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  #1  
Old 21-07-09, 09:55 PM
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A.J. A.J. is offline
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Default Water purification


Hi everyone
What water purification device do you use reverse osmoses or is there something else? Why do the reverse osmosis systems prices vary so much from R1200 to R4000
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Old 21-07-09, 10:14 PM
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I have used the following:

Tincture of iodine........brilliantly effective but has a slight taste, and shouldn't be used for long periods (your body has a limit as to how much iodine it should ingest in a lifetime).

Puritabs..........very good, but not 100% effective apparently (I've never had a problem).

Portable hand-pumped ceramic water filter with charcoal......you can drink camel pee after 30 seconds of pumping this little pump. It is brilliant, but hard work, and the ceramic cartdriges are expensive and fragile.

Due to overdosing on the first, I now stick to the latter 2 methods......and in all my years of travelling, all over the world, I have never had the trots or any upset stomach. You need the kit, and you need discipline.

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Old 22-07-09, 08:54 AM
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AJ, I have been researching this a lot over the past few months. A friend of mine is a Micro Biologist and he explained why the Reverse osmosis is the only real way... It was very scientific and I could not understand half of it. However, it all made sense at the time. It has to do with the fact that bacteria and Guardia sinks to the bottom of a container and with reverse osmoses you pump the water through a filter and leave the nasties behind.

If you look at prices, you should also look at lifespan of filters, flow rate and things like that. The MRS hand pump types are fine, but you'll notice that although they kill bacteria, they don't kill viruses. They generally have a .5 Micron filter and the cartridges has to be replaced every once in a while.

Chemicals are another way to do it, but they have their own side effects and issues. On Iodine: Since the 2nd world war, where nurses who were drinking iodine treated water for years on end had health problems associated with it, there has never been another medical case recorded in the world. Taste is nasty, but easily overcome by adding some orange squash or something to it. It does kill most of the nasties and is very cost effective.

Bacteria and viruses are not your only problems. Heavy metals is also a huge issue is some regions (Desert wells mostly) There has been studies that found birth defects and infertility in tribes drinking from wells containing heavy metals. You will never know that it is there because it has no taste. It is very unlikely that it will effect you if you're passing through and just getting some water for a short period of time.

The last thing worth mentioning is that your body needs salts and minerals we get in water. Another bunch of fancy medical terminology, but if you should drink only 100% purified water all the time, you will actually poison yourself and die of dehydration and lack of electrolytes.

Scared yet? I was. You should really not research this subject too much as you will possibly end up never drinking water again. ALL BEER IS SAFE

So here are the 3 devices I came up with:

One is a 12V unit from a South African company called Abundant Water Services. Their website has no contact details and the contact form has no send button, so I don't actually know how to get hold of one. Perhaps the website just doesn't work on my Mac, so try it on a pc. www.abundantwaterservices.co.za I think. The thing fits into a wolfpack container, kills all nasties and replaces salts and electrolytes. Lasts pretty much forever and only needs a service every 24 months or so.

The next is a hand pump made by First Needs. http://www.generalecology.com/category/portable This is $100 hand pump with replaceable cartages that also seems to kill all the nasties.Has a .2 Micron filter which is smaller than other brands.

The last one is called a Steri Pen. It's a simple UV light that kills all nasties, but does not take the taste of bad water away. It is however handy if you're sitting in a dirty street cafe in West Africa and you don't trust the water in the glass. http://www.steripen.com/

There is an option to drink only bottled water. You can buy a lot of bottled water for R4 000. However, in places like Nairobi tests have shown than 8 out of 10 bottled water brands tested the same as Nairobi tap water.... So if you go the bottled water route, the advice is to go into the most expensive hotel in the region and see what brand they use.

Good luck and don't get too scared....
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Old 22-07-09, 09:01 AM
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So Freeflyd, is boiling the water not good enough then?

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Old 22-07-09, 10:43 AM
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Again: Let's not get paranoid here, but no, boiling for more than 5 minutes does not kill everything. It does kill a lot of things though! So it is better than doing nothing. It does kill bacteria, but not viruses or Giardia. The only way to kill everything is through chemicals, reverse osmosis and UV light... Most people don't bother because their exposure to contaminated water is short or they drink bottled water.

BTW: Bottled water goes thorugh the Food and Beverage regulations and screening, which is no where near as strict as the regulations and screening that your municipal water goes through. So your tap water is probably safer to use than the water in a plastic bottle that you pay so much for.

We all know the theory of watching the baboons and birds eating fruit and thereby learning what should be safe for us to eat... Well water is a little different. People can car water diseases without knowing it, or telling you about it. So the fact that others are drinking the water does not make it safe for you to drink.

Nature has its own filters, and disease needs humans to spread. So the more secluded you are, and the more obstacles (Plants, rocks, sand, waterfalls) the water has to pass through before you get it, the safer it is. I often remind people that the water in Maun is recycled and treated, but the water in the delta has been filtered for 1000's of km from Shakawe to Maun. I rather drink from the Delta....



