How to Purify Lake Water for Drinking

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As a lover of camping in the woods or planning to go camping, it may be challenging to carry water that will last you through your endeavors in the wild.

In this case, it is possible to have access to lake water or river water. Therefore, make sure you are prepared on ways to purify water or procedures to follow to disinfect your water. Search procedures include boiling water or using carbon activated filter.

Water purification is the process of removing unwanted chemicals, natural contaminants, solids, and gases from your water. The sole purpose of purifying water is to make it fit for drinking, whereby it is disinfected for human consumption.

While purifying your water, you may be reducing the concentration of certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Let’s get started on how you can purify water from the lake.

1. Boiling

 boiling water in the wild

It may be the most effective and safest way to purify water since lake water or any surface water contains disease-causing organisms killed during this process. However, you may not achieve the clear water you would like, but you will have avoided the possibility of diarrhea, nausea.

To acquire that clear look, you can run your water through a coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth and boil it for at least three minutes.

Aerate your boiled water to cool it down and improve the taste to your liking.

You can then store the drinking water in clean bottles and cover them tightly.

2. Filtering

Filtering water

Filtration purifies water when accompanied by boiling or disinfection. Most commercially made filters are made of a screen with numerous tiny holes in it.

They can remove bacteria and protozoa though they cannot filter out viruses since they are too small. They also remove large contaminants such as silt, dirt, sand, and leaves.

Moreover, if the water is cloudy, you should filter it even if you plan to boil or disinfect it. You can use chlorine to disinfect water.

What is the Best Way to Filter Water for Drinking?

When preparing for your hike or camp, ensure you carry bottled water. The bottled water is more likely to run out and since you do not need heavy gallons of emergency water dragging you behind, be sure to bring along your water filters. However, it might seem tricky since there are many filters, and you want to make sure you consume clean water.

Your main worry will be what the best way to filter water for drinking is? Worry no more since you will only need to use your membrane filter. They have a thin membrane with microscopic pores that prevent objects larger than the pore, such as bacteria and microbes, to pass. The pores’ size reduces from one layer to the other, making it easy to use despite being small in size.

However, they can only filter small amounts of water hence slowing down your water filtration. Despite the slow process, this makes it the best way to get clean drinking water.

After you are done using your water filter, you can disinfect your water using iodine chlorine and store it in a clean container. You can then continue to filter the water to your desired amount.

How do You Sanitize Lake Water?

Water sanitizing is similarly known as emergency disinfection, which is more likely to occur where regular water service has been interrupted. Such interruptions may include hurricanes, floods, and water pipe breakage. During such occurrences, you are advised to use bottled water, boiled water, or disinfected water until the restoration of normal water.

However, your option may be sanitizing or disinfecting water fetched from the lake near you, which might raise the question, how do you sanitize lake water?

You may boil and disinfect your lake water to kill most disease-causing microorganisms that may inhibit the water. This might, however, not destroy other contaminants such as heavy metals and other chemicals.

The following instructions will show you how to boil and disinfect your water.

a) Boiling Water.

Boiling makes it sufficient to kill viruses, pathogenic bacteria, and protozoa. Since you could be out of bottled water, this process can improve your survival rate.

  • In case your water is cloudy, let it settle for one to five minutes and filter it through a coffee filter or a clean cloth.
  • Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute to three minutes.
  • Allow the water to cool down naturally and store in clean containers or fill each bottle for easier storage.
  • In case you despise the flat taste of boiled water, you can improve it by adding a pinch of salt to each liter of clean boiled water or add the water from one clean container to another severally.

b) Disinfect Your Water Using Household Bleach.

In cases where you cannot boil your lake or river water, you can use regular unscented bleach that contains chlorine. It is suitable for water treatment whereby it is used to disinfect water and sanitize it as usually indicated on the label.

However, you should not use a product that has added cleaners, scented, or color-safe. If your water is cloudy, allow it to settle and filter it through a clean cloth, coffee filter, or a paper towel.

