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My proposed water system

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by dave, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. dave

    dave Independence Member

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    Going with the bugging in theme, Ive been trying to figure out what will be my source for fresh water. I do have a year round stream in the back yard. However the quality of this water is less than desireable. I do keep 2 55 gallon blue plastic food grade barrels full and change them out yearly. But once that supply is gone then what.

    Ive read alot on the British Berkefeld or Berkey gravity feed filter system. Great reviews and very simple.

    Its a 2 piece unit. Fill the top section with your non potable water. It goes through the filters into the lower section which houses your potable drinking water. The filters are not cheap, so in my plan, I will strain the creek water through coffee filters to get the large sediment. Then using several 5 gallon buckets, letting the remaining silt settle to the bottom of the bucket then skim the clear water off to fill the berkey.

    The Berkey Im looking at is the largest version called the crown Berkey. Its on the right in the photo.
    BerkeyImperial.jpg

    It has a capacity of 6 gallons. This should make it easy to dump my 5 gallon buckets in safley.

    Heres a generic photo of my filtering plan.
    filtering.jpg

    The pre screened water then goes into the top section of the Berkey which houses the filters.
    imagesCA49IG61.jpg

    Depending on how many filters are being used, at the minimum of 2 filters the water will take just under 1 hour to filter 5-6 gallons of fresh clear drinkable water.
    imagesCAVLF6FH.jpg

    So far Ive sold this idea to the wife. However I thought before purchasing the Berkey I would toss this idea up and see if anyone might have a better idea or have some insight on this system.
    Your comments are welcomed.
     
  2. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Looks good. What do you do when you run out of filters and the store is looted and burned?

    Have you thought of building a sand filter (or converting a used swimming pool sand filter) and then using a dab of chlorine? You're drinking chlorinated water now, I suspect? Chlorine is cheap in 2 1/2 gallon jugs at Costco. You could stock way up on that.

    You could make a sand filter really cheap. It only clarifies the water. It doesn't sterilize.

    You can also settle water and then siphon from the top. A few drops of chlorine kills and saturates micro-organisms and causes them to settle to the bottom too. That clarifies the water except for the "sludge" on the very bottom and that's sterile too.

    Just a thought...
     
  3. dave

    dave Independence Member

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    As with ammo, food and other supplies, the consumables like batteries for your flashlights, fuel for your oil lanterns etc. I, like most of us buy in large quantities. I will have the screen, coffee and water filters stocked up.

    I will have to look into a sand filter. Ive heard of them used for drain fields in septic tank applications but not for fresh water.

    If SHTF Im a little concerned about using stream water after the sewers have been turned off though. Kinda ugly to think about, but it has to be figured in!
     
  4. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Here's just one. There are many styles. You'd want a gravity powered one obviously that requires no pressurized water or motors.

    http://www.bluefuturefilters.com/home.html

    "First, we continue to get impressive service from your SSFx sand filter we installed in the small village of La Cienaga in central Mexico. The filter has been operating for a year-and-a-half and has continued to produce bacteria-free water under difficult circumstances. Those circumstances are that the source water has an extremely high sediment content - at its worst the water is yellow/orange in color.

    Even when the community well was flooded with sediment during the rainy season and delivered very dirty water to the sand filter, the SSFx continued to produce clear, bacteria free water."
    -Larry Siegel, 2008
     
  5. isher

    isher Clallam County Member

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    Dave -

    Definitely on the right track with the Berkey.

    I've used one for years; they are bombproof simple.

    Each black filter element is good for 3000 gallons,

    And in my experience they perform as advertised.

    My wife and I (empty nest) go through about 3 gallons a day,

    So that is roughly 2000 days per set of two filters.

    I keep 3 sets of two filters in reserve, which

    Gives me roughly 15 years of advance capacity.

    The only maintenance trick I would add,

    Which Berkey has in their fine print -

    Once a month I do a LIGHT scrub of the filter surfaces

    With purple scotchbrite.

    Otherwise, filtration flow gets annoyingly slow.


    isher
     
  6. simpleguy

    simpleguy Clackamas Active Member

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    I like the idea, but what do they cost? So far I am using a 450-500gal hottub as my reserve water supply, couple that with some bleach, and I am relatively good to go, I am considering burying some 55gal drums below ground level and use them as rain catches as well.
     
  7. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how much they cost. About 5 years ago at a different house, I had a whole-house one installed for $2k. I needed to remove iron from well water. It was turning our fixtures brown. Probably buy it as do it yourself for half that. Google?

    It worked like a charm but it was pressurized. You're wanting one like the charitable outfits put in Africa and S America etc. for village use to give them clean water so they don't get sick.
     
  8. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Three gallons a day? That's just drinking water and not toilets, showers, etc., right? If the SHTF you'll need more for hygiene, dish washing, clothes washing, etc. even though done by hand?

    Did your system require water pressure?
     
  9. dave

    dave Independence Member

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    Ive found the Crown Berkey, the largest version I know of. 6 gallon capacity with 8 filters for $500. Isher gave some great insight to proloning the filter life. I think that will be the key to longevity. More filters can be had for around $100 for 2. Im not planning to use the filtered water for anything more than drinking and washing face/teeth and cooking with. I think using 5 gallon buckets and skimming like Gunner mentioned and adding bleach or chlorine will suffice for washing clothes, and maybe bathing. The key will be the pre screening which I need to do some actual field testing to see if the coffee filter and screen will work and how effieciently.
     
  10. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    OK, so I'd make a simple sand filter. Why mess around? A 5 gallon bucket with holes in the bottom, something porous which would still contain the sand (fiberglass cloth for rot resistance?) to line the bottom, fill it half full of sand, and a larger container (55 drum?) under that. Nature's way. No store-bought parts needed. :)

    Occasionally you do need to rinse your sand so that it doesn't clog up and you can use some of your filtered water for that. Once a month, depending on volume?

    Actually I forgot and I misspoke. These thing are good at killing bad bacteria. Nature's way - balance of nature. Good microorganisms develop which feed on bad microorganisms. If you click the link I posted above, you'll see that they claim theirs kills bacteria. So does a sand filter/septic tank. The discharge is (supposedly - I wouldn't do it) potable.
     
  11. powersbj

    powersbj Seattle Area Active Member

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  12. isher

    isher Clallam County Member

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    Which is great if you live in the sun.

    Up here on the Olympic Peninsula, when winter sets in

    The sun is a non-factor.

    Therefore highly effective filtering takes the

    Lead Dog position.

    isher
     
  13. RavenLunatic

    RavenLunatic NW WA New Member

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    Here is a less expensive option for the ceramic gravity filters.

    Monolithic
     
  14. RavenLunatic

    RavenLunatic NW WA New Member

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    isher:

    If you have lots of fuel (firewood) distillation is still an option. Even for salt water.

    Waterwise makes a nice stainless steel stovetop version, but there appear to be issues with their website right now.

    Waterwise Distiller
     
  15. dobanion

    dobanion North Portland, Oregon Member

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    It's not terribly difficult to render gutter/rain water drinkable. You could, with a few thousand dollars and some know how, make your current home ready to switch over to pure rain catchment should the water ever turn off. Sand filter is a big part of it. A typical roof on a house on the rainy side of the mountains produces ample water for a household practicing moderate conservation. But you need to be able to store April's rain for August's bath.

    Now, consider also the sewers won't only stop working in some scenarios, they will BACK UP. Be prepared to seal the main connection from city sewer into your house, and divert your emergency reduced *grey water only* drainage somewhere onsite. The other half is your toilets would have to go and you'd learn what Humanure is all about.
     
  16. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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  17. dave

    dave Independence Member

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