Giardia is the evil one. You can fit about 200 000 of these little suckers on the tip of a needle. It's a parasite that can cause all kinds of nasty things. If you read about it, you'll be a little scared.

It's not only water you should be scared of in unhygienic situations. These viruses and bacteria also clings to fruit and vegetables when handled by unwashed hands. I for one love buying stuff in African markets. I never eat fruit salad than has been prepared for me, not do I bite into fruit or vegetables without either washing it with my own, clean water or cooking it, or both.

It is pretty important to remember that unless you are immune compromised, most water borne diseases are perfectly treatable. Cholera, Bilharzia and most others can be cured if you know, or suspect you have it and get medical help soon. People die of water borne diseases because there is no medical help, or they don't realize they are infected or have diarrhea. (Don't know how you miss that one!) The biggest danger is diarrhea and loss of electrolytes that can be replaced by a saline drip or a simple re-hydration solution.

Before I started researching this I was happy to drink whatever water I can find. Now I think I know too much. It is a dangerous thing to know too much about.
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Old 22-07-09, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeflyd View Post
BTW: Bottled water goes thorugh the Food and Beverage regulations and screening, which is no where near as strict as the regulations and screening that your municipal water goes through. So your tap water is probably safer to use than the water in a plastic bottle that you pay so much for.
Well said........but don't forget that whilst legislation may apply in SA, that certainly isn't the case elsewhere in Africa, Asia and South America. I have heard that you can buy re-sealing kits for bottled water, so that even sealed water bottles may not contain what you think they contain!

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Old 22-07-09, 11:21 AM
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I disagree.

We had the water tested that comes out of the tap and it had a TDS reading of about 600. 125 is supposed to be good for human consumption.

So now we have 2 filtration systems. 1 at the house and 1 at the office. The TDS reading is usually about 50.

PS. We go through about 60l per day on the machine at the office in the summer. In the winter, about 20l

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Old 22-07-09, 03:29 PM
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I disagree.

We had the water tested that comes out of the tap and it had a TDS reading of about 600. 125 is supposed to be good for human consumption.
Who tested it? The guy that sold you the filter systems?

Plastic bottles with water in get transported on trucks and stay in the sun for days and weeks. The plastic actually melts a little and puts toxins in the water. If you have to drink bottles water, buy it in glas bottles. (South Africa)

Henris, your water purifying systems will be the best solution.
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Old 22-07-09, 03:39 PM
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Who tested it? The guy that sold you the filter systems?
.....................
Yes he did. But numerous others have also done the same test and come up with the same results.

Also took some readings from our duck/koy pond and that had a TDS reading of about 250.

PS. Beit Bridge Zim side's sewage is released 1 km upstream from the Musina pump house, into the Limpopo.

I think we will stick with the filter system thanks.

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Old 22-07-09, 04:16 PM
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Based on an article I read in GO magazine about water purification, I bought a small bottle of Aqua Salveo from Outdoor Warehouse, which I keep in the car, just in case we have to drink some water in a crummy area.

It is apparently tasteless (mixture of copper, zinc and silver salts) and has the SABS mark.

Their website is quite informative with long list of bugs its effective against (dont see Gardia on the list though).


http://www.aquasalveo.com/index.html


Regarding SA tap water - I find it depends who you talk to.

I met the Production Manager of Nestle (bottled) Water at a braai and he said that they get all their water straight out of the municipal mains and it meets all Netsle's safety requirements as is, they just filter it to make sure it looks nice.

Other people tell me all sorts of horror stories about local water and refuse to drink their own kitchen tap water.

Personally I drink straight out the tap at home all the time. But I'm wary of small towns and those across the border.
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Old 22-07-09, 04:37 PM
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Other people tell me all sorts of horror stories about local water and refuse to drink their own kitchen tap water.

Personally I drink straight out the tap at home all the time. But I'm wary of small towns and those across the border.
Ahmen! So do I! My research was about a Trans Africa trip including Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Uganda and a little fear for collera and bilharzia.

Giardia carries a bunch of those nasties listed on the list of Aqua Salveo site. Nice product!

Last edited by freeflyd; 22-07-09 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 23-07-09, 03:57 AM
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all I can say is living in Central America for a year I had Giardia and dysentery !

and both were nasty nasty things I was just using bottled and chemical treatments ! so chances I picked it up from something washed with dirty water etc..

but I now try to bring enough of my own and I am saving up for a large ceramic type one that rafters here in the U.S. use by katadyn for groups its quite large ! but will mount it on my trailer

good read this thread
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Old 23-07-09, 06:58 AM
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Will the system that we install in our homes work sufficiently to kill all the goggas.I was thinking of installing it in my camper with 12v pump.

