Disinfection of drinking water

Why disinfection of water? Even in the most pure and clear stream may have contaminants such as bacteria, protozoa, parasites, viruses, chemicals, sludge, etc. They got there by animals, people or other contamination. Since no one can say whether the water is safe to drink just by looking, the best idea is to use something that will remove harmful or undesirable contaminants. However, it is comfortable to relax with diarrhea, nausea, cramps or worse because you drank unfiltered water.
Essentially, there are four ways to disinfect water: chemicals, heat, filter and UV radiation.

1. Chemicals:
You can use chlorinated tablets 1 t .- about 1 liter of water. In the absence of tablets – iodine tincture 15 drops (Sol. Iodi spirituosa) for 1 liter of water.
Unfortunately, this method may worsen the taste of water. Moreover, treatment with chemicals can take some time before the water is fit. Chlorine usually takes more time, so that iodine is a more popular choice. However, some people are allergic to iodine and is not recommended for use by pregnant women and people with thyroid problems.

2. Heat – boiling water is a very effective way to kill the protozoa, bacteria and viruses. Boiling water makes all organisms ineffective. However, it is mandatory water boil completely. Heating water to 65 ˚ C for five minutes will kill 99.99% of all harmful organisms.
Although you need a thermometer to determine that it would use less fuel and time to prepare water than if you boil completely. Disadvantages in this method are the need for the use of stove, fuel and time. Boiling water also does not remove the sediment, so you may need to run water through a coffee filter, if dirty.

3. Filtration:
Filtration e system whereby through fine porous materials are separated mechanically external elements. This can be a quick way to disinfect water in comparison with other options, depending on how filtration can eliminate bacteria, protozoa, viruses and sediment. This is most commonly used method of disinfection.
However, not all filters have the same parameters and therefore different filters remove different contaminants. And mostly used for mechanical and not for bacterial purification.

4. UV radiation
The use of ultraviolet rays to combat bacteria, protozoa and viruses, is the modern version. Ultraviolet rays damage the DNA of microbes, making them unfit to reproduce and multiply. These devices are simple, effective and very fast acting. Disadvantages include the fact that they are battery operated, expensive, less effective in turbid water and require additional filtration to remove sediment.

Author: Ogi Stoyanov

There are many reasons to travel. My trips are based on my experience as outdoor lover, Outward Bound instructor and volunteer in social projects and attempt to share it

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