Drinking water^

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mikeybaby
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Drinking water^

Post by mikeybaby » Fri Feb 24, 2006 12:05 pm

When out paddling, more often than not my choice of camp spot is derived from the OS map indcating a stream on a steep gradient. Best chance of clean water using just a pan to collect it in

Do others do the same or do you use fancy pumps/tablets?

Most of my paddling is in scotland.

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Fri Feb 24, 2006 12:12 pm

I tend towards the same style, never used a filter or "tablets" in 30 + years and not suffered for it yet! That said, that was mainly from burns high on the hill in my haill-walkingdays - my preference for water for my daytime drinking is to use tap/bottled water these days. I suppose I just prefer to drink water with no bits in it when possible, and I'm less trusting of water at low level, especially in areas where people have camped!

Stream water is primarily for cooking, tea/coffee etc - ie: it gets bolied first!

Regs - Mike.

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Post by mikeybaby » Fri Feb 24, 2006 12:39 pm

I have used the sweet water pump and tablets/drops but that was when paddling down the Stikine river from Canada into Alaska. Unfortunately the heavy silt in the river broke 3 out of the 4 pumps and we were left to boil water (massive amount of grit in your tea!!!) or use the water made from putting the floating ice bergs into a dry bag and leaving it under the deck lines on the boats to melt during the day

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Post by Owen » Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:37 pm

In this country or Scandinavia I’ve been taking water from fast flowing streams for years; in the belief that they were well aerated. There was a report in one of the mountaineering mags last year that went out and tested mountain streams. They found that they weren’t as pure as we’d like to think!!!

In Africa I used a “Millbank Bag” (Army issue) which was a funnel shaped canvas bag. You filled it with river water and hung it over a water bottle. This filtered out the mud, twigs, insects etc. you then had to treat the water with tablets; this made the water taste like crap but there are some real nasties in African rivers. The main disadvantage of this is that you have to let the treated water stand for half an hour.

In South America we used a ceramic filter pump, this was quite slow, about twenty minutes for 2 litres. It took out just about all the nasties and left you with clean ok tasting water. Glacial silt eventually buggered it up. At the time they were very expensive but there seems to be a lot more choice now so you should be able to get a much cheaper one now. Or you could just carry on boiling it.

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tpage
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Post by tpage » Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:51 pm

It is very risky drinking untreated water anywhere in the world- even the pristine streams of Scotland. You are risking giardia, cryptosporidium and plain old E. coli infections. Even if it looks clean, a calf or a deer could have skittered 1,000,000 crypto spores into it last week!

Do yourself a favour- grow a silly beard (see other thread;-0), buy a kelly kettle and boil your water. How would you like to be stuck on the Flannan Isles with a chronic gastro-intestinal event and no spare underwear.

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Post by Gustard » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:04 pm

A couple of drops of Iodine will kill most everything and I even quite like the Flavour :)

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Post by Owen » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:13 pm

tpage wrote:How would you like to be stuck on the Flannan Isles with a chronic gastro-intestinal event and no spare underwear.
Ya, has some of that in Peru, my brother and I were biving on a ledge at 6000m, feet dangling over a 1000m drop and it was minus ten C. Not a good place to be ill.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:13 pm

Safest method is take it all with you; I fill my rear hatched compartment to the brim with clean fresh water at the start of a trip.
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Post by Mark R » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:15 pm

Gustard wrote:A couple of drops of Iodine will kill most everything
But not Guardia, as my wife can attest.
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Jim
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Post by Jim » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:59 pm

Did some research on cryptosporidium a couple of years back when my domestic supply was loaded with it (slight increase from the norm put it over some arbitrary limit and had half of Glasgow at panic stations), and from what I remember the crypto cists can survive for years before they find a new host to infect, and the hard outer shell protects them from boiling and chemical treatment so the only way to get rid of them is by filtering. Since it seems to be endemic in my water supply I don't worry too much about it but do take care not to crap near water courses in case I carry it......

I tend to go belt and braces for other stuff, boil and use tablets, and neutralising tablets for what it's worth - they don't eliminate the taste but do ease it a bit. Mainly I carry my drinking water and use sea or stream water for washing up.

In the Grand Canyon filtering the water is a must. We had a large katadyn stirrup pump filter and spare elements (they are cleanable to a point). Filtering was a daily activity, one of the guides would always fill some buckets with water as soon as we landed to let the silt settle and then we would take turns pumping away whilst otherwise relaxing (writing postcards, diaries, reading books, chatting, drining beer and so on). I would guess the containers we were filling were 10 litres or so (US gallon equivalents?), maybe 20 litres, and I'm sure with good concentration the best of us could fill one in about 5 minutes - there were plenty to do! That filter of course is a particularly high capacity one for large groups and I'll bet it will set you back several thousand and not fit into a sea kayak anyway! The smaller filters are presumably just as good, my tips would be to carry spare elements and have some kind of bucket to let the water settle in before filtering, you will save the element from a lot of silt that way!