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Old 23-07-09, 07:54 AM
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Interesting thread.

The scariest thing about South African water is that the authorities claim that we have of the cleanest water in the world. The way how they achieve that is to pump high dosages of chlorine and ammonia into the water. These chemicals kills bugs. Last time I checked, I was also a bug, albeit a rather large one. Apparently, our average dosage of chlorine is about 6 to 7 times higher than the maximum allowed in the USA. So, the price we pay is that we are bombarded with chlorine and ammonia. Just Google: chlorine cancer. I agree, we need to nuke the viruses, cysts, bacteria, etc with chlorine - I rather prefer high chlorine in my water, than dying of cholera or typhoid, but you need to take out the chlorine before drinking it.

It is said that at current age chlorine is the greatest crippler of human kind.

A good water purifier will remove the chlorine. Ours that we use at home is connected at the tap - you only purify the water that you want. I can immediately smell the difference between tap water and the purified water. The chlorine is overwhelming. Our unit uses both UV light and activated carbon (removing all heavy metals such as Uranium as well (Uranium is a by-product of mining)).

What is nice about our unit is that it is quite small, almost the size of a shoebox. You can easily take it with if you go on holiday. The only drawback is that it operates from 220V - I think an inverter would do the trick if you go on an overlanding trip. I will definitely pack mine in on our next overland trip.

Kind Regards,
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Old 23-07-09, 09:26 AM
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The Giardia gogga made me do some reading.

On all the reference sites, they mention that this parasite can be killed by boiling to 100C . < 1 micron particle filter will also do the trick.


I think with the combination of proper filtration (< 0.5 micron) and boiling, you will have a good chance of survival.

Here is a nice portable ceramic filter.

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Old 23-07-09, 09:42 AM
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I started my reading on a the subject on a motorbike overland forum (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/) so space was always an issue for these guys. The brand names that came up was: MSR, Katadyn, First Needs, Steri Pen and the chemicals mostly Milton and iodine.

My second step was to look at the brand names, their pro's and con's, prices and effectiveness including services and life on cartridges. Most these filters fit onto a 1l drinking bottle and cost between $50 and $100. They typically have a flow rate of 2l/min and work on a hand pump basis. What I would like to do is fill up a 55l tank once a week and not worry about water for the rest of the time. Pumping that by hand at 2l/min is going to be a mission!

I also looked at inline filters, but then realized that reverse osmosis is the way to go.

So at the moment I'm leaning towards this: I like that stuff AlanB told us about. (http://www.aquasalveo.com/index.html) for most water sources, but if I think the water is really dodge, I'll still put it though a 0.2Micron filter from First Needs to make sure even if it will take me an hour and a half to fill my tank.

BTW, boiling at 100C is great, only water boils at lower temeratures the higher above sea level you are...
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Old 23-07-09, 09:54 AM
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Try and find that GO magazine with the article about the different methods they tested (it was a few months back, some guys went on a hike in the Kruger Park in which they had to drink out of the rivers, if you send them an email maybe they will send you the article).

If I remember correctly, some of the pumps clogged up very quickly and needed a lot of work cleaning etc. At least one broke.

They were most impressed by the Steripen thing that uses UV light.

They were also worried about contact time needed for the different chemical options, but to me thats not such an issue - unless you are dying of thirst, one can surely wait 45 minutes or whatever before using the water.

On most of the survival programs/books etc they say if boil the water you eliminate 99% of the nasties.
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Old 23-07-09, 10:19 AM
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Something like this Ceramic filter ?

http://www.h2o.co.za/products/outdoor/micropac.htm
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Old 23-07-09, 10:21 AM
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Or this reverse Osmosis unit http://www.waterwise.co.za/mobile.html

The reverse Osmosis one looks like it will be the most cost effective solution if you look at the filter life.

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Old 23-07-09, 10:43 AM
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What kind of cost are we looking at here?

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Old 23-07-09, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
BTW, boiling at 100C is great, only water boils at lower temeratures the higher above sea level you are...
Yes, water boil at different temperatures depending on barometric pressure.

The boiling comes down to this.....
Water temperatures above 70 C (160 F) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 85 C (185 F) within a few minutes. So the higher the temperature, the less time is needed to kill the micro-organisms. Bringing the water to boiling point raises it well over the 85C mark. Not only that, but the water must then be allowed to cool. So the total time the water spends above 85C is significant and sufficient to kill pathogens.

Only on the top of Mount Everest you will need to keep it at boil (+- 74C) for 30 minutes.

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Old 23-07-09, 11:13 AM
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Spoke to Juan at http://www.waterwise.co.za (Bloemfontein), can be contacted on

info@waterwise.co.za
Tel No: 051 444 3955
Cell: 082 308 8028

The cost is as follows

The Roadrunner R4999 includes 12V pump and everything to get you going.
Built into a plastic ammo crate, includes water tank with automatic cut off float switch, smaller unit in physicall size than the Safari.

