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SkinWalker
Post  Post subject: Using Aluminium Sulfate as a First Stage to H2O Purification  |  Posted: Sun May 11, 2014 9:26 pm
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I've been thinking about water purification recently (for backpacking/camping trips) and a friend brought up the question of removing excessive silt from river water before using a pump or gravity filter (like a Katydyn or Sawyer).

I remembered some guys doing this once when I was in the Army -we were always honing our "survival skills."

Essentially, we mixed a few ounces of aluminium sulfate (alum found in the pickling section of a good grocery store) in a canteen then poured a bit (not much at all) in a bucket of water, mixed it, then waited 20-30 minutes for it to settle.

The result was a very clear water with the silt at the bottom. The aluminium sulfate bonded with other particles then precipitated from the solution.

Anyone have any comments on this? What would be considered a good ratio of alum to water? Any dangers to ingesting a bit of alum? Can one safely reuse the container it was initially mixed in with just a good rinse?

I sometimes participate with a local "bushcraft" group, and I'll probably try this method again. Texas rivers aren't known to be the clearest, though the Devil's River in South Texas is an exception. Packing enough water on a multi-day hiking or canoeing trip isn't always feasible, so a way to remove river/lake silt is pretty important.


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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: Using Aluminium Sulfate as a First Stage to H2O Purifica  |  Posted: Mon May 12, 2014 3:37 am
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I've used a Sawyer gravity filter usually without any sort of prefiltering. Once when we had to take water from a rather muddy pond I think we did strain it through a tee shirt first, which helped to remove the worst of the silt. We only did this to prevent the Sawyer filter from getting clogged. I don't know anything about aluminium sulfate though.

Incidentally, I've read recently that fears of giardia are greatly exaggerated - any thoughts about that? I'm not inclined to risk drinking water straight from the stream.


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SkinWalker
Post  Post subject: Re: Using Aluminium Sulfate as a First Stage to H2O Purifica  |  Posted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:44 pm
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i think as long as there are methods obtainable to avoid giardia it's best to use them regardless of the risk. If i were in a crashed airplane in some remote region of Montana and a stream was all I had -nothing to boil water in- i'd probably still look for a spring where there would be less likelihood of contamination.


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