For the most part I’ve been fortunate when it comes to drinking water especially when out in the field. However, there have been a few occasions where I DID NOT have good water to drink so it does happen.”Dirty” or “Bad” water can contain protozoa, viruses, bacteria or parasites. Symptoms can vary – you can have one or more of the following; diarhea, dysentery, vomitting, nausea, fevers and chills, including aches. To put it simply – BOIL THE WATER!
If you’re not sure of the quality of the water – boil it. If the only water you have available is turbid water (not clear or stuff floating around in it), clear the debris by filtering the water or let the impurities settle first then boil it.
If you have it, you can disinfect the water using chemicals such as iodine and chlorine. Chlorine disinfection with coagulation – flocculation (crappy fluid formed into a mass) is also effective in removing significant numbers of protozoa (creepy little organisms), bacteria, and viruses. You may also want to use a carbon filter to improve the taste otherwise your gag reflex might kick in and you’ll have another problem.
If you’re a really kooky survival junkie, like me, then you may want to invest in a portable filtration device which can cost anywhere from $10-$100. These filtration devices are tested and rated to remove protozoa and some bacteria. One item to pay attention to is the filter pore size. A size of one (1) micron or less is recommended. Combining these methods – filtering then chemical disinfection or boiling will decrease your chances of becoming sick or ill.
As always, my motto is, “Sweat now – bleed later”. Take the time out to learn how to make drinking water using these methods so that you can build-up your confidence and retain this in memory in case you ever find yourself in a situation with no “Clean” or “Good” drinking water.
Happy puddle hunting!