Water Treatment Process: Going from Raw to Treated Drinking Water

Water Treatment Process: Going from Raw to Treated Drinking Water
Finding access to safe drinking water is an important part of backpacking and traveling. Giardia and other parasites or bacteria can be found in waterbodies around the world. If you are backpacking anywhere or traveling outside of a developed country, it is important to treat your drinking water before consuming it.


Difficulty: Moderate


Things You’ll Need:
  • Water filter
  • Iodine tablets
  • Stove and pot, if necessary
Step 1
Put the intake end of the water filter in the raw water. Most backpacking filters have the intake on a long tube with an adjustable float. To protect the filter from clogging, move the float to position the intake away from both the surface and the bottom of the water source.
Step 2
Pump water through the filter into a clean container. Don't rinse the container with raw water beforehand.
Step 3
When your container is full, add iodine or similar water disinfectant tablets. Wait at least 10 minutes before drinking. This step largely serves as a safeguard since most modern backpacking filters do an excellent job removing microbes and contaminants.


Step 1
Add water to pot but don't fill all the way.
Step 2
Heat water on stove until boiling. Boil for five minutes. It isn't absolutely necessary to boil water for this long, but better safe than sorry, unless you are running low on fuel.
Step 3
Simply boiling water kills all microbes, but doesn't remove other types of contaminants. If you can, collect the condensed water vapor from the boiling in a separate container. This distilled water will be free of microbes and most contaminants.

Tips & Warnings

After boiling, let water cool for several minutes before drinking.

Article Written By Johnnie Chamberlin

Johnnie Chamberlin lives and works in Bloomington, Ind. He holds a Master of Science in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley. Over the last five years, he has written numerous articles for several magazines, trails.com, and other websites. He is the author of "Trails of Little Rock."

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