The Safari basically does the same as the Roadrunner above except it is built into an alluminium case, doesn't have a storage tank and no float switch Price is R6000

Regarding filter life Juan says the best is to fit a TDS meter (R280) and check TDS at the input and at the output, when the TDS at the output goes higher than 5% of the input then it is time to change the filter. Filter life will depend on the quality of the water filtered and also how prequently the pre-filters (particle filter and carbon filters) are changed.

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Old 23-07-09, 12:33 PM
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That's really expensive!

Sorry, but the first needs for $100 will do 5 000 liters in a single cartridge and can either do reverse osmosis or gravity feed if you're too lazy/tired to pump.

Pre-filtering is as simple as putting a T shirt between the water source and the bottle to keep the bigger bits of gunk out of the filter.

If you're looking for a filter for your home, it's a different story and I can understand the expense. If you're looking for a filter for trips, then the difference in price can fund a good few days on the road!
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Old 23-07-09, 12:41 PM
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KISS

99% of municipal water is purified by
  1. sedimentation
  2. filtration
  3. chemical sanitation

The first two are easy.
Pool chlorine will do the third.

You can add braces to the belt, by adding boiling and cooling between steps 2 & 3.
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Old 23-07-09, 01:54 PM
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You drink your water I will drink mine

Can the 100$ filter do up to 200L per day and can the T-shirt filter up to 5 micron before the actual filter ? Reverse osmosis filters have a pore size around 0.0001 micron. I prefer not to drink any chlorine if I don't have to. I have a 5 stage reverse Osmosis filter at home an believe me once you start drinking water filtered this way you don't want to drink anything else. Been using it for 3 years now and so far the filter cost per year is about R400 and you can do about 230L per day.

You only need one of these filters per group. You should also be able to make up your own if you buy a reverse osmosis kit from Makro at about R1999 then you just need to source a 12V pump and build it into a container which is basically what these guys did.

Diarrhea can seriously ruin your holidy not even talking about medical bills, hospitalisation, additional accomodation cost, lost travel time etc. I prefer to err on the side of caution and rather overdo it than taking chances especially if you venture into the remote parts.

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Old 23-07-09, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
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You drink your water I will drink mine

Can the 100$ filter do 200L per day and can the T-shirt filter up to .5 micron before the actual filter ?
Now you may have noticed that I said: If you're looking for a filter for your home, it's a different story and I can understand the expense.... If you're using 200l a day when overlanding, you should perhaps re examine your needs.

And you're welcome to drink my water. Comes straight from the tap in my kitchen. Been living on it for 35 years and haven't ever had a problem with it....

All my comments about this is about a portable system for overlanding when you should need no more than 10l a day per couple, including showering. That is the amount I have always budgeted for and I am yet to run out of water on a trip.

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Old 23-07-09, 04:20 PM
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Suum Cuique

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Old 23-07-09, 04:56 PM
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Although the price will be about R5k I still think this is a good idea for when on a trip
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Old 23-07-09, 05:56 PM
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In Zambia I used a product called Chlorin, (not sure of the spelling) It came in a little blue bottle, about 100 ml.
You basically put 1 or 2 ml in to a 2L bottle and shake it up, leave the top off until the strong chlorine smell has gone and your good to go. It kept me healthy for a month camping on the upper Zambezi.
I think growing up drinking from rivers etc (and Ma Baker at Zim boarding school) helps give a cast iron gut, Ive has lots of lurgys - Hep A, meningitis, bilharzia, malaria etc havent had the runs for years!
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Old 23-07-09, 07:45 PM
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The water filter I mentioned in my first posting, in case anyone is interested, is a Katadyn Combi.........

http://www.katadyn.com/usen/katadyn-...dyn-combi-usa/

With a large ceramic filter (impregnated with silver) and rechargeable carbon filter. As I said, this will enable you to safely drink stale camel pee......(Feel free to try this source and let me know!)

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Old 23-07-09, 08:27 PM
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I can see the need for filters and purifiers, especially when water may be the bearer of disease, but to constantly drink water that is almost sterile may cause your immune system to become "lazy", the first time you drink "regular" tap water may just result in some rather messy gypo guts.

Is it possible also that food prepared in ordinary tap water can have a similar effect on sensitive guts ?

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Old 23-07-09, 09:57 PM
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Thanks for all the info guys a lot off reading to do now.
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Old 23-07-09, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Gaitshi Gubib View Post
I can see the need for filters and purifiers, especially when water may be the bearer of disease, but to constantly drink water that is almost sterile may cause your immune system to become "lazy", the first time you drink "regular" tap water may just result in some rather messy gypo guts.

Is it possible also that food prepared in ordinary tap water can have a similar effect on sensitive guts ?
This is a good point Johan.

