Purifying Water in an Emergency part 4

Harry Weyandt

Harry Weyandt

By Harry R Weyandt, Nitro-Pak.Com Preparedness Expert

Most of us take for granted every day that when we turn on our faucet we will get safe drinking water.  In an emergency or disaster situation, where regular water service has be tainted or interrupted (such as in the event of a flood, hurricane or earthquake) local authorities may recommend using only bottled water, require boiling or disinfecting the water until regular delivery is restored.

The instruction below will walk you thru step-by-step on how to make your water safe for drink by boiling, disinfecting and filtering. However, boiling and disinfecting the water will NOT destroy Easy-As-123or remove other contaminates such as chemicals, fuels or bad taste.

See previous PART #1 beginning information,

PART #2 Boiling Water and

PART #3 Chlorine Bleach & Chlorine Dioxide.


Many camping portable water filters can remove disease-causing parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia from drinking water, though most will not remove viruses. When choosing a portable water filter, select one that will filter down to an absolute 1 micron or LESS to remove all parasites, bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae, spores and sediments.

Filters such as the industry leading Katadyn Vario*, Katadyn Pocket Filter*, Katadyn Combi*, group Katadyn Expedition* and Katadyn Hiker filters in addition to the LifeStraw Filters exceed this Katadyn-Vario-Filterand will filter down to .3 microns or less. The Aquamira Green Line water filters sub-micron particles also. These filters may also improve water taste and appearance with secondary carbon filtering. (*These filters use long lasting ceramic elements or a combination of ceramic and carbon filtration).

These filters are not effective in filtering out hazardous chemicals or ocean water. After filtering, add a disinfectant such as chlorine dioxide to the filtered water to kill any possible viruses or remaining bacteria.

In protected watersheds where pollution from humans and animals is minimal and for which the main concerns are bacteria, giardia and cysts, portable water filters alone can provide adequate protection.


Survival-StillSeveral water distillers are available in the market place. Distillation produces clean, pure and mineral free water from almost any water source with heat and steam. Most distillers like the popular Pure Water® distiller are excellent for producing safe drinking water so long as electrical power is available.  One distiller that does not require electricity is the Survival Still which operates atop most camping and kitchen stoves using large kitchen pots.

In distillers, raw water is boiled into steam, then cooled and condensed to produce pure drinking water. One advantage, especially for people living along the ocean coast, is that distilling units can allow you to purify not only regular water but also ocean salt water for safe drinking.


Portable Ultra Violet light lamps like the ones used in the SteriPEN units are effective in killing 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, giardia and cryptosporidium but only if the water is clean and the correct time exposure has been completed. To insure effectiveness, water must we swished around in the container during treatment to insure UV contact with the water by the lamp. Two possible things to consider if using these units are: 1) They require batteries to operate, and 2) They can only be used to disinfect up to 1 quart of water at a time. If using this method, be sure to store additional batteries or have a way to recharge your batteries.

See PART #1 to start your water purification learning.

© 2017 Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc. Click Here to see our full list of preparedness articles and blog posts.

Harry R Weyandt is the founder and owner of Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc., one of America’s oldest and most respected preparedness companies. He has been a leading authority in the preparedness industry for over 30 years and has been interviewed by CNN, ABC News, FOX News, The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal among others as an expert in his field. He lives in Utah with this wife Vickie along with their children and grandchildren. His hobbies are boating, camping, international travel and anything to do with preparedness.

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