JIM

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tpage
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Post by tpage » Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:02 pm

MarkR wrote:
Gustard wrote:A couple of drops of Iodine will kill most everything
But not Guardia, as my wife can attest.
I take it you mean Giardia and not a bad case of Irish police?

Giardia is quite nasty- and people commonly think that it is restricted to the developing world. We do get cases here. We used to see it in the Parasite reference lab in Glasgow. The trophozoites look remarkably like a smirking face

http://www.biosci.ohio-state.edu/~parasite/giardia.html

- And a friend of mine used to refer to it as " the face that lauched a thousand shits"

Interestingly the infection is called "beaver fever" in the states.. oh yes its friday!
Last edited by tpage on Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by runswick2000 » Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:06 pm

If you're interested in Giardia this seems to have all the facts!
Perhaps the greatest flaw in democracy is the idea that, if a majority of the population believes arrant nonsense, it somehow makes the nonsense true.

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tpage
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Post by tpage » Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:13 pm

[quote="Jim"] Since it seems to be endemic in my water supply I don't worry too much about it but do take care not to crap near water courses in case I carry it......

Jim if you were carrying crypto you would know... sufferers have been know to expell upto 20 litres of watery skitters per day!

The past trouble with Glasgow's water supply was the same as most outbreaks of crypto. Farm animals shit coming into contact with drinking water. Its amazing that Scottish water leases the land around Loch Katrine to sheep farmers. So the sheep can happily crap in the water.. but you are forbidded to kayak on the loch!

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:39 pm

tpage wrote:
Jim wrote: Since it seems to be endemic in my water supply I don't worry too much about it but do take care not to crap near water courses in case I carry it......

Jim if you were carrying crypto you would know... sufferers have been know to expell upto 20 litres of watery skitters per day!

The past trouble with Glasgow's water supply was the same as most outbreaks of crypto. Farm animals shit coming into contact with drinking water. Its amazing that Scottish water leases the land around Loch Katrine to sheep farmers. So the sheep can happily crap in the water.. but you are forbidded to kayak on the loch!
Yuck! Probably don't have that then! Can immunity be built up?

As for the outbreak I recall, it was Mugdock reservoir that was infected (dog walkers, or is it at the end of the Loch Katrine aqueduct system?) - my flat was right in the area marked as supplied from it, but I didn't know for the first 3 days and carried on using my water as normal.....!

JIM

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tpage
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Post by tpage » Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:19 pm

Yuck! Probably don't have that then! Can immunity be built up?

As for the outbreak I recall, it was Mugdock reservoir that was infected (dog walkers, or is it at the end of the Loch Katrine aqueduct system?) - my flat was right in the area marked as supplied from it, but I didn't know for the first 3 days and carried on using my water as normal.....!

JIM[/quote]

Im not sure if anyone has looked at repeated infections in humans- you may still get the infection but immunity may control the symptoms?

Mugdock holds the raw water that comes to Glasgow via the Loch Katrine aqueduct.

By the way- boiling and/or filtration (small pore) will work on crypto- most chemicals wont.

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James F
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Post by James F » Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:02 pm

I use one of these these...

Image

It's about the size of a permanent marker (i.e. quite small). It runs an electrical charge through some salty water which makes some type of chlorine which you then add to your intended drinking water.

Seems to work. Doesn't tatste too bad if you don;t overdo it. I haven't managed to break it or run it out of batteries/salt.

Highly recomended for people who like gadgets.

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Peroxide?

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:08 pm

Jim described filtering the water in the Grand Canyon. The guides also added a small dose (5 drops per 20litre jerrycan) of what they said was hydrogen peroxide. I had never heard of this as a sterilising agent, but Google suggests it is, although not common.

Chris

Rich Best

Post by Rich Best » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:50 pm

Iodine treatment certainly does not get rid of everything, and will be even less effective if there are solid particles in the water. So you should filter out debris before using Iodine. Personally, I hate the chemical taste, and don't ever want to get Giardia, so I boil (or filter and boil).

I recently bought an MSR ceramic filter to take to Spain because I don't want to have to drink hot or warm water all the time. They're really compact and light, and fit onto a standard MSR water bag.

Richard

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Post by andreadawn » Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:14 pm

James F wrote:I use one of these these...

Image
Looking at MSR's website, almost sounds too good to be true. Obviously doesn't remove particulate matter, but seems to tackle everything else. Anyone think of any obvious disadvantages?

I've always drunk water straight off the hill in the remoter parts of Scotland, but I get ever more cautious as I get older.

Andrea.

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Post by Canuck » Sat Feb 25, 2006 8:55 pm

The MSR pump/filters are excellent, and easy to service and maintain. I use paper coffee filters before pumping to extend the life of the membrane and ceramic element.

Most pathogens are associated with particulate matter, but as has already been mentioned you need to treat with Chlorine, etc to be 100%.

MSR's customer service is very good.

