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The real water treatment deal
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Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
The real water treatment deal on 06/11/2011 10:00:10 MDT Print View

Trying to understand so correct me if I am wrong...
So as I understand it the

#1 culprit, big nasty stuff, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and other nasty
gastro bugs and parasites etc
World wide.

2-3 microns in size.
Tablets or chlorine drops only and 4 hour wait time to kill hard shelled eggs.
A 1 micron filter will take these nasties out.
In theory an Aquamira Frontier pro (3 microns) or smaller will filter out these.

#2 culprit - Bacteria
World Wide

.2 microns
Tablets or chlorine drops only and 30 minutes to kill Bacteria.
A Sawyer or other .1 micron filter would trap these.

#3 culprit - Viruses
None USA and mostly 3rd world countries, Central/south America, Africa, probably India etc

.005-.2 although one of the bad ones, Hepititis C is about .05 microns
Tablets or Chlorine drops and 30 minutes to kill viruses
A reverse osmosis filter will take out viruses
In theory a Sawyer .02 should take out most larger viruses like Hep C. but not
all of the smaller ones.

Steripen, Iodine, Boiling, Distilling, Reverse osmosis removes/kills all above, with the addition of distilling and reverse osmosis also removes salt.

Any comments or opinions welcome.

Edited by tammons on 06/11/2011 10:11:16 MDT.

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
A few corrections on 06/11/2011 10:46:00 MDT Print View

Per the CDC, iodine does not kill crypto and chlorine dioxide is only marginally effective against crypto (pressumably more effective with longer dwell times). Further, iodine should not be used for more than a few weeks at a time (unfortunately, I've never had an excuse to use it longer than that anyway). With so many alternatives, I avoid it altogther these days.

I wouldn't presume USA is virus-free, especially if you're camping in farm country. I've never personally experienced an issue with it (or known someone who has), but lack of positives doesn't make a negative.

UV/Steripen effectiveness drops with turbidity. Very effective in clear creek water. Not so much in cloudy/muddy water.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
The real water treatment deal on 06/11/2011 11:11:47 MDT Print View

The one thing I have been thinking about but did not mention above is Feral Hogs in the USA.

They are everywhere, pollute water sources with all sorts of nasty stuff including E-Coli. They carry a lot of diseases like Swine flu, Swine Brucellosis, Pseudo rabies, tuberculosis and Hog Cholera for a few.

I think swine flu and swine brucillus are the same disease but not really sure.

I hunt them and am convinced I got swine flu from a hog that I cleaned.
Got extremely ill and it started just after I handled that animal.
Now I wear latex gloves when I handle them.
It wont pass human to human, just pig to human.

Some of those diseases above are viral so...

Yes I did not think about turbid water and the steripen which in that case you would still need to filter.

I guess it would still be best to filter and treat unless you have a clear water source then you could just steripen it.

Edited by tammons on 06/11/2011 11:13:05 MDT.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
re: feral hogs on 06/11/2011 12:32:51 MDT Print View

Feral hogs are certainly not everywhere. Alpine regions, for instance, have no feral hogs.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Brucella = swine flu NOT on 06/11/2011 12:38:49 MDT Print View

Not the same; swine flu is a viral disease, Brucellosis is caused by a bacteria in the Brucella genus.

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Re: re: feral hogs on 06/11/2011 12:49:57 MDT Print View

>> Feral hogs are certainly not everywhere. Alpine regions, for instance, have no feral hogs.

I've never seen one in the wild, but I think the point there is that most places have something with the potential of dirtying the water.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Crypto in Seattle on 06/11/2011 13:08:05 MDT Print View

I was reading a Seattle Public Utilities newsletter about our water in Seattle. Our water comes from two rivers that are fed by the nearby Cascade mountains. Neither of the sources showed any crypto in the latests tests.

Crypto is one of the stumbling blocks to some of the water treatment choices with 4 hours being required by some. Given the Seattle water tests I'm wondering how common crypto is in Washington State backpacking areas.

Anyone have info?

Ryan Nakahara
(kife42) - F

Locale: Hawaii
small things on 06/11/2011 14:14:37 MDT Print View

well, leptospirosis is a bacteria that can be in the .1 micron range. almost all of these will get filtered out by the sawyer filter, but their .1 micron filter doesn't officially support this. so i wouldn't say .1 microns for bacteria is an absolute rule.

and yes viruses are all over the place in the US. when they show up they usually appear in the news though, to prevent outbreaks.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
The real water treatment deal on 06/11/2011 14:25:22 MDT Print View

Feral hogs are certainly not everywhere in the world.
That was just an over exaggeration by me, but I bet they do inhabit areas around almost the entire Appalachian trail. Especially in the south.

I know on our land in Georgia I never saw a hog until about 4 years ago, then all of the sudden they were taking over.

As of 2007 there were around 4m wild pigs in over 40 states across the USA.
Worst at that time was Texas, which had over 2m followed by California, Florida and Hawaii.

As of now I think it is closer to 6-7m in the US and they typically double population every 5 years.

Also I read the other day that now they think the E-Coli Spinach problem was from contaminated water from feral hogs. They are really pretty nasty animals.

Edited by tammons on 06/11/2011 14:27:20 MDT.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
filtres on 06/11/2011 14:44:33 MDT Print View

One note on the Frontier pro is that it only removes to 3 log (99.9%) of crypto whereas something like a sawyer .1 micron will remove 7 log (99.9999%) of crypto and giardia. I think EPA guides are 5 log or 6 log to be completely protected.

