals. And my hot tubs, swimming pools or swimming ponds, water gardens and aquaponics, hydroponics and aquaculture use a lot of water.

This will be an article about how to make water more usable (safer form) for animal, plant and human consumption. I say “more usable” because no method purifies water 100% when it comes to the bad things in the above list. Some types of filtration remove some types of bacteria yet not other types. Distillation will get you water that is roughly 99.5% pure on the first run. This percentage may depend on the exact distillation process used. Double distillation will get you closer to 99.9% pure. Water that has been distilled or purified by other means, with no residual disinfectant, can still acquire bacteria and disease in the distribution system or storage system. Reverse Osmosis(RO) will remove near 100% of toxins and heavy metals but may let bacteria through imperfections in the membrane. Also bacteria may somehow get into the product water side. Boiling water kills all bacteria but not some spores (bacteria seeds). Only pressure cooking which will get temps up to 240F(115C) or better kills all life. This is what happens during the canning process. I need to mention that if you “can” water in bottles, packs (retort bags) or cans, residual disinfection is not needed because it is sealed then purified. However boiling or canning does not remove toxins and heavy metals. Filtering removes most toxins and heavy metals. And some forms of filtering remove bacteria and diseases as well. Water in distribution systems or water that is not used immediately after purification must have some form of residual disinfectant such as chlorine or chloramine added to it. Sodium Hypochlorite is house hold bleach and can be used for this purpose as well. My overall point in this is that you can’t completely 100% purify or sanitize or de-poison water. You simply get the bad stuff down to very minimal levels that your body and immune system can deal with or tolerate. Conversely it is good for our bodies to be exposed to some bacteria and disease in small doses because it helps us to build immunity. Immunity means your body can handle lager accidental doses without serious consequences. Point being that 100% clean water or anything could actually be harmful. (Read a book called “In Self Defense” about the immune system).

Its funny to me but water filtration and purification is the same or nearly the same for both production of potable water and treatment of raw sewage (black) water. This gives me an idea. Why not use filtering, concentration and sedimentation methods to make fertilizer from fish ponds. This is also the idea behind aquaponics (aquaculture(fish grown in tanks) and hydroponics).

There are varying scales of methods used when talking about acquiring clean potable water. I show the scales in the list below. In the material in this article any points may be discussing thoughts on any of these levels. Its up to the reader to decide how they apply in their own situation.

  1. Survival water
  2. Camping water
  3. Homestead water for gardens, livestock, aquaculture, aquaponics and hydroponics.
  4. Water for hot tubs, swimming pools/ponds, gold fish ponds and other water gardens
  5. Municipal, industrial, military water

Barriers in water treatment systems are outlined below. Thinking of the system in barriers means being aware of where contamination can get into the water supply.

  • Source Water
    • rain, condensation, dew
    • springs and wells
    • lakes, ponds
    • rivers, streams
    • oceans, seas
  • Processing system
    • flocculation
    • filtration
    • purification
  • Distribution System (storage system)
    • pipes, connectors, valves
    • bottles, tanks, bladders

Water sources can not only become contaminated but can also be designed so that they aid in purification and clarification. For example terrain shape and type of plant life help. Deep water tends to lend to good settling. Terrain where the water runs slowly and circulates aids in clarification. Running water into falls and rapids oxidizes the water which helps with separation of dissolved solids as well as odor and taste removal. Winds and wave action affect turbidity. Certain plants and algae aid in bacterial and disease control. UV(sun light) on flowing water can kill algae and stop pathogens from reproducing. What we are looking at here is ways in which nature purifies water. The cleaner it is going into the processing system the less work, repair and maintenance is needed per given amount of water processed. Filters are not clogged as quickly.

On a side note water that is more turbid (polluted) after processing can be cleaner than clearer water that is processed. The reason for this is that the coagulation and flocculation used for more turbid waters actually make the filtering process work better. One more note on the water source would be that all watershed area at higher elevation above the source that enters the source should be monitored for new pollution or contamination from human activities. This area needs to be regulated as well. Probable sources of this pollution or contamination I’m guessing would be industrial and agricultural or municipal. Keep in mind that anything that changes runoff patterns might also introduce new pollutants via erosion or flooding.

