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Emergency water treatment system needed!
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Seth Ayotte
(sethayot) - F

Locale: Western Oregon
Emergency water treatment system needed! on 03/22/2009 17:06:07 MDT Print View

Hey All,

I am currently travelling in Patagonia and have unfourtunately run out of Aquamira, which I have been using for water treatment until now (goddarn leaky part A bottle!). Up in the high mountains here the water is by and large much safer to drink than in the US, but my main problem is that I am doing a lot of fishing and often camping down low on large river systems with plenty of grazing animals. Since running out of aquamira I have been boiling water on campfires when possible (usually tastes awful), and on other occasions braving it and drinking straight from the river. This hasnt proven to be the best strategy as I have gotten moderately sick twice in the last 1 1/2 months from drinking tainted water. Nothing too bad, but something I would definitely prefer to avoid.

My question is does anyone have any ideas of how I can treat water down here besides boiling? I am thinking iodine drops as a possibility as I have used them in the past when I worked on a trail crew and we needed to treat large volumes of water daily. The question is, would the type of iodine available at a pharmacy be suitable for this or does it have other additives that should not be consumed? AND if pharmacy iodine is a viable solution does anyone know the proper ratio? Any other ideas? I´m not going to try it unless someone can confirm its safety for me. I will look around for some kind of drops or tabs or something in a camping store tomorrow, but usually the stuff you see down here is powder that comes in individual packets and doesn´t stretch very far in terms of longer term (higher quantity) use. Guess I could always buy a whole bunch of packets though.

Thanks for any knowledge anyone might have,

Wishing for Aquamira in Argentina,
Seth Ayotte

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Clorine on 03/22/2009 18:17:25 MDT Print View

Regular CHLORINE bleach is an excellent tool. Right from the grocery store, like Clorox.

How many drops per liter?

Hmmmm - the water in Patagonia is VERY trust worthy. Maybe, like 5 drops or so?

(don't sue me if you get sick)

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Emergency water treatment on 03/22/2009 18:19:58 MDT Print View

Try bleach. I've never done it but I've heard that it works. Google "bleach water treatment" before doing it. There seems to be plenty of good information about it.
Best wishes

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
Bleach as emergency water treatment on 03/22/2009 20:04:07 MDT Print View

A couple of internet sources recommend 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water for clear water, and 16 drops per gallon for cloudy. Let stand 30 minutes after treatment. There should be a small but acceptable chlorine odor after 30 minutes. If not, retreat. Avoid scented laundry bleach, powdered bleach, or swimming pool chlorine. These contain additional chemicals that are poisonous.

For iodine...(several iodine types below)

Iodine Topical Solution (2%) 8 drops per liter

Iodine Tincture 2% 8 drops per liter

Lugol's Solution 5% 4 drops per liter

Povidone-Iodine (Betadine®)10% 4 drops per liter

Tetraglycine hydroperiodide (Globaline®, Potable Aqua®, DWGT®) 8 mg 1 tablet per liter

Recommended treatment time is 15 min up to 1 hour (longer time is for cloudy and/or colder water)

Edited by Beep on 03/22/2009 20:14:31 MDT.

Seth Ayotte
(sethayot) - F

Locale: Western Oregon
Re: Emergency water treatment system needed! on 03/25/2009 15:46:51 MDT Print View

Much thanks guys, I knew someone would have an idea. Bleach sounds better than iodine, surprised I didn´t think of it.


Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Emergency water treatment system needed! on 03/25/2009 17:15:53 MDT Print View

I agree with William's summary regarding bleach. The CDC has the following information:

"If you can’t boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water (Chlorine and iodine may not be effective in controlling more resistant organisms like Cryptosporidium). If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers."

Here's wishing you continued success on your adventure!

Norman Bradley
(NormanB) - F

Locale: New York
Water treatment on 03/30/2009 19:38:44 MDT Print View

Charcoal and sphagnum moss couldn't hurt.