Therefore, you should follow the following steps during water sanitization:

  • Use a clean, clear dropper from your emergency supply kit or your medicine cabinet.
  • Have your fresh liquid chlorine bleach or one stored at room temperatures for less than a year.
  • Use the manufacturers’ guide to decide the amount of bleach to add to the water, for instance, 6drops of 8.25% bleach to a gallon of water. Double the amount of bleach if your water is cold, cloudy, or colored.
  • Stir it and allow it to stand for 30 minutes. Your water should produce a slight chlorine odor, which you can repeat the dosage if no odor is emitted and let stand for 15 minutes before use.

However, if the chlorine smell is too strong, pour your water from one clean container to another and give it some hours before use.

Due to these sanitizing methods, your emergency water is safe for consumption.

How do You make Wild Water Safe to Drink?

As you are preparing to start your hike or go camping, you might have that voice in your head that is not willing to leave you be, which reminds you of those stories about missing campers who get lost for days. The good thing is they always come home since they had a water supply all through.

Since dehydration may cause problems to your body, you might wonder how to carry potable water with you. Do not worry, for here are some ways you can purify and make wild water safe to drink, and you don’t risk contamination, parasites, or bacteria.

1. Boiling

As long as you have the proper tools, this remains the easiest way to purify your water. Such equipment includes a camp stove or a campfire and a tin or pot.

Place a pot or tin filled with wild water, such as from the lake or river, over high heat and let it boil till you have rolling bubbles for five minutes. Let it cool before drinking to avoid scalding your mouth.

2. Filtering or Purification Pumps

Before leaving for the woods, ensure you visit your nearest camping store and select your preferred pump with filters and purifiers. You are to pour wild water in, and when drinking, purified, and filtered water will come out right into your water bottle.

The purification is done by squeezing the water through a ceramic or charcoal filter and treating it with chemicals. You can also come across some hi-tech water bottles with a built-in purification process during your haul. Such bottles work in a way you don’t have to pump water into a separate one. Therefore, the purification process happens as you suck water directly into your mouth.

3. Purification Drops and Tablets

Chemicals such as iodine, potassium permanganate, and chlorine are used in these drops and tablets. It is simple and less expensive, although the taste might not be appealing. Drop the purification drops or tablets in your wild water in a clean container and wait for the chemicals to treat the water for at least 20 to 30 minutes. You can then add some powdered mix such as glucose powder to alter the specific chemical’s taste.

What are the Types of Drinking Water Filters used to purify water?

You do not want to choose anything that does not solve your purification process. So, you should know the types of drinking water filters that will improve your water filtering problems.

It is critical to know the state and quality of your drinking water before choosing a water filter. It helps to understand and identify your water supply and know the number of contaminants to be treated. The following are some popular types on the market:

a) Activated Carbon

This type of filter effectively removes chlorine, magnesium, sediment, organic substances, agricultural chemicals, and chloroform. It works through adsorption, which causes the chemical to stick to another while passing through.

b) Ultra Violet Filters

Bacteria and viruses are removed through these types of filters. They are environmentally friendly, and they clean the water using different frequencies of ultraviolet light. It is important to use them in conjunction with other types since it eliminates bacteria and viruses.

c) Mechanical

They are used for the removal of physical particles and waste matter hence used as a pre-filtration method. During this process, water flows through, and waste materials will get stuck between synthetic foam or nylon floss.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can you make lake water drinkable?

Through filtering and boiling, lake or other wild water will be drinkable since you cannot carry gallons of water to last you through your camping period.

2. How can you disinfect river or lake water?

You can use various methods to disinfect your water by boiling or using your unscented bleach. Your bleach should be fresh or stored at normal room temperature for less than a year. Moreover, the bleach should not have added cleaners or scent.

3. Can you drink lake water without treating?

Lake water or any water should not be consumed before disinfecting or applying any treatment measures. Viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and other microscopic organisms in untreated water can risk your health since they cause waterborne diseases.

Therefore, it is advisable to carry water filters and purifiers when going for a hike or camping if you run out of emergency water.

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