The processing system itself can have contamination or become contaminated. Bacteria and diseases that have been removed or was never present can find their way in or begin to grow and multiply. As we are trying to remove organic pollutants from water we sometimes provide fresh breeding grounds for them. This is why residual (meaning it remains in the water and continues to work) disinfection is almost always necessary. Chlorination would be the main method for residual disinfection. Other chemicals can be used and I list towards the end of this article chemicals used in water processing. Inspecting, testing, repairing, replacing and cleaning help to combat these problems in the system itself.

The distribution and holding system can become damaged or breakdown and then contaminated. Water once cleaned needs to be used quickly or it needs to have residual purification chemicals added. Or it needs to be re-purified again just prior to use. Again the main means of dealing with problems in this area is residual disinfection. And as above inspecting, testing, repairing, replacing and cleaning.

Below is a huge list of topics in water treatment. I tried to place the list items in order of treatment.

  • Pre-treatment
    • Design of water shed
    • Straining or sieving
    • Settling (without flocculation)
  • Flocculation and Settling
  • Filtration and Sieving
    • Centrifugal
    • Slow sand
    • Sand
    • Activated charcoal/carbon
    • Ceramic coloidal silver
    • Reverse osmosis membrane
    • Anthracite (similar to activated charcoal by from a coal product)
    • Coke (cooked coal, works like activated charcoal)
  • Purification
    • chemical
    • UV
    • Ozone
    • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Condensation
  • Airiation (mainly for iron, magnesium and odor/taste control)
    • Bubbling (diffusing through bubbling stones or other means)
    • Falling (through holes in a grate)
    • Paddling (stirring vertically)
  • De-ionization

Pre-treatment is basically any cheap thing that can be done to semi-purify or semi-clarify the water before sending it through your system. This can be in the design of the water source as well, such as man made reservoirs and ponds. Might be use of plants and fish for pre-cleaning. UV, airiation, settling and straining or sieving would be methods of pre-treatment.

Coagulation and Flocculation is where they add some chemical or fine solid such as clay. This adds turbidity to the water so that it almost looks muddy. Very small suspended solids cling to the larger solids which were added. To aid in this clinging process the water is stirred slowly in either a passive manner or an active manner to make it more turbulent (this process is flocculation). Most of the coagulant then settles (precipitates or rains) out in settling tanks to produce sludge on the bottom of the tanks. It also aids filters in filtering by making particles larger which means the filter can block their passage more easily. Water that is flocculated, settled and then filtered is likely to be cleaner than clearer water that is not flocculated and yet filtered. Also coagulation and flocculation remove much of the organic stuff from water such as algae and bacteria etc.

Sieving is merely straining through anything you can come up with such as cloths, metal grates with holes, screens. An example of a sieve might be a kitchen colander, flower sieve, tea leaf strainer or coffee filter. Sieves have a single thin layer and stop up rapidly. You would use a sieve to remove larger debris and particles in water that contains little of this material. Monitoring of the sieve and cleaning routinely or when needed would be necessary.

The subject of filtering is huge. A filter has multiple layers and is thick or deep. Filters are classified based on micron size of particles they will filter out and by the surface area of given types of filter material. Filters stop up sometimes and must bee cleaned, but they do not stop up nearly as quickly as sieves. Filters do block some bacteria etc. Sometimes filters can become breeding grounds for pathogens. Airiation helps filters to grab dissolved solids by separating these solids from water so that the filters can catch them. Types of filters include activated carbon or similar activated materials. Also included are ceramics, reverse osmosis membranes, sand both forced and slow (gravity fed). In filtering, water can be pressurized or gravity flow. They can be up flow or down flow which makes some difference because of how gravity acts on the filter material and debris and particles being filtered. One thing to remember when buying filters is that marketing strategies will advertise what they will filter, they will not tell you what they won’t filter.

Making Charcoal This site has a good design for a charcoal making kiln. Basically you cook wood at 600 to 900 degrees in an oven absent of oxygen. Wood gives off H2O, CO, and H when cooked or heated. CO (Carbon Monoxide) and H (Hydrogen) are combustible but as long as they are in the oven without oxygen they will not ignite. No flames or ash develop. The idea is that the wood in the oven surrounded by gasses other than oxygen will simply turn to a form of carbon, not ash. You may later burn the charcoal with oxygen as a fuel and it will burn hot and then turn to ash. Or you may filter water or alcohol( ethanol) with it.

