Water Treatment Process

“Water, water all over and not a drop to drink,” as the old stating goes. A more apt statement for these times might be, “water, water all over, but is it safe to consume?” And if it’s not, exactly what is a reliable water purification process?

Regretfully, in this day and age there are couple of, if any, places where the water is safe to drink without dealing with, no matter how excellent and welcoming it could look.

Water in the wild typically includes unsafe microbes, germs and parasites that can trigger a variety of disorders, such as giardia, dysentery, hepatitis, and hookworms. Luckily, however, we’re going to find out a few simple ways ways to cleanse water to make it safe for consumption.

The most basic approach to cleanse water is probably boiling.

You should bring the water to a full, rolling boil for a minimum of five minutes to be safe, with some professionals suggesting an even longer time. The disadvantage to boiling your drinking water is that it removes the oxygen and the water ends up tasting flat. You can enhance its quality by putting it backward and forward in between two containers to put oxygen back in, or merely shake it up.

There are also numerous chemical purifiers on the market. Iodine comes in either liquid kind, (which can be messy), or tablet form.

One to two drops or tablets will clear up a quart of water. Shake your canteen or container and wait twenty minutes before drinking. Water treated with iodine will have a darker color and a bit of an undesirable taste.

It is possible to mask this taste by extraing a powdered drink mix, however be sure to wait the twenty minutes before including it, as it will disrupt the iodine’s effectiveness.

Various other chemical treatments to cleanse water that work likewise to iodine are chlorine tablets, potassium permanganate, or halazone tablets. You should be able to select these up fairly cheaply at most outdoor stores.

You can even extra a couple of drops of bleach in a pinch, though I would not advise overusing this one. When using chemical purification to make sure all surfaces have actually been decontaminated, it is vital.

After waiting the twenty minutes, a little unscrew the lid of your water bottle or container and rinse around the threads and lid. The nice aspect of using tablets is the container is really small and mobile and can be slipped into a pocket, a plus if you do not want to hold a stove or pot, or make the effort to boil water. Chemical therapy can be done on the hoof with minimal stopping time.

Many work by pushing the water through a ceramic or charcoal filter and then chemically treating it. Typically, they have one hose with a float that goes from the water source to the filter and a 2nd hose, for clean water, that goes from filter to water bottle. Commercial filters are also great for when the water is on the murky or grimy side, as they will remove this.

Past these usual approaches, there are more primitive strategies for the severe survivalists (or the unfortunate individual who was caught not really prepared).

Keep rinsing the water repeatedly with the sand until it is looking clear. A variation of this is to dig a hole near where the source is and make use of the water that filters through into the hole.

Distilling is a technique that can be used for either collecting water or event fresh water out of seawater.

To collect water from the ground, dig a deep hole and place a gathering container or water bottle in the center.

Cover the hole with a clear sheet of plastic. The plastic has to be weighted in the center with a rock or heavy things so that it points down into the container.

Then, secure the sides of the plastic securely around the hole, such as by covering with dirt. The clear plastic acts like a greenhouse. The water in the soil evaporates as it heats up. When it strikes the plastic it runs down to the point and trickles off into the container. You can distill it by placing a little pot inside a larger pot if all you have is salt water. The salty water enters the bigger pot however not the smaller one.

Invert a lid over the pots that will point down into the smaller pot, then bring the water to a boil. As the water boils, fresh water will evaporate, trickle and strike the lid down into the smaller sized pot, leaving the salt, or other individual minerals behind.

If you do not have a smaller sized pot is to put a fabric over the pot the will absorb the steam, an option. When removing it to wring it out so you do not get burned, Use caution.

For an additional primitive approach of how you can purify water, see our article on Boiling Water with Stones.

Above all, be cautious and make use of common sense when picking where to gather your water.

Do the plants surrounding it look healthy?

Exist dead animals near by that might have infected it?

Don’t gather any water that looks stagnant. Usually, water that is more upstream will be cleaner than that downstream, however there are no assurances.

Do not immediately choose the fasting hurrying water, as fast water carries more sediment. You can prevent picking up a great deal of sediment by making sure you soak your water bottle completely under the water. This will prevent all the dirt and debris that floats on the surface.

With a lot of methods to purify water, there should be something for everybody and no need to ever take possibilities consuming neglected water.

