Recently, treatment plants and facilities have been shown to provide clean but not fully safe and pure water to homes and other areas. A portable water purification system comes in handy especially during low yield periods and emergency situations. The device provides you with advantages such as affordability, easy operation and convenience. Find out how to choose.
What Portability Means
A portable water purification system is also referred to as POU or point-of-use water treatment system using field water disinfection methods. These are self-contained units used by private individuals, military personnel, outdoor hobbyists and other people who intend to drink and use water from untreated sources like rivers, waterfalls and lakes. Generally, the main goal is to make unchlorinated water potable or safe and palatable for human consumption.
Bottled water has been shown to have a number of disadvantages such as having contaminants even after treatment. Studies revealed that most of the brands available still contain microorganisms and substances highly associated with serious diseases like cancer and typhoid. Portable water purification is also useful for the treatment of safe municipal water to eliminate chlorine, lead and mercury thereby improving the odor, appearance and taste significantly.
About Chemical Disinfection
Filtration may be the most common technique used in a portable water purification system. There are several others including products using more than one stage of treatment to ensure that water is at its purest form. Chemical disinfection is another approach which mainly involves adding iodine to water in tablets, crystallized or as a solution. Iodine destroys many pathogens that exist in natural fresh water but not all. Field purification becomes easy and lightweight. You may also add vitamin C in powder or pills to precipitate a lot of iodine out of the solution after it has worked well.
Chlorine-based bleach can also be used for the purpose of emergency disinfection. A couple of drops of 5% bleach per quart or liter of clear water and left to sit for 30 to 60 minutes can control chlorine odor and taste. Make sure you follow the guidelines for the safe use of chlorine and bleach. Chlorine and iodine however is not known to treat Cryptosporidium and Giardia cysts effectively.
Finding the Right Device
First, determine how safe the product is in terms of removing microorganisms and contaminants. Some manufacturers may base their safety standards with the requirements and protocol of the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency. Next, look for a portable water purification system that is easy to use with a history of safety and durability. You may want to refer to agencies and organizations that use the product regularly such as military groups and health institutions.
You may assess safety according to the ability of the purifier to remove contaminants. A microbiological micron rating of 0.018 can remove viruses and is labeled as being a purifier at safety level 1. Microfilters have a microbiological micron rating of 0.3 to 1.0 and can remove bacteria, viruses and protozoa labeled as safety level 2. Filters are less powerful and can remove larger cysts and microorganisms by having a microbiological micron rating of 1.0 to 4.0 labeled as safety level 3.
Find the right model and type that matches your activity and unit. Some easily attach to the top of a water bottle while others have built-in filters. Determine the type of contaminants to expect and choose the right product that uses the proper mechanism and purification technique that suits your requirements.
Peter Patterson is a health researcher and specializes on water purification. He currently is a contributing editor for The Truth About Water Filters, a site that offers consumer guidance on the top portable water purification system and much more.