Water is essential for survival both for humans and other living organisms. Nevertheless, drinking water has limited availability and comes at a high cost. When you don’t have enough water supply, you may have to explore various alternatives such as ponds, rain, well and surface water.
Ingestion of surface water could pose a risk to your health because of contaminants. Fortunately, there are many ways you can remove pollutants and impurities from the water you collect so that you can safely consume it.
This post explores ten methods on how to filter pond water for drnking with a minimal chance of getting water-borne illnesses.
Pond Water Purification System
The first method you could use is to create a pond water purification system. As you construct a pond, it is crucial to have the following conditions before beginning the water filtration process.
- At least a quarter acre of surface or more (about 11.000 square feet) ensures you have an adequate water supply.
- The deepest part of the pond should be at least 8 feet, while the side slopes should reach a depth of 3:1 or flatter.
- Ensure the edge of the pond has minimum aquatic growth, which you can achieve by limiting the nitrogen and phosphorus amounts that you let into the pond.
Overview of Pond Water Treatment Systems
First, you start by collecting the water from the water source into a pond. You could use gravity or a pump to make it flow into a sand filter chamber while maintaining a constant level. The surface water goes through the sand filter for sieving, a gravel bed, and then into an underdrain pipe.
The underdrain pipe directs the pon water to a separate storage chamber known as a clear well. There are a shallow well pump and an automated chlorinator inside an insulated box at the top of the clear well structure. The chlorinator is connected to the pump such that it works simultaneously with the pump. A plastic pipe delivers the chlorine to the filter compartment and into the water to kill bacteria.
The sand will collect foreign matter while the chlorine destroys the biological contaminants in the pond water. Using a chlorine test kit, you should ensure that the chemical’s residual amount is not above 1/2 per million periodically to ensure it remains viable for drinking.
Pond Water Purification Using Chlorine or Bleach
While people mostly associate chlorine with swimming pools, in moderate amounts, it can be useful in making pond water safe to drink. It achieves this by eliminating bacteria and viruses that make untreated water dangerous for consumption. Chlorine is used in water purification systems at municipal levels to make city water drinkable.
Bleach, the household equivalent to Industrial chlorine, contains 4-6 % of concentration and is suitable for disinfecting filtered water for drinking. Sodium hypochlorite is the active component in chlorine, and its concentration determines the amount of bleach you use.
Measuring the Bleach
2 drops of household bleach are enough or a liter of water, or you could add 8 drops to each gallon of water. You should let it stand for about 30 minutes before consumption to allow the chlorine enough time to purify the water.
This is one of the most effective treatments for natural water sources like rain or pond water. Nevertheless, it is crucial to make sure you only use unscented bleach. Otherwise, the chemical smell will make it unbearable for you to drink the water even if it’s purified.
While most bacteria and viruses can’t survive chlorine, the Norovirus is particularly resistant to it. If you suspect the pond water could have this pathogen, you should let the chlorine sit for twice longer than 30 minutes. Giardia is a parasite that can survive in chlorine-treated water since it has a protective coating. Therefore, it is necessary to wait 45 minutes before taking the water to ensure this parasite is eliminated.
Using Purification Tablets for Pond Water Treatment
There are tablets with chemical components that can help purify contaminated water. By dropping them into a container of pond water and letting them sit for 30-45 minutes to destroy pathogens, you can get safe drinking water from almost anywhere. While there are other effective water treatment methods, the portability of these tablets is their main advantage.
How They Work
The chemicals in these tablets can eliminate contaminants like viruses, parasites, and bacteria from water to make it safe to drink. Use the drops in an appropriate amount of water to destroy all the living organisms to give you clean drinkable water.
In extreme cases such as drought, hurricanes, heavy rains, or floods, making it difficult to find a potable water source, these tablets can help you survive. While you can go 21 days without food, you can’t last more than 100 hours without water. So, these tablets could help you stay alive long enough in an emergency for help to arrive.
There are many water purification tablets, but the most common are made from Iodine, Chlorine, or chlorine dioxide.