There are die-hards out there who will say that the risk is small and not worth bothering with. A nasty case of beaver fever in the back country can be not only awkward, however life threatening.

Diarrhea and throwing up can trigger severe dehydration and sap your strength to the point that you can get yourself to security.

What Is Water Conditioning?

Water conditioning is defined as a means to strain out impurities from a water source.  In order to shed some light on the subject of water conditioning in a household setting I have provided the following comparison of commonly used terms on this subject.

Water Conditioning as it pertains to household use can be broken down in two types:  Water Softening and Water Purification.

Water Softening is the practice of removing Totally Dissolved Solids (TDS) from the water in a process called ion exchange.   The ion exchange process percolates water through bead-like spherical resin materials called ion-exchange resin. Ions in the water are exchanged for other ions that are fixed to the beads in an exchange. The softeners contain beads that exchange two sodium or potassium ions for every calcium or magnesium ion removed from the “softened” water.  The TDS in water causes many problems in a household.  They are harmful to your plumbing and appliances, uncomfortable to you skin and hair, and leave a mess wherever water is present.

Hard water is the most common water problem in the Tampa Bay Area. Most of our water comes from the Florida Aquifer where it is exposed to the minerals that make our water hard.  The most common hardness causing minerals in our water supply are Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium.

Calcium deposits are very evident in the shower, on your glassware, and at your kitchen sink and are commonly referred to as soap scum and water spots.

These particles are also left behind in your dishwasher, hot water heater and the plumbing throughout your home. While they are not as obvious they still cause problems and decrease the life span of the appliances.

Hard water also has an adverse effect on your laundry. The particles essentially beat up your clothes and towels leaving them dingy and rugged looking.

Probably the most noticeable difference between hard water and soft water is with your hair and skin. Removing the hard water particles allows your soap and shampoo to lather properly and provide your skin and hair with a much cleaner feeling.

There are two methods of Ion Exchange for a household

Automatic Water Conditioners:  While there are many different brands of automatic water softeners that vary in price and reliability, they all basically go through the same process.  A typical water softener is an appliance that requires water, electricity and salt to perform the regeneration process. When operating properly the softener backwashes the resin, doses it in salt, then rinses out the salt before putting the system back into service. The problem with automatic water conditioners is that the valves, motors and other components necessary to perform this operation are subject to the water, salt, electricity and the harsh Florida sun. This is not a good combination for any appliance.

Portable Exchange Service, which is what we do at Blair Water Conditioning, is a service whereby we simply show up every four weeks and exchange your tank(s) with a fresh tank(s) packed with clean regenerated resin. The regeneration process explained above takes place back at our plant in Oldsmar.  Some of the benefits of our system vs. and automatic system are as follows:

  • No equipment to buy/finance
  • No SALT to add
  • No electricity needed
  • No Salt Water discharge on your property
  • Saves about 10,000 water per year
  • No mechanical parts to breakdown
  • No timers to set
  • Minimal space required


Water Purification is the next step beyond water softening in a household environment.  It is typically not necessary or recommended to purify your water for an entire household.  The reason for this is that purifying water removes chlorine that does serve an important disinfecting purpose throughout the pipes and fixtures in your home.  Purified water, however, is highly recommended for drinking and cooking.  There are several ways to purify water and the two most common are Carbon Absorption and Reverse Osmosis

Carbon absorption is a widely used method of home water filter treatment because of its ability to improve water by removing disagreeable tastes and odors, including objectionable chlorine. Activated carbon effectively removes many chemicals and gases, and in some cases it can be effective against microorganisms.  Carbon absorption is the process used in filters within your refrigerator, for ice cubes and cold drinking water, and in pitcher type filters.

Reverse osmosis (RO) is the most economical method of removing up to 99% of all contaminants. The pore structure of R/O membranes is much tighter than UF membranes. R/O membranes are capable of removing nearly all particles, bacteria and organics.  R/O’s are used by nearly all bottled water companies.  Because it takes nearly 3 gallons of water in order to produce 1 gallon of purified drinking water, it is not practical, or necessary to treat all the water within your household with an R/O filter.  R/O membranes are very restrictive to water flow therefore they typically require a storage tank in order to provide water when needed.  These systems are typically located under the kitchen sink and provide water to separate room temperature tap as well as the refrigerator.