Ultraviolet UV Water Purification
“Apparently the most endorsed method of disinfection for home use in the United States currently is an ultraviolet light (UV) system.” says this post from the Modern Survival Blog and I’m disputing that, it’s just that I hadn’t heard much about it – too be expected living in Scotland – so I was curious. I am also concerned as this method of water purification needs power. So, how does it work?
From the post:
“It’s technically not a ‘filter’ (it doesn’t filter out anything by ‘capturing’ particulate contamination in a filter media) however a UV (Ultraviolet) system effectively accomplishes the end result by ‘zapping’ organic pathogens from the water supply with a ‘UV’ light source.”
That’s the layman’s explanation and you can read a more detailed explanation in the post. But I know what you’re thinking, UV rays, isn’t that, you know, sunlight? Yes it is and the post explains that sunlight is also widely used to disinfect water around the world.
“The SODIS method is recommended by the WHO, UNICEF, and the Red Cross, and all it requires is sunlight and PET bottles (glass doesn’t work as well). How does it work? Clear PET bottles are filled with the water and set out in the sun for 6 hours. The UV-A rays in sunlight kill germs (e.g. viruses, bacteria, parasites, giardia, cryptosporidia).”
Ah, there’s the problem you see. It takes 6 hours and you have to use small plastic bottles. Nothing wrong with that, in fact that’s great information to know! It’s just that might not be enough or fast enough for some. Or, maybe you’d prefer a UV treatment system to “traps” or chemical treatment systems. Me, I always like multiple backup systems.
The post goes on to note that such systems are commercially available from small, portable personal sizes like the All Clear Purifier Pure Blue from Camelback. Here’s their description:
“CamelBak All Clear microbiologically purifies water in 60 seconds, using UV technology to effectively neutralize microbiological contaminants to EPA standards. Easy to use design with LCD screen. With each charge the All Clear bottle can treat up to 16 gallons of tap, stream or any unfiltered water.”
To larger home use versions like this S8Q-PA VIQUA Home UltraViolet Water Disinfection System. Here’s their product description:
“The S8Q-PA VIQUA UltraViolet Water Disinfection System works to reduce microorganisms in your water immediately and is suitable for whole-home water treatment in the average residence. UV light reduces living contaminants in your water such as Cryptosporidium, E. Coli, Fecal Coliform, and Giardia. During UV exposure, the DNA of the microorganisms is deactivated which makes them unable to reproduce. This treatment does not affect the taste, odor, or color of the water. Recommended flow rate for this system is 10 gallons per minute (38 lpm). Other features of this system include low maintenance operation without the need to turn off the water in order to replace the UV lamp, visual indicator for lamp life, audible alarm for system failure, and stainless steel chamber material construction.”
There are even larger systems available. But the thing to bear in mind, is that these systems do rely on power of some sort.
There are many systems which do not require power. For a complete guide to water purification and storage, whether at home or on the trail, or with or without power, see Pinterest page on water. There are even ways to gather water from thin air!
But the Modern Survival blog points out in their post:
“Other types of water purification systems use chemicals or very fine screens to clean water. While these methods are effective, bacteria can become immune to chemicals and viruses can slip through all but the finest screens. Apparently no known bacteria or viruses are immune to ultraviolet light.”
But they also point out that there can be problems with UV systems.
So just to be ready for any eventuality, Imodium is a must have for any prepper.
In summary, once again we see not one size fits all and no system is perfect. Be prepared!
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