Making Activated Charcoal This site has good info on making Activated Charcoal. It looks to me that you soak charcoal in calcium chloride or zink chloride for 24 hours. You then wash it with pure water. After this you cook it again in an oven at 215 to 230 degrees for 3 hours. What remains is activated charcoal with a surface area of near 500m2 per gram. Calcium Chloride is commonly used as roadway de-icer.It can be produced directly from limestone, probably by crushing. Another interesting note is that it is used as a dehumidification chemical and in water hardening. Zink Chloride is used in smoke grenades or fireworks. Zink Chloride looks to me to be harder to make at home than Calcium Chloride.

Ceramic filters are made by taking some material such as plastic sponge and saturating it with liquid ceramic or porcelain and then firing it once to dry it on lower heat. Then its fired on higher heat to really solidify it and burn out the sponge material. This sponge can be rice hulls or saw dust or anything that would make it porous after it is fired. I would guess that air must be forced through it during this firing process to push out this sponge matter that is vaporized. Colloidal silver may be added to the liquid ceramic mix to produce a filter that is anti-bacterial as well. Apparently silver is toxic to bacteria, viruses and protozoa. The silver does not leach into the water. There is an organization called “Potters for Peace” that teaches third world communities how to make these filters from cheap locally available materials.

Sand for sand filters needs to be between #17 and #50 sieves (see chart below). Minerox is a web site that sells sieves of varying sizes that you could use to get your correct sand size from any locally available sands. In forced sand filter, the sand is in a bottle or tank and is enclosed, where water is forced under normal pressures through the sand. Slow sand filters are more like pools or ponds. This is layered with larger gavel particles on bottom working upwards with smaller and smaller gravel gradients to the sand layer. Sand should be added with water in the pool so that particle size is evenly distributed in the sand layer. You don’t want size gradients in the sand layer. Water is fed into this pool very slowly by gravity flow. The very top of the sand forms a bacteria which eats away at the other pathogens and organics in the incoming water. Water coming out the bottom of the filter will be 99.9% pure and pathogen or organics free. If done properly this methods is almost as good as distillation. Periodically the top of the sand becomes clogged and must be removed. Gravel and rock can be uses in a similar manner for filtration of sludge from raw sewage. Sometimes these types of filters need to be cleaned with backwashing and scouring. Backwashing is where water is pumped backwards through the filter. Scouring is where the surface of filter is pressure sprayed with water.

Centrifugal filtration is more of a separation which uses inertial forces to separate matter of varying weight and density. This can be used to get sand out of a system that happens to be pumping sand with the water. Sand can damage valves and pipes. This can be as simple as a vertical cylinder that is spun horizontally. This was proposed as a method and I think was used for cleaning up the gulf oil spill in 2010.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtering is where a membrane made of some kind of polymer or cellulose is used at almost the molecular level to allow only water under pressure to pass through it. Membranes are made through various techniques and new methods and types of membranes are being developed all the time. This is a changing technology. In one method hot near molten material is extruded then stretched. The stretching process forms evenly spaced holes which only water may pass through. Another method involves bombarding a membrane material with some kind of radiation. This alters the molecular structure so that holes can be developed. Some kind of reactive agent is passed over the membrane and eats evenly spaced holes in the membrane. One of the agents used in this process is cancer causing and you might see a warning label on your RO filter package because of this. They don’t know how many gallons of water might be needed to wash all of this agent out of the membrane. Except for imperfections in the membrane and imperfections where membranes are connected to the container, they do a perfect job. Small RO filters spiral the membrane in a canister, and probably resemble a rolled up carpet. RO also removes salts and nuclear and biological and chemical contaminants. Military is using RO very successfully to filter contaminated water or sea water at 1000’s of gallons per hour. In reality the RO membrane is more like a sieve than a filter. On the raw water side water is pushed into contact with the RO membrane in which only a percentage of the water passes through the membrane. The rest if flushed out with concentrated contaminants in what is called the reagent stream. This reagent stream is usually sent to house hold black water drains. However depending on what is in it, it might be used as grey water. You could also distill this reagent water. DIY Reverse Osmosis dot com has a systems for home use that produce 50 or 100 gallons per day. They say pressure needs to be roughly 50 to 80 psi. They claim that for every gallon of water you pass through you get half gallon of pure water and half gallon of reagent water. I am guessing it is probably not that good and if that is true then it would have to be at 80psi. The higher the pressure in the RO system the more efficient it is. I think for commercial and military applications the pressures need to be up between 200 to 300 psi to be feasible. To filter sea water you need 600 to 1200 psi.

