How dependant are we on the grid to get our drinking water?

IMA SOL MAN

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I think the metal is sturdier, but its really personal preference.
I was thinking that in sunlight, the UV would help kill microbes better with the clear plastic...maybe not? I don't know whether or not the plastic will pass UV. Or, will UV breakdown the plastic, shortening its service life? Yes, the metal is definitely more durable, but IIRC, more expensive. Metal could be sterilized with heat, plastic would require chemicals...so then there is that aspect also.
 

kaichu dento

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In my area, water towers are considered relics and they've been aggressively removing them over the past couple of decades in favor of variable speed pumps. I think this is foolish, as once water's in the tower, it's all on gravity to do the rest of the work.
It's too bad that many homeowners understand the importance of keeping a rain barrel or jugs of water for when outages occur, but hubris from our employee decision makers leaves them blind to the value of backup water systems that run without power, especially in light of the fact that many around the planet wish for our demise.
I personally travel with a Sawyer filter and a collapsible kettle.
Got a Sawyer filter on the way already but am also probably going to still get the smallest Berkey model for the kitchen, as it's less likely to be called upon to remove parasites and pathogens based upon my locale, and far handier to utilize.
 

kaichu dento

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I used to use PUR faucet-mounted filters while the kids were growing up. Took it off for some reason, maybe the gasket leaked, I don't really remember, and just never got one back on.
I've never liked having one of those contraptions and using both them, and countertop systems at friend's houses made me prefer the latter.
…thinking of getting the Berkey…the clear plastic ones, or the metal ones. Any insight?
I'm planning on getting the next size down from the Big Berkey in stainless and also adding the stainless water level viewer so I won't have to remove the top or tap the bottom one for level checks.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Short term disasters, I like to have a good supply of bottled water on hand. During an earthquake, if there is structural or pipe damage, you may not have access to running water to filter. You may have to leave your home. During a fire, you may have to evacuate. Even if you don't, the water supply could be tainted by chemicals from ash. During a blackout, the pumps running the water to your home might not work. U.V. lights used to treat the water might not work. After awhile with no power, sewage can end up getting into the water supply and causing cholera. When disaster strikes, everyone needs the same basic essentials and there isn't enough to go around. You need at least a few days supply of food, water, and some spare gas for your car to get away from the madness. Get to where water and food are more abundant, then break out the portable water filters. Sawyer Squeeze is an affordable lightweight one. Have at least one per two people. If you're able to stay in your home, also have a gravity purifier like the Lifestraw Mission.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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In the foggy recesses of my memory, is a news story about some city in the north central USA, maybe Chicago or Detroit, that their water treatment didn't work for some reason, and they had an outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis. I think that was what it was, not sure. Anyone remember that? Might have been Milwaukee or Minneapolis, I just don't remember now.
 

Dr. Jones

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The town I live in has its own substantial reservoir and water-treatment plant, but things can happen - a broken main, a failure at the plant… or possibly something worse, given the times (hopefully not). For as long as I can remember I've always had alternate means of obtaining water for cooking, cleaning, bathing and flushing, even if it was just a pair of buckets and heading down to the nearby creek. Currently, the water from my roof catchment system should keep me going indefinitely, and of course I also have filters.
 

Dr. Jones

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In the foggy recesses of my memory, is a news story about some city in the north central USA, maybe Chicago or Detroit, that their water treatment didn't work for some reason, and they had an outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis. I think that was what it was, not sure. Anyone remember that? Might have been Milwaukee or Minneapolis, I just don't remember now.
That was in Milwaukee, 1993. Here's a peer-reviewed study on the outbreak if anyone's interested:

 

LuxLuthor

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That was in Milwaukee, 1993. Here's a peer-reviewed study on the outbreak if anyone's interested:


Stuff like that the Berkey would filter out.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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That was in Milwaukee, 1993. Here's a peer-reviewed study on the outbreak if anyone's interested:

Thanks for the research Dr. Jones.

Point here is that the Milwaukee city water was contaminated and the city did not know it, did not detect it, wasn't even aware, until people were getting sick. We rely solely on municipal water treatment at our own peril. While probably 99.9% of the time it is "okay", fit for human consumption, there is that tiny fraction, of .1%, that can slip through undetected. Hopefully, things in the potable water supply infrastructure have improved since 1993, but I have a feeling :poop: still happens. Even things like Flint, MI's lead poisoning, and I'm sure that there are a lot of other situations that have not made the headlines or haven't even come to light yet. The bottom line is, we should take steps to filter our water supply, in home, as a last line of defense against a slip up.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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Three decades ago…….

Mr. Peabody had to fire up the Way-Back machine for that one. :geek:
So, I went looking for my boyhood cartoon Mr. Peabody, that was on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, but found that he had been rebooted in 3D (three dimensions, not 3 D cells). I was crestfallen. People just can't leave the classics alone. Hmmm, I wonder if someone will produce a reboot of me someday... :unsure:

:rant: No, I don't suppose so. At least, not the "real" me. :crackup:
 

Dr. Jones

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Thanks for the research Dr. Jones.

Point here is that the Milwaukee city water was contaminated and the city did not know it, did not detect it, wasn't even aware, until people were getting sick. We rely solely on municipal water treatment at our own peril. While probably 99.9% of the time it is "okay", fit for human consumption, there is that tiny fraction, of .1%, that can slip through undetected. Hopefully, things in the potable water supply infrastructure have improved since 1993, but I have a feeling :poop: still happens. Even things like Flint, MI's lead poisoning, and I'm sure that there are a lot of other situations that have not made the headlines or haven't even come to light yet. The bottom line is, we should take steps to filter our water supply, in home, as a last line of defense against a slip up.
My pleasure!

