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#36695 - 01/24/05 01:57 AM Water Purification
turbo Offline

Registered: 01/27/04
Posts: 133
Loc: Oregon
During my working life, one of my assignments was disaster planning and response for a major telephone company. Knowing I would not be home to care for my family during these times, I prepared my household and those of my elderly relatives and neighbors to survive in relative comfort and made plans for communications between them. Some of these elderly relatives were in hard to reach areas during ice storms and land slides. As many of these people had been through the “Depression” and WWII and now were partially disabled, they took to this task better than the young healthy people who I worked with that never had such experiences.

Power for heating, cooking, and lighting were addressed and handled per each individual’s situation. Since I also remodeled homes to allow relatives and neighbors to remain at home during and after various illnesses, I realized that obtaining pure water was a hardship for many of these households. I obtained used fifty five gallon translucent sherry drums and build frames to hold one or two drums, depending on family size or health conditions. I also equipped each with a spigot and a large elbow and cap fitting to easily fill the drum and treat the water. I wrote, with Sharpy Pen, the instructions for using bleach to treat the water periodically. Ever six months, during the summer, we would empty the tanks by watering gardens and refilling. Later I found that I could treat the water with an Ultra Violet Ozone Generator which was designed to purify water. I obtained one and I could purify the drums in thirty minutes. I keep the UV Ozone Purifier in my RV and use it whenever I suspect the quality of water. It is easily portable and I have used it for years.

Just recently, when reviewing my water purifying techniques and equipment, I came across the SteriPen. It is a very portable UV water purification device. It will purify sixteen or thirty two ounces of water at a time. As long as the water is clear and liquid, it will purify. It has been well tested and treats all organic biologicals and viruses, however it will not remove chemical, metalic, or radiological hazzards. To obtain clear water, a filter of some kind may have to be employed. It is sold to both world travelers and backpackers.

I obtained one and made a small cheat sheet of the instructions to keep with the device. It will stay in my truck and will be attached to my Maxpedition fatboy shoulder pack when I venture out and about. I also keep at least two other methods of purification with me. Dead batteries or damaged electronic circuitry would render the SteriPen useless. However, it sure beats these other methods in taste, time, energy, and purity! Another plus is that it does not degrade over time like chemical treatments. As long as you have battery power, it is good for 5000 sixteen ounce treatments.

You can read about the SteriPen at hydro-photon.com. I obtained mine via the internet from C & C Outdoors for a Winter Sale price of $124.95 with free shipping. I searched ETS for information on this item and found none. If any of you have experience with this device, please let me know, good or bad.

As a disclaimer, I have no affiliation with either SteriPen or C & C Outdoors. If any of you find them cheaper somewhere else, let me know. I may buy another.

Edited by turbo (01/24/05 07:31 AM)

#36696 - 01/24/05 04:25 PM Re: Water Purification
paramedicpete Offline

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland

#36697 - 01/24/05 06:36 PM Re: Water Purification
turbo Offline

Registered: 01/27/04
Posts: 133
Loc: Oregon
Thanks Paramedicpete,

I should have been suspicious when there was no hits to my search of “Steripen.”

I see that the street price has fallen since this device had been introduced. Hopefully, time may further reduce it’s price. I did not purchase their associated filter since they were short on details and it did not look like much of a filter. I may obtain one just to review and post what I find on the forum, although I am not qualified or equipped to thoroughly test the filter. I will just check for water clarity.

When reading the literature, I noted that they were very clear that purification only takes place within the volume of water and not droplets outside the volume of water. Their recommendation of utilizing the conical portion of the pen as a cork and inverting and agitating the water was an excellent idea. If a sufficient volume of water was placed in a 16 or 32 ounce bottle with an opening with the correct size to fit the Steripen’s cone, there would be no stray droplets of water. The only area of concern would be the very rim on the bottle where the Sterippen’s cone contacted the bottle neck. Looks like a straw or hose would be an ideal solution to extract the water.

I noticed in your high contaminated testing that you treated the water twice to obtain pure water. Did the water seam cloudy on the first test? Do you recommend the double doses procedure as a normal practice or only when high contamination is suspected?

Thanks again and in advance!

#36698 - 01/24/05 08:55 PM Re: Water Purification
paramedicpete Offline

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
The water sample I tested was cloudy with bacterial organisms; most likely more concentrated then any thing one would encounter in the real world short of sewer/septic water. The single dose of the Steri-Pen did not achieve bacterial sterilization (it did reduce the number of organism significantly) and a second dose was required.

Keep in mind, that water from a real world situation may have turbidity due to organics, silt or other non-bacterial causes. The Steri-Pen does not remove any chemical contamination. My main reasons and intended use of the Steri-Pen was for drinking water obtained in rural regions of Ecuador, (wells, tap) not streams, ponds, etc. If you were looking to obtain drinkable water from stream, ponds, etc., I would look to a general filter capable of removing chemicals and gross materials, followed with the Steri-Pen or MRS MIOX for microbial (bacterial, viral and parasitic) destruction.

As to contaminated water on the rim/lip of the container, the Steri-Pen will not kill organisms in this area. However, keep in mind that the bacterial contamination of these surfaces may not be significant. Most healthy people (this does not apply if you are immuno-compromised in any way or the very young/old) can tolerate a number of organisms without becoming sick. Each type of organism requires an infective dose/exposure dose before the individual’s immune system is overcome and illness results. This can range from a few hundred organisms to millions. The normal healthy adult has billions of normal bacterial in their GI tract; these organisms not only prevent disease-producing organisms from “setting up shop”, but also produce vitamins necessary for life. That is why it is suggested many times to supplement your diet with active-culture yogurts or Lactobacillus spp. tablets when taking antibiotics or traveling.



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