I can't decide what to do about water.

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Hello everyone

I live in a city and am close to a river (polluted of course). I am going to have about 150 gallons of water by the end of the year stored up. I am worried that if TSHTF we won't have clean water for months. My husband is balking at all the money I am spending that we don't have and does not want me to invest in a good quality water filter, thinking it is not going to be necessary. He's been pretty good about everything else, but just thinks it won't last that long. I am still tormented about whether to get a Berkefeld Water Filter, or is there a cheaper way I can clean water. I have a solar oven that will pasteurize some, and if I get some clean sand and coffee filters, plus maybe charcoal would that be enough? I can't find dry moss here in the city. Would sand and charcoal do the trick? In winter I would not even be able to use the solar oven. I have family that I love dearly who are all preparing, but ONLY TO A POINT. Your input would be most helpful. Thank you all, as always.

-- citygirl (citygirl@idirect.com), July 23, 1999


As a former city girl, I can relate! We moved OUT of the city, first. But, barring that, water is likely to be one of your big challenges. Read some of the old threads on water in the archives. There you will learn about the inexpensive SOLAR STILL :


This should get you started in the right direction. I have to wonder if you wouldn't be wise to invest in the Big Berkey, though, if you can convince your partner. We feel more comfortable, since it arrived. Water is the #1 issue, IMHO.

Good luck.

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), July 23, 1999.

Roof + Downspout + Barrel + Rain = Water.

See Basic Survival Rainwater Filter System. This shows you how to make a good rainwater filter using a couple of plastic buckets.

For activated carbon, see

The Aquarium Store

Global Aquarium

Forexeau, Inc.

Let's see: 2, 5-gallon buckets, @ $2.67 each at Walmart (today), plus about $30 for activated carbon, plus a few bucks for tubes, etc, and you have yourself a good rainwater filter.

If it doesn't rain -- or if you live in a cold climate (think snow) -- you could take the river water, coarse filter it (coffee filters), add bleach (maybe 10 drops per gallon) until the bleach odor is noticeable, and let it sit for a day or so Then run it through the rainwater filter. The activated carbon will get rid of excess chlorine and the combination will do a good job on most contaminents.

-- de (delewis@Xinetone.net), July 23, 1999.


Forexeau, Inc.

-- de (ewlewis@Xinetone.net), July 23, 1999.

Good advice. At the least get several bottles/jugs of bleach (as referenced above). Its cheap, can disinfect loads of water (can filter out debris/mud to some extent with cloth or other items), and is a great fall back tool if nothing else works. You might try to befriend someone who has a well and handpump- theres some homeowners that do even in large cities --- 150 gallons wont go to far if it gets really bad.

Keep researching --- somewhere theres the right combination of methods that will fit you situation, no matter how little you can spend.

-- Jon Johnson (narnia4@usa.net), July 23, 1999.

citygirl; Hello, it seems your in an apartment ? ? You also have a dilema with storing water,and your husband is concerned. That parts good, has he figured out what he will be drinking if all this happens ??? Beer will be nonexistant,same with Pepsi/Coke/Bottled water.etc... So it seems your doing just fine... I didn't read if your in an apartment but try and use one room for your stuff and water storage. At least keep out of the sun rays so it doesn't build up heat. I have suggested to my daughters to get waterbeds and use those for water storage, build a platform with blocks and plywood one on top of eachother. Use the drain attachment from the waterbed for getting water,for cooking and bathing. By getting a good whole house filter from Home Deopt for $29.00 you can let your husband drink also... Hope this will help your situation... Furie...

-- Furie (furieart@dnet.net), July 23, 1999.

Thank you all so much. Actually I live in a house and have just obtained a rain barrel, so the filter system described above would certainly work and I am going to get those supplies. Thank you for the links. However we don't get enough rain to keep us going so I will end up using the river water if it is really prolonged. The site for the activited carbon says it is suitable for stream water. Also our river will be less polluted in winter.

You are so kind, and a gold mine of information. God bless you all.

-- citygirl (citigirl@idirect.com), July 23, 1999.

Please consider drilling a well. It may cost a thousand dollars, but it's the only surefire way to have clean water in this country. If you live next to a river, the water table won't be deep. If you're strapped for funds, you could even leave it open and draw water from a well bucket (Lehmans.com sells them for wells as small as 4".) Food, seeds, blankets; nope, NOTHING is more important than water.

