Iodine tastes just like it smells, fortunately, this is a pretty weak solution, so the taste is not overpowering; it is only slightly worse than city water. The advantages of iodine crystals, is that, one container can treat somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 gallons. As well as the fact that, it prepares the water relatively fast. The disadvantage is, as mentioned above, that it is harmful in the long term.
While reverse osmosis systems are widely used for industrial and commercial purposes, smaller home units can be purchased and installed under the kitchen sink and dispensed through the faucet. Home RO units typically run on a 3-stage system which includes a carbon filter, RO membrane, and re-mineralizing filter for taste. Some systems can include 5, 7, or even 10 stages. While the additional stages offer extra benefits such as pH level balance and UV filtration, a simple 3-stage system has everything required to produce pure, drinkable water. RO systems require frequent maintenance and replacement of filters in order to keep it functioning properly. Read our article on reverse osmosis systems for home use for a detailed guide on how they work and which brands to use.
Chlorine is effective against bacteria and most viruses. Norovirus, an intestinal disease that causes diarrhea, is particularly resistant to chlorine and will require the water to sit twice as long instead of the standard 30 minutes before consumption. Giardia, a parasite with a protective coating, will survive in chlorine treated water for 45 minutes before its safe to drink.
Visual inspection cannot determine if water is of appropriate quality. Simple procedures such as boiling or the use of a household activated carbon filter are not sufficient for treating all possible contaminants that may be present in water from an unknown source. Even natural spring water – considered safe for all practical purposes in the 19th century – must now be tested before determining what kind of treatment, if any, is needed. Chemical and microbiological analysis, while expensive, are the only way to obtain the information necessary for deciding on the appropriate method of purification.
Some small-scale desalination units use 'beach wells'; they are usually drilled on the seashore in close vicinity to the ocean. These intake facilities are relatively simple to build and the seawater they collect is pretreated via slow filtration through the subsurface sand/seabed formations in the area of source water extraction. Raw seawater collected using beach wells is often of better quality in terms of solids, silt, oil and grease, natural organic contamination and aquatic microorganisms, compared to open seawater intakes. Sometimes, beach intakes may also yield source water of lower salinity.
Coagulation and flocculation are often the first steps in water treatment. Chemicals with a positive charge are added to the water. The positive charge of these chemicals neutralizes the negative charge of dirt and other dissolved particles in the water. When this occurs, the particles bind with the chemicals and form larger particles, called floc.
Photo by purolipanFor flexibility, a good multi-tool is a camper’s best friend, and there are hundreds of models on the market. When comparing the need for different functions and the tool’s weight, it becomes apparent that simpler is better. Look for a multi-tool that has a regular and serrated blade, pliers with a wire cutter, carbide knife sharpener, bottle and can opener, and a lanyard loop. Pay close attention to the materials and quality; look for titanium handles, 154CM steel blades, and 420 stainless steel construction. If you plan on carrying a small hatchet for cutting firewood, consider a multi-tool hatchet and take one tool instead of two.
The addition of inorganic coagulants such as aluminum sulfate (or alum) or iron (III) salts such as iron(III) chloride cause several simultaneous chemical and physical interactions on and among the particles. Within seconds, negative charges on the particles are neutralized by inorganic coagulants. Also within seconds, metal hydroxide precipitates of the iron and aluminium ions begin to form. These precipitates combine into larger particles under natural processes such as Brownian motion and through induced mixing which is sometimes referred to as flocculation. Amorphous metal hydroxides are known as "floc". Large, amorphous aluminum and iron (III) hydroxides adsorb and enmesh particles in suspension and facilitate the removal of particles by subsequent processes of sedimentation and filtration.:8.2–8.3