Slow sand water filter system

This guest post by Thomas T. Tinker

Just stirring the pot of ideas for the pack at large and those that have simply missed the possibilities. Thomas T. Tinker

While in a third world country with light arms and air support, I first noticed this style.. type.. of water ‘filter’ systems. Clay boxes and cement pipes, used drums and barrels, pots and 5 gallon buckets. Each had some form of cobbled up hose or pipe out of the top or the side. I got mine out of a ‘Buffalo’ or a 2 liter bottle and I never enjoyed the effects of the third worlds revenge.

Now folks this posting is not unlike the one I did on “TARPS” not too long ago. Short on plans and hoping to instigate a dialogue on the subject. Gawd knows I donwanna spend too much time on this cause it’s a Tuesday and I don’t wanna run into NatGeos Doomsday Preppers. Next to Storage Wars or Snapped…. Who’d wanna miss it!!! THAT LAST LINE WAS FOR THE FEDERALIES READING THE BLOG TODAY… I’M REALLY GOING TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN THE ATTIC WATCHING THE ENTIRE ‘LORD OF THE RINGS’ BOXED SET… YEEE HAWW.

I was going to do this a couple of years back but thought I had better put a couple together myself before I started blowing my horn. I started with a simple 5 gallon food grade bucket model I found on YouTube. One bucket and assorted cheap pvc pipe fittings and spigot. 2 bags of pool filter sand. A couple of shovels full of small gravel from the Cities ‘pot hole crew’ truck.. Thank You to the City of Toledo! One yard of coated window screen and one yard of swamp cooler filter.

Made a small two pronged forky looking thing with a pvc T and two 90s. Drilled out the bottoms of the tines with an 8th in drill. Ran a vertical pvc up the inside and 90ed out the side to a spigot just below the series of rings around the bucket.

Laid in the the ‘fork’ in the bottom and glued on the top 90 and spigot out the side. Laid in a cut piece of screen over the fork. Laid in 3 inches of gravel over the screen. Poured in the sand and tamped it down until it was about 4 inches from the top of the bucket. Added an inch or so of gravel and a piece of screen on top of the sand and topped it off with a layer of Swamp cooler filter. Viola! Settled the media down with the garden hose. Swept off the deck and dumped it in a bucket of tap water. Poured same into filter and waited. Go figure… it came out clear and clean enough not to ruin lunch or dinner… or eggs and taters the next morning.

The 5 gallon model is sitting in the back of the garage. Took about two weeks for the bio-active layer to form on the top. Ah… yeah. Last summer I repeated the same receipt with a 30 gallon gray pvc barrel. This time I used two 6 inch round lawn sprinkler heads and garden hose instead of pvc pipe. Screwed the sprinklers on to a hose Y and cut a section of hose to run up the inside of the barrel and through a notch in the lip of the barrel. I added another hose Y with shut off valves to the end of the cut section of hose outside the barrel and two more 2 foot sections of hose on the hose Y. Each of these two run into a hole in a 5 gallon bucket lid. Screen/gravel/sand/screen/gravel/swamp cooler element. Viola! I figure it at about 26ish gallons cause of the hose notch. Again…. Clear.. clean.. water. HOWEVER!

I use this as a pre-filter for my ceramic filter system cuzz I can! I use the 5 gal. buckets loads to feed my ceramic system. In the bottom of my secondary filtered collection bucket I leave a 1 ounce pure silver round. I have not taken the time to have this end product tested. In any nasty event, I would expect the ‘surface’ water to be rather ‘turbid’. When I have my 55 gal. system up, I’m not going to worry as much as I do now about H2O. Until I need it, the components for the 55gal. will rest inside the barrel.