-- Dog Gone (layinglow@rollover.now), July 24, 1999.

I picked up a couple of Survival Straws that you may be interested in with your situation. They are good for 5000 gallons. Check them out at:


I paid 15 bucks apeace about 6 months ago... Quite an item.


-- Bertin Opus (third@hotmail.com), July 24, 1999.


Those straws look like a miracle. I was also pondering this question of last resort water--there's a river near where I will be. This looks UNBELIEVABLE. Thanks so much. Omly so much storage room for all this!!!

-- Mara Wayne (MaraWAyne@aol.com), July 24, 1999.


This sounds so fascinating, but I can't connect on that address. Is there another way to find out about these?

-- citygirl (citygirl@idirect.com), July 24, 1999.

I found another address, but the price is higher. These are worth the 30 bucks.



-- Bertin Opus (third@hotmail.com), July 24, 1999.

I saved and did without to get a Berkefeld water filter, but then found this site www.pwgazette.com that uses the 'Doulton Filter' (same as Berkefeld filters), you just buy the 'ceramic filter' and the filter tubing for gravity feed for a really low price, and it is a filter/siphon to clean your water for under $50.00!

Style A: Price: $6 plus the price of the filter cartridge selected. This simple filter consists of a length of 1/4" plastic filter tubing and a Jaco fitting that attaches the tubing to the threads of a candle-style filter cartridge.The end result (in case the explanation was too technical) is a filter cartridge with a piece of plastic tubing hooked to it. Not a lot of excess parts. The total cost of a siphon filter with a Doulton Super Sterasyl cartridge capable of processing pond water for drinking is $36 for the cartridge and $6 for the tubing assembly for a total of $42. If you get it with an all-carbon CeramiKX cartridge, also a very worthy water filter but not as easy to operate as the ceramic candles, the price is $25.

Guilt free water filter! Good Luck!

-- Sammie (sammie0X@hotmail.com), July 24, 1999.

I recently discovered a company that makes a inexpensive drip down water filter called the "mission filter." It's been demonstrated on the "700 Club". It will do up to 1800 gallons on a set of filters and is only $49.95. Although I have 2 katadyns, in my paranoia I'm buying two of these. The way my neighborhood is preparing I'll be filtering water for the whole block.

Read more about them @ www.eaglespring.com

-- bookworm (bookworm_2@hotmail.com), July 24, 1999.

Re: the straws mentioned above. Not to put any dampers on these, but it seems that I recall reading somewhere that they are not the most reliable type of filter. I wish I could cite a reference about that. It may have been in _The Drinking Water Book_ by Ingram, although that had more to do with choosing a filter for a home given 'normal' circumstances, so perhaps it was on the internet. Just cautioning to consider looking around for info about them.

I, too, have been struggling with the water issue. I had planned for our creek and our spring to be our 'storage' area, although others have suggested storing some in containers anyway. No cheapie 55 gallon barrels available around here... We should have stove top burners for a time, so boiling is one method. But no guarantees about how long the LP will last, etc. So also want other alternatives. I will be picking up some bleach (yuck) to have on hand. I really do want to get a good water filter or 2 as well.

About the cost. Yeah, they're expensive. I don't have the money to get them at this point. And, up to this point I've only gotten things that I will use whether or not there are problems relating to Y2K. If somehow we manage to avoid these problems, here I am with a water filter I will probably never use. Of course, if there _is_ a problem, and I don't have one, then that's a bigger problem. Even though I haven't bought one yet, and even though I haven't completely decided on the type (berkey, katadyne, pur, msr... or even the type of filter mentioned a few posts above that are the same type used in the berkey only less expensive [but they are _SIPHON_ type...]), what I have done to justify the purchase is the insurance analogy. If you look at it like a one time purchase-- expensive. If you look at it like an insurance premium that could save your life-- cheap.

I believe somewhere, too, in my ever increasing accumulation of print outs from the web that I have some examples of how to build homemade filters and solar pastuerizers and ... Not than I can imagine myself doing that, but one never knows.

