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Water purifiers
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Thread: Water purifiers

  1. #1

    Water purifiers

    Hello. I picked up a Sawyer water purifier recently. It's the anti-viral model, which, if I understand correctly, will purify everything down to viruses. This means the only pollutants I would have to worry about would be chemical?

    I'm fairly unfamiliar with the water purification thing, so anything anyone might be willing to volunteer would be appreciated.

    I thank you much.


  2. #2
    Hey Temposhot, Yes, with the Sawyer purifiers, you still have to worry about VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), such as water contaminated with fuels, solvents, paint thinners, etc.; some are even naturally occurring. I've had 2 Sawyer water purifiers for a while now. Originally, I called Sawyer customer service to ask about VOCs. They told me that as long as I'm able to siphon water from at least 14 inches below the surface, I'd be fine. (My assumption being that the water source is not rapidly flowing)

    If that's not possible to do with your given water source, activated carbon filtration is a great choice for removing VOCs. There are portable models available, such as the ones on this site:

    If you go that route, don’t forget to stock up on extra filters. The combination of a Sawyer purifier and an activated carbon filter is a great way to go. Worst case, sand filtration and even straw or human hair can be used to absorb or filter some of the VOCs.


  3. #3
    Thank you for the information.

    So if I understand correctly, carcoal filters in addition to the Sawyer would be the way to go.

    We also picked up a Katadyn before I heard of the Sawyer. Would I be correct in assuming it would not get rid of the VOC's where the carbon filters would? My thought is running water through the katadyn, and then the Sawyer might be the way to go, but only if the Katadyn's ceramic filter would do the same job as a charcoal filter.

    Thank you again for the information.

    Last edited by temposhot; 05-31-2011 at 02:03 PM.

  4. #4
    Correct – neither a Katadyn ceramic filter nor a Sawyer water purifier will get rid of VOCs. An activated charcoal filter is the best choice for getting rid of VOCs.

    A charcoal filter will not get rid of viruses, but a Sawyer water purifier will (not a Sawyer water filter, they sell both varieties). That’s where the combination of a Sawyer purifier and a charcoal filter is great all-around protection.

    I’m not familiar with all Katadyn models, but I wouldn’t think that one with a ceramic filter will get rid of VOCs like one with a charcoal filter will. Also, the Sawyer purifier will likely offer better protection than a Katadyn with a ceramic filter; especially against viruses.


  5. #5

    Katadyn filters

    There are many Katadyn models. Some with charcoal filters. Some without. A model with excellent reviews is the Katadyn-Vario Multi-Water Microfilter. It has a carbon filter where you just have to replace the carbon.

  6. #6
    Excellent tip – thank you. It states up to 500 gallons per cartridge. At a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day per person, stock up on cartridges accordingly. Activated carbon has no shelf life so, properly stored, it will remain useful indefinitely. The Sawyer purifiers are guaranteed for 1 million gallons; another reason I like them. Just don’t let them freeze. Pre-filtering cloudy water through a bandana, t-shirt, or coffee filter will help prolong the life of your water filter/purifier and reduce the need for back-flushing the filter. A Sawyer along with the Katadyn Vario is a great combination. My preference is two of each – two is one and one is none… Available clean water should not be taken lightly. Both home storage and securing renewable sources should be a priority. Map out the closest creeks, ponds, lakes, etc., and walk the routes to them judging the potential threat environment to determine the safest route. Remember that water weighs about 8.3 pounds per gallon. What will you carry it in and will you need a dolly or cart? Setup and practice bulk rain collection now. It doesn’t matter how many weapons and bullets you have, without water, you’re toast…

  7. #7
    Hello. I definitely appreciate the tips and recommendations. One question I have is whether it is necessary to add bleach to water if we were to run the water through the Sawyer, and then through an activated charcoal/gravel filter? (We would probably do this in the opposite order.)

    I have been storing water, but I haven't been adding bleach, partly because I hadn't found the information on using bleach when I started. My thought is if the Sawyer is good for virus-sized contaminants, and the activated charcoal/gravel filter is good for VOCs, would bleach be needed? Would you have to change it out more than yearly? I need to start labelling the dates we fill the jugs and cycling them, but I guess I have to admit to curiosity in that regard.

    I appreciate the advice and insights and I thank you again.


  8. #8
    Hi temposhot. No, you would not need to add bleach if you run water through the Sawyer and then through an activated charcoal filter. If you’re going to run your stored water through those filters, you really don’t need to add bleach as you store it. Bleach starts to break down after 6 months and begins to lose its effectiveness. (that includes any bottles of bleach you have in storage) If you want to have stored water you can drink without running it through the filters or treating it in any way, then I personally would treat it with bleach and rotate it every six months or so. I can tell you though, I read a post by a member of the LDS church, who are known for storing food and water. He said that they rotate water every two years if stored outside and every three years if stored inside. What he didn’t indicate is whether they treat that water before using it.

    I have some of both. I have large 55 gallon barrels that I do not rotate. I just check on them now and then for color and odor and would only rotate them if I felt uneasy with what I smelled or saw. I plan to filter or otherwise treat that water before use. I also have smaller 5 gallon storage units that I’ve added bleach to and rotate every six months. I like having some portable water that’s immediately drinkable without filtration. I rotate cases of bottled water through regular use. I have “emergency survival” packets of water that are Coast Guard approved for extreme temperature ranges for 5 years. They are great for vehicles, bug-out-bags, backpacks, etc. I also freeze them and use them in my cooler instead of ice. Keeps the cooler cold, and they provide a source of water when thawed. They can also double as a cold compress for first aid needs. Hope this helped.


  9. #9
    That helps greatly. Thank you for all the information you've offered. I really appreciate it.


  10. #10
    I figure this is still on water purification, so I hope it is acceptable for me to do this.

    I've been dragging my feet about getting the gravel. I keep forgetting to ask if anything needs to be done to clean gravel if taken from a stream bed? I have several places where I can access different sizes, and I figure I'd rather learn any tricks now that might be helpful when it comes to making something like that without modern conveniences. In this case, I figure nature provides the materials. I don't need to go to a quarry.

    Any suggestions or insights on this would be appreciated.

    I thank you much.



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