Using Filters for Surface Water Treatment
One of the most common ways to purify pond water is filtration. Water filtration systems come in various styles and sizes and can be easily applied to water sources in the home. The size of the filter’s pore, typically measured in microns, determines what it can filter out. A standard micron size of 0.2 can block heavy metals like lead and copper and parasites like Cryptosporidium but is not effective against viruses.
How Filters Work
Filtration systems use porous materials like activated carbon to adsorb contaminants from the surface water. As the water flows through the filter, impurities and chemicals stick to the carbon, and the pure water continues through into the tank.
Active carbon is proven to remove up to 81 chemicals and various odors from water. Unfortunately, a downside to a filter system is that it requires regular replacement.
Water filters also come in smaller forms that are travel-friendly, making them convenient for the outdoors. During travels and hikes, it is possible to come across large water sources like ponds, lakes, and rivers. With a portable water filter, you can clean the water and won’t have to worry about ingesting dangerous pollutants like sediments, bacteria, and parasites.
The sun’s Ultraviolet rays are an effective method of destroying microorganisms. from water. While these rays are dangerous to humans, there are ways of harnessing their energy to kill off pathogens from water. UV light is used as a disinfection standard for water supplies at the municipal level and is applicable at home.
How it Works
A UV water purification system release more UV light than the sun making it more effective in killing viruses like the Norovirus and Hepatitis in an instant.
The intensity you use will determine its efficiency; nevertheless, biological contaminants are defenseless against ultraviolet radiation. So, you can rest assured that the light rays will destroy bacteria, parasites, molds, and waterborne viruses, leaving your water safe for drinking.
The UV light is set up in a chamber, and as water flows through this compartment, the radiation kills any pathogens upon exposure. This method works immediately, in contrast, to the use of chemicals, where you have to wait a while before the purification process is complete.
Unfortunately, this treatment doesn’t get rid of particles or heavy metals. So you’ll want to use it alongside a functional filtration system to ensure the water also free from sediment and particles. Plus, the UV purification system has high maintenance requirements.
Reverse Osmosis Treatment
The reverse osmosis process involves forcing surface water through a semi-permeable membrane to filter out contaminants. Osmosis is a natural occurrence where less concentrated water moves toward a more concentrated solution.
With external pressure, it is possible to achieve the opposite effect and cause the more potent solution to move toward the dilute one. As a result, freshwater can move through the membrane and leave the impurities behind to give you clean drinking water.
The semi-permeable membrane is a filter mechanism that works on a molecular level. So, you can use it effectively against biological agents like bacteria, viruses, and parasitic cysts while also removing heavy metals like lead. However, there are solvents and certain pesticide particles that are small enough to bypass the membrane.
The reverse osmosis systems are a standard in water purification systems used in bottled water industries. Fortunately, smaller RO systems can be installed at home to provide clean, purified water through the faucets. These units usually operate on a three-stage system, which involves a carbon filter, the RO membrane, and a final remineralizing filter.
These systems can feature additional stages with extra benefits like better pH balance and UV treatment.
Iodine Water Treatment
Iodine is a popular salt component with disinfecting properties that can be useful in purifying water. This chemical can eliminate viruses and bacteria at a cellular level and come in various forms, including tablet, liquid, crystal, or tincture.
Since it is a potent chemical, it should be used in moderation. High doses of iodine in drinking water can be lethal for humans. As such, this method should only be used in the absence of other water treatment options rather than regularly. P regnant women, children, those prone to shellfish allergies and thyroid issues should avoid using iodine.
Two drops of tincture iodine can purify a quart of clear water. However, for unclear water, 10 drops per quart will do. The solution should sit for at least thirty minutes, but it will ultimately have a different taste. Idoine is light-sensitive, so you should store it in a dark bottle.
Solar purification of water is a more traditional method that is suitable when modern techniques are unavailable. It is suitable for cases such as backpacking, emergencies, or when living off-grid. It uses the sun’s ultraviolet rays to kill the bacteria and viruses that contaminate surface water.