A few other comments/thoughts. The waterbed. Do you remember if you put some little tabs in it when you filled it? Then you might want to avoid using it for cooking as mentioned in an above post. I know no one suggested using it for drinking, but in case someone was thinking about that, -don't-. Use it for washing up or for flushing if you're going that route. My own water bed is one of those with tubes instead of a big bag. I know there was a chemical addeded when I filled it. I'm not sure whether we'll use it as a reserve for anything at this point. Am guessing it will freeze, though, if nothing done.

Bleach - recently read on this forum that bleach loses it's effectiness over time, but don't remember seeing the details like whether it happens just sitting on a shelf or more after it is opened. Nor do I recall how quickly it degrades. Anyone?

I plan to fill the tub and washer as well as extra pots and pans on New year's eve, not that that will help much long term. Mostly writing about that because of something I read on the classic forum (What will you be doing at midnight on NY eve? type title). One person there reminded people that not everything will go down at the stroke midnight. Some other optimist (kidding) then went on to mention that, "Isn't the power grid on GMT time?" Implication being that if we lose power at the rollover, it will be when it rolls over at GMT. I already don't have enough time to get things done. ! ;-)

"Where can I buy some powdered instant water?" (bad joke)

-- winter wondering (winterwondering@yahoo.com), July 24, 1999.

If you can't find 55 gallon barrels, try my idea and use garbage cans. They are not cheap, but you can find some less expensive ones at wholesale clubs and they ARE useful after the fact for lawn waste, garbage, and other storage. I plan to have 300 gallons stored in these cans for five people...enough to get us 60 days in a pinch. I will be treating the water with bleach, and when (I mean IF) I need it will be boiling, aerating, and charcoal filtering it. Should it appear that the situation goes longer I will have 60 days to fashion a rain water collection unit, trudge water up from a stream, or raid the in-laws swimming pool.

May God watch over everyone and spare us this tribulation through His mercy.

-- Copycat (dobbie@coastalnet.com), July 24, 1999.

First, I recommend that you use your 150 gallons of water for nothing other than drinking and cooking. Use the rainwater for washing, etc.

Second, if you can't afford a Big Berkey make one for yourself. Buy two Big Berkey filter candles and two 5-gallon plastic buckets that can nest on top of each other. Drill two holes on the bottom of one bucket so that water drips gravity fed into the bottom bucket.

You can purchase the Big Berkey filter candles at:


You won't have a spigot unless you buy one and drill a hole in the bottom bucket. But you will have a method to produce clean, safe water.

-- walt (longyear@shentel.net), July 25, 1999.

Go for the store-bought Berkey, or roll your own.

If you can supply 20 or 30 gallons of water a day, you've got a terrific barter medium. Your neighbors bring a container of unfiltered water, a clean container, and X. You return the filtered water, both containers, and keep X.

X can be 1 pint of their water that you retain, or a can of food, or roll of toilet paper. By collecting your fee in water, you don't have to go to the river.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), July 26, 1999.

Real Goods has this hand-pump filter that looks interesting. I was thinking of ordering a couple. Anybody have any experience with this type of filter?

http://www.realgoods.com/cgi-bin/reframe.pl?search=/products/water/46- 233.html

Healthy, Clean Drinking Water- No Matter What

Clean, healthy drinking water. Will you be able to access it when a natural disaster strikes? Often the first warning issued by local municipalities is concerning the safety of the water supply; with this Ceramic Water Filter you can relax because your water will be filtered to an absolute 0.5-micron level. It meets EPA standards for elimination of bacteria and Protozoa, including Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E Coli, Vibrio Cholera, Shigella, Salmonella typhi, and Klebsiella terigina. It will supply you with approximately 500 gallons of filtered water, making it perfect for camping trips too. With its easy to use and simply designed pump, you can filter one ounce of water with each pull of the pump. And at only 8 ounces, it's extremely lightweight. Includes clip for attachment to water carrier. Great Britain.

46-233 Ceramic Filter Pump - $25.00

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), July 26, 1999.


If you have a bottling company in your area, you should be able to buy used 55 gal drums from them. I got mine from a local Pepsi bottler. After rinsing them thourghly, I cleaned them by pouring approx 1/2 gal bleach and some dish detergent in them and let them sit for about a week. I rinsed them at least twice more to eliminate any residual bleach.Before I fill them, I plan to repeat this process.

-- (Southeastern@my_deja.com), July 27, 1999.

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