The industry recognizes that there is a problem in RO filtration where bacteria can build up on the product (clean water side) of the process. This may be because some small amount of certain types of bacteria make it through imperfections in the membrane and where the membranes attach to the housing of the filter body. For this reason I suggest chlorination after RO filtration. I also suggest at the very least a post filtering with activated carbon and colloidal silver ceramic filter. Also note that pre-filtration is needed to lengthen the life of the RO filter and to make that process more efficient. pre-filtration is for prevention of fouling and clogging the RO filter. RO filtration is slow, so a small holding tank for clean water is needed. With all its problems RO filtering is about as close as you can get to the quality of water double distillation will produce. And as slow as it is it is faster than distillation.

Purification by chemicals has its drawbacks, but is necessary none the less. Each type of chemical has its own pro’s and con’s. Some methods develop neurotoxins if done improperly. Disinfection of water requires 4 elements, (time duration of application, concentration, PH, temperature) Chlorination would be the most well known. At the end of this article I list chemicals used in water treatment (research any you intend to use before use.) Iodine is another well known method and has been used by military and everyone in the bush for many many years. Iodine’s only problem is that you can get too much of it. It is bad for pregnant women and very young children. Some people have a medical condition where they can not tolerate it. Water purification tabs are usually iodine based water purification. Though I’m seeing chlorine dioxide tabs now. Walmart sells scented bleach tablets. Pool supplies sell chlorine tabs and powder. Walmart also sells in their camping and hunting section water purification tabs.

UV purification is perfect right? Hardly. If for example you put a bottle of near clear water in the sun for 2 to 6 hours it is purified because of photo deactivation. Meaning the bacteria and disease can’t reproduce. They are made dormant. You can drink the water and your body will finish killing them. But if that bottle of water sits in indirect sunlight something called photo reactivation may occur. This means the live things will go back to reproducing. For this reason you need to use UV purified water immediately or it must be purified again just prior to use.

Ozone may be generated and bubble through water to purify water. I don’t really know much about this type. But I assume its used in combination with other methods.

Boiling water is a well known common method for purification and sterilization. However 212F(100C) will not kill spores which are like bacteria seeds. For this you need canning which is boiling under pressure. Botulism in meats is a well known pathogen that canning kills. The pressure allows the water to heat to above 240F(115C) degrees which will kill all life. Note that heating to 140F(60C) or 160F(71C) will also kill most pathogens. Compost piles achieve temps of 140F(60C) to 160F(71C) through bacterial action which generates heat in the decaying process. Like other purification methods that have no residual disinfection boiled water needs to be used soon after treatment.

Distillation is a well known method for getting survival water. If you have a piece of clear plastic you can place a rock in the middle of it and suspend the corners above a water source. Put a cup just underneath the inverted cone for collection of dripping condensation. This must be implemented using some container or hole with the water in it. A similar method places a bag over a tree limb where the bag is tied off to cause moisture from the tree limb and leaves or needles to condensate and drop to the bottom of the bag. If you leave it on the same limb too long you can kill that limb so its good to move the bag around limb to limb. Survivorman Less Stroud (A TV Series) made a urine still in the sand in a desert using the inverted cone method above. He urinated in the sand around the collection cup.

At the top of this article I have a link to an image of a super simple design for a table still. At I make my gas dot com you can buy a kitchen top still for around $240 that will allow you to home distill water, as well as moonshine and ethanol. In a book called “Fire Fox”, the first in a 12 book series, 3 different methods are shown for moon shine stills. There is no reason you couldn’t use these methods for distillation of water on a larger scale. I have seen table top solar stills for $500, that will distill 3/4 to 1.5 gallons of water per day, for sale on the web. As I said in the beginning of this article distilled water is 99.5% pure and after double distillation is 99.9% pure.