You're wise to not leave your health to those operating municipal water systems; while they're assuredly quite diligent concerning their duties, as you state, mistakes and unforeseen errors can occur, and it's best not to leave responsibility for the quality of one's water entirely in the hands of others.
 
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I have the two gallon Berkey. My municipal water supply is highly rated by the state, so my Berkey filters last an amazingly long time, three years of daily use, and so far the filter elements still pass the "food color" test for filtration effectiveness. That aside, the water from the Berkey purifier tastes profoundly better than the tap water. Even discounting the safety aspects of having a filtration/purification system on tap as it were (no pun intended), the improvements in the water's taste provide immediate sensory satisfaction and culinary benefits. And if you still need convincing, know that when made with water from the Berkey, my morning coffee is next level. ☕
 
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To return to the topic of "where will you source emergency water", there are six permanent ponds and one small lake within one mile of my home. All but one offer easy access. I have a manual siphon pump, a battery operated siphon pump, multiple jerry cans (seven gallons each), and a heavy duty hand truck with oversize tires that allows me to move up to 600 pounds of weight over more or less level ground without assistance.

Also, with regard to filling a bathtub (especially before a hurricane makes landfall), if there is soap film in the tub your water is not going to taste it's best. More worrisome is the fact that many tub drain stoppers leak. Even a tiny leak can drain the tub overnight. There are however multiple companies selling bathtub water bladders. These are typically made of heavy gauge food grade vinyl or Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) plastic, and most come with a pump to facilitate removing the water when you need it, keeping the remaining water inside safely protected from contamination. Just search the phrase "bathtub water bladder" in your favorite browser and decide which of the multiple options is right for you. These bladders typically hold about 60-100 US gallons, depending on the brand. They are intended to be single use items, but I suspect that with a little chlorine disinfection treatment they could be reused, but it's not recommended. The water in these kinds of bladders will stay fresh anywhere from 12-16 weeks.

I've had occasion to use a bathtub bladder twice, both times during hurricanes, one while living in Miami, Florida, and one while living in Houston, Texas. Each bladder was filled before the storm made landfall, using a wide-mouth, resealable filling port. Both of the bladders I used were the 100 gallon variety. In the Florida storm commercial power was interrupted for five days, and water service wasn't restored until after seven days. After the Houston storm, power was out for four days, and water was restored on day five.

I didn't run out of water after either storm.

I see these as cheap backup insurance.
 
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pnwoutdoors

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How dependant are we on the grid to get our drinking water?

Severely, I believe. From what I recall of the descriptions of my area's water works, it's pumped using electricity to drive the system. With that electrical power, it'd just be water sitting there. In the few neighboring towns that have water towers, I suppose that provides the essential pressurization, but for most people on "city" water they'd be reliant on the electrically-driven system to get any.

Once was, many lived off the town infrastructure (or in the country) and had their own wells, with manual pumps. Of course, in many places of the country, the old water supplies just aren't producing like they once were. Don't have a well with pump, myself, so I'm reliant on the city system. Works well enough ... until it doesn't.

Would prefer being in the country with a couple of different wells, with manual pump as backup, with cisterns and gravity-fed piping to the house. 'Cause, you never know.
 

turbodog

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I am content to think that there are freshwater rivers, and lakes nearby that I could use to get filtered water, and or boiled water. But boy, oh boy, that would be an inconvenience.

...

Water has a high specific heat... takes a lot of fuel to boil it. So that solution is going to leave you short on fuel in short order.

Unless your water source is clean enough to drink as-is, then a certain amount of electricity is needed for "cleaning", disinfecting, ph adjustments, etc.

Covid should have taught us just how interdependent we all are on each other and there are no unimportant jobs.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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The Ancient Romans did it all with aqueducts and no electricity at all. We have become too dependent of vulnerable infrastructure, which is only functional in a law-abiding society. Of course, civil unrest or terrorism could also disrupt an aqueduct, but if water was delivered even during a power outage perhaps there would be less civil unrest. Terrorism is the wild card. Until every property has their own independent water and power supply, we are vulnerable.
 
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idleprocess

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We have become too dependent of vulnerable infrastructure, which is only functional in a law-abiding society.
The price any society pays for exceeding hunter-gatherer population density and technological capability.

Untill every property has their own independent water and power supply
A practical impossibility. Thus we should seek more cost-effective resiliency.
 

bykfixer

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I was on a construction project some years back and noticed a frozen pipe on a tanker load of "curing compund" had burst and was getting onto the interstate. Curing compund is a combination of water, wax and kerosene that is sprayed over concrete to hold the surface moisture from evaporating.

This one fellow thought he was helping and moved the truck away from the roadway. Trouble was now this stuff was getting into the storm drain system. The system that drained to the cities main resevior. Uh oh. The tank held about 1000 gallons and the resevior about a billion gallons give or take a few million. Yet it wasn't long before a white cloud began to show on the surface at the edge of the lake.

It was quickly contained, so no harm no foul but..... nearby was what is called a tank farm. As in about 100 tanks of gasoline at about 3 million each. Also nearby was a railroad where large lengths of train cars carrying hazardous chemicals like those in Palestine Ohio is dealing with. It's a very vulnerable water system to say the least. That was one of the few places I've ever lived that I wouldn't drink the tap water. Shoot, I didn't want to breathe the air there either but had no choice in that matter.
 
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