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Robert Craig
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Post by Robert Craig » Sat Feb 25, 2006 9:31 pm

Bit of a boring reply this - but I've drunk untreated water from Scottish burns for the proverbial more years than I care to admit (and I've never seen anyone do otherwise), and I've never had any problems from water.

Did have a problem once after a dodgy curry the previous day, but fortunately was paddling a Canadian which allowed quick exit.

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Robert Craig
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Post by Robert Craig » Sat Feb 25, 2006 9:31 pm

Bit of a boring reply this - but I've drunk untreated water from Scottish burns for the proverbial more years than I care to admit (and I've never seen anyone do otherwise), and I've never had any problems from water.

Did have a problem once after a dodgy curry the previous day, but fortunately was paddling a Canadian which allowed quick exit.

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steve-m
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Effect on Animals

Post by steve-m » Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:54 am

The thought that came to me whilst reading this thread was that other animals both domestic and wild seem to happily drink the water as it comes. Are we humans particularly susceptible? are the diseases concerned specific to humans? or do humans have less natural immunity and resistance compared to other animals? Or perhaps animals do get ill and we just do not know about it.
If it is a question of immunity can you build up your immunity? Years ago I did a canoe safety test in the river Thames at Marlow and was struck with a tummy bug for a week. However, subsequent trips to Holmepierrepoint on the Trent saw me free of problems when others were going down with a Trent tummy.
I'm not suggesting we should not treat or filter water, it's clearly a sensible action in many circumstances. I'm just curious as to how the dogs and the sheep and deer all seem to get away with it?
Regards Steve
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Heather Rainsley
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Post by Heather Rainsley » Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:24 am

I think that it's more a case of differing digestive systems.

These things do live in the digestive systems of some the animals you are talking about but; as parasites I think.

Its not in their best interests to make their hosts ill, just to soak up a bit of the nicely digested food that continually comes their way.

Our digestive systems are different, perhaps more sensitive, I don't know, so the illnesses affect us differently.

That said, when I had Giardia, I wasn't particularly ill. It was irritating (and smelly) but I felt fine. The antibiotics they gave me to get rid of it were much much worse.
Heather Rainsley

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Post by Dave Thomas » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:47 pm

Heather Rainsley wrote:That said, when I had Giardia, ....
Out of interest, do you know how and where you contracted it?

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Post by Heather Rainsley » Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:01 pm

I know I got it in India. Not sure exactly when though, I was there for 5 weeks.

We used iodine to purify water whilst trekking. I have since heard that iodine is not always reliable at killing Giardia.
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Dunter
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Re: Effect on Animals

Post by Dunter » Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:10 pm

steve-m wrote:The thought that came to me whilst reading this thread was that other animals both domestic and wild seem to happily drink the water as it comes. Are we humans particularly susceptible? are the diseases concerned specific to humans? or do humans have less natural immunity and resistance compared to other animals? Or perhaps animals do get ill and we just do not know about it.
Animals do get infections from these types of little nasties although not all species will show symptoms from infections, some species will just be carriers (for example the squirrel pox which is carried by grey squirrels but only affects reds, but thats a virus I think).

I would imagine most species in regular contact with bugs like giardia would either only be carriers (like beaver are I believe) or if they do show symptoms they will be mild in most cases. The latter is simply from good old Darwinian evolution, generations of exposure will kill off the susceptible individuals leaving those who show no or only sub-lethal symptoms.

In the past here and in certain parts of the world today this would have applied to humans. In Nepal for example, the local people drink untreated water with no apparent major ill-effects from giardia (though I'm sure some do suffer, especially children) whereas western trekkers are very suspceptible to it. I would guess that Nepalis have far more rigorous immune systems than us that protect them from all but the worst of infections.

Having got giardiasis and a couple of other bugs in Nepal I reckon my immune system is stronger than most in this country having had a good work out in Asia. Since being there I have always felt the best combined weight loss/immune system enhancer would be to simply sell pints of Nepali water (along with a few tablets to treat the common bugs). Might have a few problems getting licenced though...

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Re: Effect on Animals

Post by Owen » Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:52 pm

[In the past here and in certain parts of the world today this would have applied to humans. In Nepal for example, the local people drink untreated water with no apparent major ill-effects from giardia (though I'm sure some do suffer, especially children) whereas western trekkers are very suspceptible to it. I would guess that Nepalis have far more rigorous immune systems than us that protect them from all but the worst of infections. ]

This is of course is if they survive the first five years. Infected drinking water is a major cause of of the appallingly high infant mortality rate in Nepal and far to many other places.

Take a look at www.wateraid.org

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Post by Owen » Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:03 pm

Thinking about it don't just look at the website donate to it.

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Post by Gustard » Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:13 pm

I would also like to note with all this talks of immune systems the life expectancy of the Average Nepali would be lower than that of a Person in Western Europe and access to *clean* Water would play a considerable roll in this. Once in a while drinking dodgy water may not be a bad thing after all what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger. I believe its not such a bad thing to flush out the old system once in a while but to contiously posion your self just can't be good.

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