Condensation is where some type of gas is compressed, heat is driven off with fans, and then decompressed in radiator type coils such that in becomes very cold on the surface of the coils. When air is cooled by passing it through the coils or radiator water condenses out of the air. This is because the dew point of the air is changed. Air can only hold so much evaporated water which is the dew point. This dew point is based on the temperature of the air. So cooling the air is like squeezing a sponge or ringing a cloth. Its literally rain making. You can get condensers that produce clean drinking water from Eco Blue. Other side benefits of this process is “cooler air with air conditioning” and “dehumidification”. Condensation water from a/c units, refrigeration and freezing units is considered to be grey water, but not pure water. If you were to collect water from these sources the water would need to be further filtered and purified before use.

Airiation is adding of oxygen to water through bubbling action, falling action or stirring/whipping action. Adding air to water causes dissolved solids to separate from water so that they may be easily filtered. Airiation also improves taste and odor. Its good for removing iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide. This is why you smell stink when passing water treatment facilities. And some wells contain hydrogen sulfide. Airiation can be accomplished with a number of methods. One is forcing air through air stones which disperse the air as small bubbles. Another is letting air fall through a series of colanders. These are flat not spherical. Gravel is a few inches deep in the colander. A few inches of head (depth) is maintained to evenly distribute the water over the whole surface of the colander. In a closed system air can be forced upward through the colanders to cause airiation as well. Forcing air through the falling water with fans from the sides also helps in the airiation process. The water must fall a couple of feet between colanders. Another method uses a paddle wheel to stir and whip water which also causes falling water. Yet another method uses spraying or fountain water. Airiation or Carbon filtering removes radon gas from water.

De-ionization is something I don’t know much about yet. But it removes some minerals from the water. Similar to a de-ionizing air filters i guess.

Related topics.

  • Water Softening
  • Measuring and Adjusting PH
  • Measuring Particulate Matter (turbidity)
  • Testing for heavy metals, salts, minerals and toxins

Water is also produced from hydrogen fuel cells as a byproduct. Water is the exhaust from the burning of hydrogen as a fuel. The US military is working on a method of getting water from diesel fuel exhaust systems.

  • Water Pumping
  • Water Transporting
    • Tank Trucks
    • Tank Trailers

I could write a whole other post on pumps and pumping. I have some illustrations on my blog post Home water production which show how hand operated pumps work. Search you tube and you will find some good examples of simple hand operated pumps as well. PVC Check valves can be bought for a dollar or two to put inline in your PVC piping system. RV dealers sell 12 volt pumps that give you 35 psi for a little less than $100 as of this writing. The only 120 volt pumps I have come in contact with were submersible pumps and piston pumps. How about setting up a ram pump near a remote water supply to fill a tank. Then you can draw via gravity water from it into your mobile hauling tank? Maybe I’ll have more to write about pumps later.

On hauling water I am a only talking about the small scale. I had a friend who used to live in Oklahoma and the community where he lived shared a 500 gallon bumper pull water tank for hauling water from a local source, then dumped it into their water wells. Who knows, you may produce so much water after reading my article and implementing these principles that you are able to give water away by hauling it or instruction others how to come get it. I think hauling water can be either in jugs, barrels or tanks on this small scale. Typical over the road tanker trucks haul around 7000 gallons. For $1500 to $2000 as of this writing you could have that quantity of water tanked from almost anywhere in America to your location. I have thought about living in a desert where I would own my own large tanker. I’d run somewhere within farm distance of 150 miles to get water and bring it back to my desert location. I could either use it directly from the tanker or move it to cisterns and other holding tanks.

I want to talk about hauling water in typical sizes of smaller trucks and trailers. Just going by manufacturer specs 1/4 ton, 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton, 1 ton, 1.5 ton, 2.5 ton and 5 ton. Ton means 2000lbs hauling capacity. Small flat bed trailers come in all sizes. For example a 16 foot twin axle trailer would haul about 6000 lbs which is 3 tons. If you were to haul in a pickup bed you would need to find tanks that fit in the bed. Larger tanks would fit on trailers easier. In both cases find good ways to strap these down. I’d suggest ratcheting nylon straps. Though I suppose ropes and chains would work but know what your doing. Water is heavy. It weighs about 8.34 lbs per gallon. A 5 gallon container or bucket then weighs 41.7lbs. A 50 gallon drum weighs 417lbs. A 500 gallon tank weighs 4170lbs or 2 tons.