Now I have had crypto from contaminated well water from a farm. It sucks and you are sick for weeks but still functional. So if you are not thru hiking I think people worry too much about water treatment unless you are in pastureland.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
The real water treatment deal on 06/11/2011 15:01:33 MDT Print View

I would just as soon not get sick on a day hike or a thru hike.
Its worth a few extra ounces.

Sounds like to me to be totally protected...

If you were going to try to go only filter, you would really need a Sawyer .02 filter to be protected from everything.

If filter combined with tablets/drops and to trap/kill viruses, then a .1 sawyer or other .1 filter would be a good one.

If no filter most of the time just a Steripen with a backup filter of some sort in case you get stuck with tepid water.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: The real water treatment deal on 06/11/2011 16:29:38 MDT Print View

A couple of corrections.

#1: E coli from your own hands or your partner's hands (at least in the USA). Yep, self-infection is the cause of most gastro in the back country, especially among young males. Wash your hands!

> Viruses
> None USA
Absolutely ***WRONG***. Totally and utterly ***WRONG***. A common myth, but WRONG.
Viruses are as wide-spread in the USA as anywhere else in the world.

High mountain water is usually fairly clean. Anything downstream of a farm or habitation is likely to have chemicals, bacteria and viruses. Downstream of intensive farming like pigs is often toxic.


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: The real water treatment deal on 06/11/2011 16:42:29 MDT Print View

You can infect yourself from fecal matter to your hands to your mouth?

I've thought that was the case but if you already have the bacteria in your gut how can it affect you?

I guess it can go upstream to a location where there were none of that bacteria.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
The real water treatment deal on 06/11/2011 17:30:40 MDT Print View

Not sure if you can infect yourself instantly, but hands left unwashed after a #2 can grow all sorts of nasty germs.

Unwashed hands to food prep one typical way Hepatitis A is spread.

Edited by tammons on 06/11/2011 17:32:43 MDT.

Robert Kieschke
(rrkieschke) - F
The real water treatment deal - data? on 06/12/2011 09:41:11 MDT Print View

Does anyone have any validated data on this? Referenced to published work? I suppose opinion might be worth something but I would rather base a decision in data.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
The real water treatment deal on 06/12/2011 09:58:16 MDT Print View

Validated data as far as what ??

Bug, bacteria, virus sizes vs filtration and treatment or washing hands.

Edited by tammons on 06/12/2011 09:58:47 MDT.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
water treatment on 06/12/2011 19:51:15 MDT Print View

> Chlorine is ineffective vs. crypto
> Iodine is dangerous beyond very limited doses, especially to the thyroid.
> UV cannot penetrate less than crystal clear water
> All of the above require considerable waiting, sometimes longer than it takes to boil and cool water

So what to do?
Forget about superlight where health and survival are at stake, and carry a good filter, 2 microns or less, and carry a small vial of iodine pills in case the filter fails - if it is mechanical, it can break. Very satisfied with the Walkabout, but understand that the (formerly)Pur Hiker is most preferred, but may be more subject to freeze-up. Don't like waiting on the gravity ones.

One other possible solution are the pumps that rely on oxygenation from salt. These are widely used for home water supplies. It would be nice to know more about the effectiveness and utility of the small, portable units.

And agree that if we don't keep ourselves and our kit clean, we will get sick anyway.

Edited by scfhome on 06/12/2011 19:52:30 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: The real water treatment deal on 06/12/2011 20:06:46 MDT Print View

> You can infect yourself from fecal matter to your hands to your mouth?

Forgive me if I express total amazement!!!!!
Is the American education system that appallingly bad that basic personal hygeine concepts are not taught?????
OK, OK, I'm an obnoxious Australian. Forgive me.

Yes, that is the primary path for getting gastro. Faecal matter gets onto your hands and then into your mouth. From your mouth it goes down into your stomach and the bacteria multiply there. That causes severe gastro.

The bacteria come from your intestines. They are crucial to your survival: without those bacteria in your intestines you **DIE**. It is the bacteria in your intestines which digest the food you eat and supply energy and other nutrients to your body. Without them you **DIE**. Medically speaking, they are symbiotic with you.

But, and this is the key point, there is a valve between your stomach and your intestines. Bacteria cannot travel backwards from your intestines to your stomach. You can only infect your stomach through your mouth. And young males off by themselves without a parent to tell them to wash their hands, get gastro. It's as simple as that.


Robert Kieschke
(rrkieschke) - F
Not a matter of opinion on 06/12/2011 20:15:40 MDT Print View

Oh call me a fuddy-duddy, but the OP seemed to be asking a question on the quality of water treatment needed. Although forum members opinions are certainly entertaining, it seems to me that this is an issue where actual data should be presented. Roger states that water-bourne viruses are present in the US - are there documented cases of this? What and where are they? How effective are water filters at eliminating typical contaminants present in the water we may encounter? This is measurable and although we may have opinions, it would be interesting to see that actual data.
After all, I thought this forum was about bringing the lightest solution set that will meet the needs of the anticipated conditions, not every conceivable condition. We could of course recommend filtration (to reduce turbidity) followed by UV and then perhaps a rolling boil to really make sure.
This reference seemed to have some data and references in it -

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
fuddy-duddyism on 06/12/2011 20:23:56 MDT Print View

Don't think you will be able to outdo Roger.