I think the sensible thing to say is that when you are in your own local area you are likely to be ingesting bugs that you are used to, and have an immunity to. However, when you travel the bugs will be different and you simply don't have the time to acquire immunity.......and can probably do without a fortnight of the trots whilst you try and develop that immunity as well as enjoy a holiday!

My brother and his mate went on the Nile in Egypt in a local fishing boat for 4 or 5 days, and they took no fresh water with them. The fisherman scooped brown fetid water out of the river to cook with, carefully avoiding the dead animals and the faeces floating by, and as a result, the two soft Pommies had dysentry for weeks.........However, he now reckons he is immune to every water-borne bug that the planet has ever known! (He also "produced" a worm that climbed out of the toilet when he got back to England!!!)

Tell you what...........I'll stick to my way!

Mike

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Old 24-07-09, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Gaitshi Gubib View Post
I can see the need for filters and purifiers, especially when water may be the bearer of disease, but to constantly drink water that is almost sterile may cause your immune system to become "lazy", the first time you drink "regular" tap water may just result in some rather messy gypo guts.

Is it possible also that food prepared in ordinary tap water can have a similar effect on sensitive guts ?

We've experienced just that! When ever we go away for a weekend -SWAMBO get sick from the water, so now we take plenty of bottled water along. This works OK on weekend trips, but on any trip longer than 10 days where we used bottled water, we get sick when we get back home and use tap water!
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Old 24-07-09, 08:43 AM
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@ Mike: Ya man. The Katadyn, MSR, First Needs and a range of others look and work alike with similar efficiencies. I'm on your side with this one! They are inexpensive and effective enough. Ad some of them drops that AlanB mentioned and I'm confident you'll be sorted. They don't take out the minerals and salts we need in our water. I also agree on the immune system. We are used to the bugs around us, but not the bugs in the regions we travel in.

@Gaitshi: I also agree with you 100% . You'll notice that the R4k plus purifiers actually ad minerals back to the water as a last step. Sterile water with no salts and minerals added is actually poisonous to your body. There is a difference between "filtering" water and "purifying" water. Filtering water takes some nasties out and purifying water takes everything out.

@Uys: Now for you guys I would reccomend a decent purifier or a big water tank for trips. I wouldn't trust the bottled water in Africa. Especially not Tanzania and further north.
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Old 27-07-09, 06:55 AM
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hi Guys, we have a place on the Vaal dam and our property is on solid rock (the closest neighbor that drilled went down to 360m with no water!). So after much investigation we found a German inline garvity filter and some extra processes.

The water gets pumped straight out of the dam and through into a standard pool sand filter into a 5000l heaedr tank. in the header tank is a small jacuzi cholrine floater to keep the stagnant water fine (only a weekend place) Then we pass the water through this inline filter (can remember the name - any one is interested let me know and I will go through my files), this removes anything upto .0001 micron and then through a standard koi UV light into the house. Each tap has a small charcoal filter to remove the chorine and we have pure water as tested by SABS.

Apperntly we could pump the water straight out of the septic tank through this system and it would be fine - HAVEN'T TRIED THIS YET!!!!
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Old 27-07-09, 12:44 PM
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Hi Guys,

I own a water company called Aquaholics, i import water dispensers, filters etc. i also produce purified water. Municipal water varies in TDS levels, and i have never measured it lower than 184ppm (125ppm supposed to be ok). we purify by means of RO and reduce the TDS to 4ppm. this goes through 0.001 micron membrane (1 thousanth mm) of 100L municipal we get about 20L purified h20. the we ozonate this water (ozone kills bacteria 6000 times faster than chlorine.
Consider the cost:
purchasing a RO unit
Installation of RO unit
Filter and membrane replacement

Verus

Purchase of water dispenser
Buying 20l purified H20

I think a water dispenser is a better option. Also i sell hand pumps that fit on these 20L bottle which is ideal for camping/caravaning

regards
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  #38  
Old 27-07-09, 01:02 PM
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Yeahbut.........20l will last 4 people about 2 days! I would be pretty silly to try and cart with you all the water you needed for a two or 3 weeks up-country trip.

Mike

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Old 27-07-09, 01:11 PM
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So for short-ish trips, i.e. 4-5 weeks, is thr Jik/Milton/Iodine approach still a good option?
At 1 teaspoon per 20L.?

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Old 27-07-09, 01:52 PM
Tony Weaver Tony Weaver is offline
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Hi All,

Just spotted this thread after a couple of weeks away. For years now, we have been using just the one method - filter the water through a heavy duty cotton sock (Chlorofloc used to sell them with their tablets when they were still on the market) and add one tablet of Puritab or other purification tab per two litres if the water is clear, one per one litre if not clear.

For heavily polluted/dodgy water we use a small backpacker size Katadyn filter which is the bees knees. Essential to use something akin to this if you have small kids, as they are particularly prone to bugs.