1/4 ton truck would haul 50 gallons.
1/2 ton truck would haul almost 125 gallons.
3/4 ton truck would haul 200 gallons.
1 ton truck would haul 250 gallons.
1.5 ton truck would haul 325 gallons.
2 ton truck would haul 500 gallons.
2.5 ton truck would haul 650 gallons.
5 ton dump would haul 1300 gallons.

With the above list I am talking about hauling in or on their bed. In addition trucks can also tow so much weight. This depends on the tow package or tow upgrades. The bumper hitch might need to be upgraded to support the proper tow weight. A transmission oil cooler might need to be added. Trailer break control might also need to be added. At any rate its a matter of matching the trailer, tank and tow weight to vehicle tow capacity. My 1992 3/4 ton Chevy Van will tow 6000 to 8000 lbs. It has a Chevy 350 V8 in it. I probably wouldn’t risk towing more than 3 tons of water with it. When towing water you must realize that especially in larger open tanks it will slosh. Side to side means it might turn over easily if you are not careful. Forward to back means it can actually push you through intersections and/or into other vehicles. When towing water slow down and make every move slow and deliberate. Be careful on curves and take them at 15 miles per hour slower than the posted speed limit. I’m a trucker so trust me I know. They say going too fast for a curve is like a blind man walking near a cliff. Once he steps off its too late to recover. Once you begin a roll over in a curve you will not work your way back up. Its simply too late then.

A millimeter is 1/1000th of a meter.
A micron(micrometer) is 1/1000th of a millimeter(MM).
A nanometer(nm) is 1/1000th of a micron.

Cheese Cloth (as a filter or sieve)

Grade Vertical × horizontal

threads per inch

#10 20 × 12 1400×700 microns maybe? Just for comparison.

#40 24 × 20

#50 28 × 24

#60 32 × 28

#90 44 × 36

Coffee filter
10 to 15 micron filter
Activated Carbon Filter
0.5 to 50 microns or larger

Ceramic filters
0.3 to 1.4 microns or larger will not filter viruses but will kill viruses if silver is added.
Sand Filter
Used for filtering particles of less than 100 microns in size. Sand grains are from 300 to 1200 microns in size.
Particle filtartion
1 micron or larger
Membrane filtration 50nm or larger.
Membrane filtering for macromolecular 3 nm or larger solutions. Used in blood dialysis.
membrane filtration 1nm or larger
This is RO membrane filtration. 0.1 nm or larger

A human hair ranges between 17 and 170 microns. So you see #80 to #400 sieves has human hair size openings.