While some believe that the sun’s heat can make stagnant pond water drinkable by killing dangerous microbes, it is only a misconception. Still, pools of water are a suitable breeding ground for mosquitoes and bacteria, making it unsafe for drinking.
So, how can you use the sun to make surface water drinkable?
One of the methods you can use is with plastic bottles. Remove all the labels and paper from the bottle and add the water to up to three-quarters full and shake for half a minute. Then, cover the bottle, lay it horizontally, and expose it to direct sunlight.
This process could take up to six hours to work well enough. During this time, the bottle should remain under direct sunlight to ensure the UV rays penetrate the water. If the water was a bit cloudy, the exposure time should increase up to two undisturbed days.
Another way to harness solar energy for water purification involves using a solar still device. This gadget can distill contaminated water or pull condensation from damp sources to provide drinking water. It uses the sun to evaporate unclean water from one basin and collect the condensation in another.
Even if there’s no water on the surface, this method can be used to pull moisture from the ground. You can make a solar still out of simple materials or purchase them. The water you derive from this strategy is distilled and safe to drink.
Distillation refers to gathering condensed moisture from evaporated steam and is the most effective way to get contaminant-free water. You don’t need a complex mechanism to make distilled water. With a boiling pot, a water-collecting container, a vapor tube, and a heat source, you’ll have all you need to filter pond water.
Heat the water until it comes to a boil to force the evaporation through the tube and collect the purified water in the new container. Since pollutants can’t exist in vapor form, you can rest assured that the water you collect will be free from bacteria, parasites, chemicals, solvents, and heavy metals.
An alternative you could consider is purchasing a home distillation unit that can sit on the kitchen countertop. These distillation units can distill up to four gallons of water per day, which can be enough for an entire household to drink.
Unfortunately, the distillation process is so effective that it will remove essential minerals from the water. So, you might want to supplement the natural minerals you’ll lose by adding them to your diet.
This is perhaps the oldest method of water purification in existence and is used by many people worldwide. The heat produced when boiling water is enough to destroy biological contaminants, making the water ideal for drinking.
If you have cloudy water, the first step should be filtering the large sediment out using a coffee filter or clean cloth.
The next step is to heat the water to a boil, which you can visually identify through the bubbles. Let the water boil for 1-3 minutes and let it cool inside a clean container, which you can cover to avoid microbes and bacteria.
The taste of boiled water is always flat, but transferring it from one container to another or swishing it can improve the taste.
Other Methods of Water Treatment
In addition to the various techniques we’ve covered, there are more that are gaining popularity in both the private and government sectors, such as;
This is a method of filtering water using a membrane that purifies the water at an ionic level. It’s mostly used for fresh and pond water sources.
2. EDR (Electrodialysis Reversal)
EDR uses an electric current to move dissolved particles through several ionic membranes to rid the water of impurities gradually.
This method involves modifying environmental conditions to promote the growth of useful microorganisms that control pathogens in the water.
Flocculation is a process whereby mixtures of insoluble particles known as colloids are treated so that they float in suspension in flake form, which can be sieved out.
Why is Purifying Water Important?
Surface water that gathers into ponds and lakes from different areas could carry chemical, physical, radioactive or biological, substances that make the water harmful to your health. These are the four primary forms of impurities found in water.
Contaminants include anything other than pure water molecules, including minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which are beneficial to your health.
1. Physical Contaminants
These mostly comprise rock or soil sediment, which generally don’t pose a biological threat. Nevertheless, an accumulation of large particles in drinking water can cause physiological damage to the body. The primary way of eliminating physical impurities is to use a filter.
2. Chemical Contaminants
These include human-made and natural compounds that available in the water. Some examples include lead, mercury, rust, pesticides, herbicides, nitrogen, bleach, or industrial by-products.
3. Biological Contaminants
They include microorganisms that thrive and reproduce in water, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, and protozoa. They are one of the leading causes of water-borne diseases and pose a significant risk to human health.
4. Radiological Contaminants
These are chemical elements that are unstable on an atomic level and can emit harmful radiation. Examples include cesium, uranium, and plutonium.