BUT and this is the key point that hasn't been pointed out here yet: it is no use religiously filtering all your water and then you go off and do one of three silly things - 1) order a drink in a pub that has ice in it 2) order a salad in a restaurant 3) make your own salad from veggies bought in the market.

Never trust the ice if you don't trust the local water. Similarly, never trust the salads. To put it politely, many farmers in rural areas fertilise their fields with "night soil", ie c..p. Wash all your non-peelable veggies, salad etc in a strong solution of purified water and Milton (baby bottle sterilising fluid).

We let our guard slip on this one while on the island of Lamu some years ago and my wife and I both ended up with very nasty hepatitis A.

As for bottled water, there was a huge scandal in Kenya in the early 90s when it was found that the most popular brand of bottled water, Kilimanjaro ("We bottle pure spring water from Mount Kilimanjaro") was in fact Mombasa municipal water. They weren't lying though - Mombasa's main water supply is a pipeline from Kili.

Tony (note the new baby in the family signature)

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Last edited by Tony Weaver; 27-07-09 at 01:56 PM.
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  #41  
Old 27-07-09, 02:38 PM
Rob McKechnie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajduplooy View Post
Hi everyone
What water purification device do you use reverse osmoses or is there something else? Why do the reverse osmosis systems prices vary so much from R1200 to R4000
Hi,
Having just returned from the Okavango, Moremi, Linyanti and Chobe at the end of June 2009 where we spent 5 great weeks, prior to my departure I investigated a range of water purification solutions. I have a Desert Wolf Trailer with Stainless Steel tanks and the solution I finally selected was supplied by H2O International in Cape Town and comprised of a portable Ozone Generator and ceramic filters. Ozone (O3) is a three-atom allotrope of oxygen (O2). Ozone is a natural ingredient of the earths upper atmosphere and exists in a gaseous form at ambient conditions. The Ozone Generator converts oxygen (O2) into Ozone (O3) It works this way...you connect your very compact and portable Ozone Generator to a Power source which draws 100 watts, you circulate the contents of your water tank using your trailer pump through a venturi in which the Ozone gas in injected (in my case 150 litres) for 20 minutes, this is done every time you fill potentially contaminated water into the tank. It is claimed that the Ozone destroys most if not all known bacteria etc. There is no negative taste to the resultant water and Ozone gas; I'm told is what many bottled water suppliers use. At this stage you then disconnect your Ozone Generator and store it in the ammo box. When you dispense your water, it then passes through 2x 10" Clear Filters, first a eCarbex Carbon Block Filter and then a Doulton Sterasyl Ceramic Cartridge which removes all the impurties. They guarantee that at this stage greater than 99.99 percent of E.Coli, Choler, Shigella, Typhoid, Klebsiella Terrigena, Cryptosporidium and Giardia is removed. Having used the sytem for the past 5 weeks, I found it was higly efficient and provided us with enormous peace-of-mind. The contact details of the person at H2O who designed this system are:


Alessandro De Grandis
Purchasing- Marketing
H2O International SA (Pty) Ltd
Tel: +27 21 702-3262 Ext 204

Fax: +27 21 702-3270

Direct Fax: 086 508 8733


Regards
Rob
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  #42  
Old 27-07-09, 04:34 PM
freeflyd freeflyd is offline
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@Tony... Welcome back and I'm glad to see that everything I have researched, used and decided upon is the same as what you do and have done succesfully for many years!

@ Rough Stuff.... The water in the Okovango Delta gets filtered by millions of plants and roots from the time it enterers Botswana at Shakawe until it reaches you in Moremi. Drinking straight from the delta is a hell of a lot safer than drinking from your tap at home, or the water in Maun. The wells and bore holes in Chobe and the water in Lintanti comes from the same source....
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Old 28-07-09, 01:30 PM
bergie1 bergie1 is offline
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I am a retired medical doctor After some experience mountain hiking in Nepal, Pakistan and Peru, and elsewhere I have found the following the simplest way of purifying water:
1. Boil the water and make tea or coffee or whatever. You just need to bring the water to the boil (as I recollect according to an article from John Hopkins Hospital, one of the most prestigous in the world). This will not kill all the bacterial spores, but will kill all the organisms that cause diarrhoea.
2 Alternatively use 2-4 drops of Lugol's iodine (obtainable from the pharmacist) per liter of water. Let stand for 30 minutes, or longer if water is not clear. Adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) after sufficient reaction time will remove the taste. Iodine is an oxidising agent and ascorbic acid a reducing agent.
This small mount of iodine taken on the occasional trip presents no health hazard.
Chlorine is not as effective as iodine at destroying Giardia cysts (a common cause of a chronic gastro-intestinal upset).
Filters are expensive and do not remove virusses which are a common cause of traveller's diarrhoea and hepatitis.
I have twice had severe gastro-enteritis in 3rd world countries, but on each occasion this was not due to water treated as above. One does have to be constantly vigilant. On one occasion in Islamabad this was due to drinking fruit juice from a street vendor. The juice was pure and had no water added, but milk was added. It was only after drinking this that I realised that the milk had been dried milk powder reconstituted with untreated water. I paid the price next day with explosive diarrhoea.
Ice is never safe, freezing does not kill many pathogens.
Bottled water cannot always be trusted.
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  #44  
Old 29-07-09, 11:50 PM
vrensbhj vrensbhj is offline
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Hi guys, interesting to read all diffrent views.