Types of chemicals used in water treatment

  • Coagulants or Flocculants(Settling)
    • Ferrous Sulfate
    • Aluminum Sulfate (filter alum)
    • Sodium Silicate (activated silica)
    • Sodium Aluminate
    • Ferric Sulfate
    • Liquid Ferric Chloride
    • lime
    • cement (activated lime and clay)
    • quick lime
    • clay (Bentonite)
  • Disinfection (killing bacteria and spores)
    • Calcium Hypochlorite (Hypochlorites)
    • Chlorine
    • Chloramine (chlorine and ammonia)
    • Chlorine Dioxide
    • Ammonium Sulfate
    • Sodium Chlorite
    • Iodine
  • Taste and Odor Control
    • Powdered or Granulated Activated Carbon (baked Charcoal)
    • Sodium Metalbisulfate
    • Copper Sulfate
    • Potassium Permanganate
    • Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda)? Wonder if this works?
  • Water Softening
    • Sodium Chloride (salt)
    • Sodium Carbonate (soda ash)
    • Calcium Hydroxide (hydrated lime)
    • Calcium Oxide (quick lime)
  • Corrosion ( PH control)
    • Caustic Soda (lye which is sodium or potassium hydroxide)
    • Sodium Herametaphosphate
    • Sodium Tripolyphosphate
  • Prophylaxis (Disease prevention i.e fluoride)
    • Sodium Fluoride
    • Sodium silicofluoride
    • Fluocilicacid
Mesh inches mm Microns
1 in. 1.00 25.4 25400
7/8 in. 0.875 22.6 22600
3/4 in. 0.750 19.0 19000
5/8 in. 0.625 16.0 16000
0.530 in. 0.530 13.5 13500
1/2 in. 0.500 12.7 12700
7/16 in. 0.438 11.2 11200
3/8 in. 0.375 9.51 9510
5/16 in. 0.312 8.00 8000
0.265 in. 0.265 6.73 6730
1/4 in. 0.250 6.35 6350
No.3 1/2 0.223 5.66 5660
No. 4 0.187 4.76 4760
No. 5 0.157 4.00 4000
No. 6 0.132 3.36 3360
No. 7 0.111 2.83 2830
No. 8 0.0937 2.38 2380
No. 10 0.0787 2.00 2000
No. 12 0.0661 1.68 1680
No. 14 0.0555 1.41 1410
No. 16 0.0469 1.19 1190
No. 18 0.0394 1.00 1000
No. 20 0.0331 0.841 841
No. 25 0.0278 0.707 707
No. 30 0.0234 0.595 595
No. 35 0.0197 0.500 500
No. 40 0.0165 0.420 420
No. 45 0.0139 0.354 354
No. 50 0.0117 0.297 297
No. 60 0.0098 0.250 250
No. 70 0.0083 0.210 210
No. 80 0.0070 0.177 177
No. 100 0.0059 0.149 149
No. 120 0.0049 0.125 125
No. 140 0.0041 0.105 105
No. 170 0.0035 0.088 88
No. 200 0.0029 0.074 74
No. 230 0.0025 0.063 63
No. 270 0.0021 0.053 53
No. 325 0.0017 0.044 44
No. 400 0.0015 0.037 37
Larger sieve openings (1 in. to 1/4 in.) have been designated by a sieve “mesh” size that corresponds to the size of the opening in inches.  Smaller sieve “mesh” sizes of 3 1/2 to 400 are designated by the number of openings per linear inch in the sieve.

APN Water Treatment pdf
APN Water Purification pdf
APN Slow Sand Filters pdf
World Health Organization Water Treatment PDF

Army/Air Force FM for Water Treatment

EPA Water Born Illness document
Texas Document


12 responses

  1. Pingback: Home Water Production « Larry D Gray

  2. http://www.berkeyshop.com/

    A berkey water filter sales site, with wise food storage products as well.

    November 27, 2011 at 10:03 am

  3. I wonder if there is a water purification method where electrolysis is used to separate hydrogen from oxygen which floats out of the impure water to be piped somewhere else then burned(which then produces pure water as exhaust in return) A side benefit of this would be heat production. Drawback is huge electrical demand or cost. A micro hydro site would be perfect for this type of water purification.

    November 27, 2011 at 10:45 am

    • Of course this might be highly inefficient compared to distillation, I was just bringing it up as a point of conversation

      November 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm

  4. http://pluspool.org/ A pool where the pool walls filter river water as it floats around in a river.

    December 31, 2011 at 12:14 am

  5. http://benefitofcolloidalsilver.org/

    I have not read this, and I don’t know how good the info is. Looks good though

    February 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm

  6. Grapefruitseed extract can be used to keep water fresh one drop per gallon. GSE in higher concentrations can be used as an alternative to chlorine or iodine. I got a 1 qt. bottle (33% Citricidal) from NutriBiotic, Lakeport, CA 95453

    February 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm

  7. Pingback: Survival Camping Arkansas and Area « Larry D Gray

  8. http://www.twinoaksforge.com/BLADSMITHING/MAKING%20CHARCOAL.htm

    How to make Charcoal and


    How to make Activated Charcoal.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm

  9. http:/www.safecastle.com sells eco blue dehumidifiers that produce clean drinking water from the air.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:48 am

  10. http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/ijsle/article/download/4244/4344

    This study suggest that table salt can be used as a chemical activator for making activated carbon, NaCl a far cheaper solution than CaCl or ZiCl.

    October 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm

  11. http://www.charcoalremedies.com/science

    An interesting read about charcoal. Apparently charcoal has surface area of something less than 500m2, yet if activated it can exceed that up to 1200 or 1400 or more m2. 3.5 grams of activated carbon has the surface area of a foot ball field. Activated carbon adsorbs, not absorbs. Meaning things cling to it rather than go inside it internally. The things we filter basically stick to this surface area.

    October 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm

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