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Is Two Step Water Purification Needed?

Is two step water purification needed?  This could be in the event of a collapse of society, or on a hiking / camping trip.

There is a common misconception about filtration and purification. Filtration removes bacteria, protozoa and cyst, but does nothing to viruses. Purification affects bacteria, protozoa, cyst and viruses. Purification can be by any means – UV light, filters that remove a virus, chemical treatment.. etc.

Maxpedition Condor II backpack next to creek

Most water filters on the market have a pore size of 0.1 microns. The CDC recommends a maximum pore size of 0.01 microns for viruses. If a purifier says it has a pore size of .1 or .2 microns, it is only a filter.  A virus will slip through a .1 or .2 micron filter.

What is two step purification?

It is when two separate steps are used to purify water. For example, my first step is to run the water through a filter. Such as the Katadyn Vario. Then a SteriPen is used to kill any pathogens that slipped though the filter.

When do I use two step purification?

For the most part, I only use two step purification when I am down stream from where people live. While camping on the Angelina River, I use two step.  People living in rural areas usually have a septic system.  Sometimes the systems over-flow and waste water will be on top of the ground.  When a rain comes along, human waste is washed into streams, ponds, lakes rivers… etc.

While hiking in the woods there is no source of human waste, so rarely do I use two step.  the biggest threat in nature will usually be from some kind of bacteria or cyst, such as cryptosporidium.

When in doubt, purify

I have a saying, “When in doubt, purify.”  It only takes a few seconds to get the SteriPen out and purify a canteen of water.  Aren’t those few seconds worth your health or even your peace of mind?

 

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018