Methinks we are over-complicating things with gadgets and misconceptions. Nasties are bugs (bacteria, viruses and most parasytes), some chemical elements (of which heavy metals may eventually become baddies because of cumulative effects and/or direct toxicity) and then our own rubbish (excreta and other pollutants) which can also be classed as chemicals.

Bugs: 99% of harmful bugs are temperature sensitive and can be eliminated by boiling water for 2 to 5 minutes. Will not remove chemicals and chemical pollutants. Most harmful bugs originate from sewage contamination. Bugs can also be effectively eliminated by small amounts of chlorine (Jik, hypochlorite, pool chemicals etc) with little or no side effects apart from the taste. Chlorine has the advantage of reverting to gas which escapes from water if shaken or allowed to stand for a few hours. Iodine can do the same, but remains in the water and can cause serious health problems. Not recommended for longer term use in any food or drink. If water is polluted with organic materials (sewage, plant materials etc), they chemically react with and neutralize chlorine, so that higher doses become necessary. Some of the resulting products of this reaction may be carcinogenic, again longer term use.

Heavy metals: Toxic and dangerous to all forms of life, though extremely small amounts are necessary in our bodies. Metals like Lead, copper and even silver tends to accumulate in the body (will not be readily excreted) and have severe long term negative effects. STAY AWAY FROM THESE CHEMICALS AS A MEANS OF PURIFYING ANY FOOD OR DRINK!!! It is inconceivable that people sell these chemicals to purify drinking water and even pool water. They are highly dangerous and are extremely difficult to remove from water, soil and our bodies.

Other pollutants (sewage, soaps, agricultural and industrial effluents). All we can do is to prevent this type of pollution, but for our current purposes, stay away, because these are mostly chemical pollutants which can contain virtually anything, and need sophisticated systems for purification. Reverse osmosis comes into play here, but it is complicated and expensive, and needs constant attention and maintenance. Not suitable for 4x4 purposes.

A few remarks about filtration. Usually fairly effective ('catadyn' types) to remove bigger particles for a short period, but soon become clogged and elements need replacement, otherwise they become a source of contamination. Can remove some bacteria and most of the bigger parasytes, but will not remove viruses, some of the smaller bacteria, and no dissolved chemicals. Provides a false sense of security because it removes the bigger (visible) particles from water. NOT RECOMMENDED.

UV treatment is ineffective in the bush.

Bottomline. First choice: Take enough water with you from home, but make sure your tanks are clean before you fill them! Pour a cup of Jik into the tank and then fill with tap water. Let it stand preferably overnight, but at least for three hours, then drain, rinse and fill with clean water for the trip.

If your water needs replacement on longer trips, look for a source of clean water and boil it for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and fill your tanks. Alternative, pack a bottle of Jik or hypochlorite, look for a source of fairly clean water, filter it through the best filters you may have available, and then treat the filtered water with chlorine. A folded towel (hopefully clean!) makes an excellent filter to remove particulate matter. Let the water stand for two or three hours after treatment before use. The longer it stands the more effective the 'purification' process and the less the taste and smell of chlorine, which can also be removed by shaking or decanting a few times between clean containers after the initial treatment period. Clean water can be treated with 15ml of hypochlorite (Jik) per 10 liters of water. Double this dosage if the water is not clean and clear.

Buying bottled water is an option, but find out where it comes from. If uncertain, treat with chlorine or boil.

Fruits and veggies. Cook or peel. Washing and eating in Africa may be dicey. Make sure meat purchased over our borders is well heated over the coals, even if you prefer it underdone!

Hope this long winded explanation will help.

Henri (retired micobiologist)
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  #45  
Old 30-07-09, 09:30 AM
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If chlorine is used, what will the dosage be per 10 litres of drinking water plse?
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Old 30-07-09, 11:38 AM
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Chlorine tablets for drinking water purification (such as Puritabs) are usually 1 tablet per litre, but read the instructions. There are plenty of good bits of advice in the previous postings about altering this if the water isn't clear. They are so cheap and readily available that I wouldn't go messing with swimming pool chemicals or the like.....just buy the right thing.

Mike

PS, I have just come across a new (new to me, anyway) purificaton tablet, and I am going to try some on my forthcoming trip. They are marketed over here as Biox Aqua by Pyramid, and claim to be 100% effective against Cryptosporidium and Giardia, as well as everything else that Chlorine is effective against.

The active ingredient is Sodium Chlorite (ClO2). It is claimed that it doesn't react with other contaminants in the water, and is more effective than Iodine (and chlorine), as well as being completely tasteless. All that sounds good to me.....

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Old 30-07-09, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Heavy metals: Toxic and dangerous to all forms of life, though extremely small amounts are necessary in our bodies. Metals like Lead, copper and even silver tends to accumulate in the body (will not be readily excreted) and have severe long term negative effects. STAY AWAY FROM THESE CHEMICALS AS A MEANS OF PURIFYING ANY FOOD OR DRINK!!! It is inconceivable that people sell these chemicals to purify drinking water and even pool water. They are highly dangerous and are extremely difficult to remove from water, soil and our bodies.
Hmm...alarming stuff!

What are your comments on the Aqua Salveo product http://www.aquasalveo.com/news.html which uses salts of silver, copper and zinc.

According to their site their product "bears the SANS 1827 Certified Quality Mark for Safety of Water Treatment Chemicals for use in the Food Industry."

They are used extensively in the food industry to clean vegetables etc and are approved by Oxfam international.
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Old 30-07-09, 12:03 PM
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The biggest issue I have with water in Africa with my current arrangements are the containers. I have some nice hard plastic 25 litre containers, which are great...........but as I am only out to the car once or twice a year, I am left with the problem of how to leave the containers between trips such that they are useable next time.

At the end of my first few trips I tried emptying the containers completely, drying everything, and leaving them open for the air to circulate. Inevitably, they weren't perfectly dry, and so some mustiness and mould developed. So, new containers........

At the end of my last trip, I left a couple of litres of water in the bottom of the containers with a dozen or more Puritabs dissolved in it. This really strong chlorine solution should, my theory goes, prevent anything growing in there. We'll see shortly whether it has worked!

Incidentally, on the subject of water........since my trans Africa trip I have always carried a short (6 foot, maybe) length of garden hose with a universal rubber tap adapter on the end. Filling jerries with water would have been a nightmare without it, and it meant that some of the more reliable water sources were available, such as within hotels or offices......rather than just an outside tap at a petrol station, border post, police station etc. Try filling up a jerry from a bathroom handbasin and you'll soon see the problem!

I also carry a plastic syphon kit........2 tubes with a squeezy bulb and a control screw, so that getting water out of the container when it is lashed in place standing upright isn't a big chore. Its worth its weight in gold!!

BTW, the above comment (vrensbhj) re Katydyn-type filters soon becoming a source of infection is slightly off the mark, as they are impregnated with silver something-or-other (iodide?) which is anti-bacterial and antiseptic etc. The cleaning regime for them involves scraping away the clogged upper layers of the ceramic filter core, (so the filter actually measurably reduces in size with use), and there is no build-up of anything. I agree that they should never be used as the sole water treatment method....but they are damn brilliant as a primary treatment for dodgy water. I always follow up with a chlorine tablet.

The thought of boiling all your water in the bush is just plain silly. The usual allowance of 2.5l pppday would mean on my forthcoming trip I would need to boil 10 litres of water every day. That would mean an enormous wasteage of gas, and involve more saucepans and kettles than I have room to carry.

Mike

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Last edited by MikeAG; 30-07-09 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 30-07-09, 12:40 PM
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The cheapest easiest way to sterilise water is SODIS - Solar Disinfection- no need for expensive gadgets or chemicals all you need is a clear bottle and 6hrs of sunlight. I have seen this used to good effect sterising the water in the slums around Nairobi and is used by NGO's all over Africa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_water_disinfection
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Old 30-07-09, 12:52 PM
Tony Weaver Tony Weaver is offline
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Agreed with Mike on the boiling issue, although I do this in addition to everything else if one of my kids has picked up a gastro bug, as happened to my daughter (nine) in Zambia last year. Add Rehydrat to the boiled water.

Re mould build up in the containers, Mike the best thing to do is get black containers so they don't let light through. My two 25 litre containers are both black, I leave them empty and sealed between trips, and the day before leaving fill them and add a small packet of bicarbonate of soda, leave them to stand for an hour or two, rinse and refill. Works like a bomb - and if there is still residual smell, rinse again with a bit of Jik, Milton or Puritab solution.

The hosepipe and adaptor trick is essential. I also carry a cheap Gardena high pressure nozzle, so that if I find tap water, I can wash off any mud and crud build-up from the undercarriage.

Lastly, I carry a five litre Addis bottle for handy use around camp, for drinking water only.

And Henri (vanrensbhj) thanks for your contribution - you're quite right about over-complicating matters. Keep it simple and lightweight. I'm willing to bet that more expeditions/overland trips are abandoned or go wrong because of overloaded vehicles cracking up or rolling than for any other reason.

Tony

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Previously Land Rover 1969 SIIA, 1968 SII, 1973 SIII and 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre.

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