Here are a few sites that will supply the pack with far more detailed plans and nearly an endless variety of filter styles to consider. Slow Sand Water Filters*** (Center for Disease Control) Safe water systems (Bio sand Water Filter)****
AND my favorite…. If you cannot find a design on this page… consider another layer of personal sanitation preps and storage of several regiments of Ciproflozacin (Keflex) 500Mg. tablets. One by mouth every 8 to 12 hours for general bacterial, intestinal issues with bowel upset. Not that I am giving medical advice cuzz that is the last thing I am qualified to do… Just Saying! slow sand water filter systems.*****
These sand filters are truly ‘plug and play’ items. They are used around the world in major and minor supply systems. !OPINION ALERT! A slow sand filter system coupled with a secondary ceramic or media filter system can supply a preppers answer to one, if not the greatest, problems faced… H2o.

Again, if there are any comments, suggestions, sources or simple death threats… I am.. your humble servant: Thomas T. Tinker

Let’s talk about water storage

by Cliff C

I’ll start off by saying that I’m in west Georgia and the bulk of our state has been under drought conditions for several years. I believe it was two years ago when our local reservoirs were almost empty (it gave the county a good chance to clean out the old tires (close to 1000) that had been tossed into the water over the years and to clean out the old sunken boats, junked cars and other trash and garbage that has accumulated over the years. The reservoirs have pretty much refilled and since there is no housing boom and so many houses sitting empty they will remain pretty close to full for the foreseeable future.

The only thing that will change that is if the drought continues. Our drinking water comes from a couple of very large pumping stations and several reservoirs around the county. In grid down situation the pumps would work for an estimated 72 hours before the fuel for the generators will run out and the ability to keep the pumps running will become iffy. The wastewater treatment plant will be in a like situation and they return cleaned water to the Chattahoochee River which is the main source of drinking water for most of Atlanta and a large part of the state.

The river has a natural beginning and is supplemented by opening the dam on Lake Lanier almost daily to keep the river running. We share that river water with 2 other states. Currently, Lake Lanier is about 15 feet below full pool and is dropping. So, public service supplied water sources will not stand up to the demand very long after a grid down or disruption.

So, with public water sources in question, I have to look around to see what local sources. There are 3 wet weather streams within a mile walk or so from here. Unfortunately, they are exactly what they are named; they only run when the weather is wet. Even though we’ve had some periodic rain showers, it has not been enough to keep the streams flowing.

No public pools, no private pools around within walking distance, no easy water source so, the only option is storing water.

I have tried various methods over the years for putting up water. At one point I had 10 55 gallon drums filled and sitting in the basement. I have a hand pump and put in the chlorine bleach and that left 550 gallons of water available. It took up a lot of space, was hard to move around and when it comes down to brass tacks, 550 gallons isn’t all that much.

I got rid of those and bought a couple of king size water-bed mattresses and built a 2X6 wooden frame around the first one, put in the liner and bladder and then filled the first one (no idea of the total gallons), then put a ž inch plywood sheet over that and built another 2X6 wooden frame to go around the next one, put the liner in and then the mattress and filled it with water. I took all the usual conditioning steps.

Again, this took up a lot of room and the vinyl the mattresses were made of seemed to be reacting to normal light, not just sunlight, so I ended up emptying those and tossing them. On the interesting side, when I cut the bladders up so I could move them they were full of algae. So, another great idea didn’t work.

I bought several of the 8-gallon containers from Wal-Mart. Filled them, stacked them and left them alone. Later as I waked by I saw a small puddle forming and one had sprung a leak. The other 7 or 8 are still intact but that’s still not enough water.

I have a 275-gallon water tank in the basement that I direct the air conditioning and dehumidifier condensate too and I keep it right about the 250-gallon mark. It’s gray water, not for drinking and I don’t believe it could be purified in order to drink but I could be wrong. We have 3 adults, 2 commodes and 2 dogs so we will need a source of gray water just to flush the commodes. We are on a septic system, not sewage, and my system is a pump system so as water fills the main tank it spills over into another 1000 gallon tank and when that reaches a certain level a pump comes on and pumps that water out into the field lines. I consider all that black water.

The pump and alarm (pump failure alarm) are both tied into the mains for the house so in a grid down situation I’m not sure how long it would be before I would have to uncap the 2nd tank and hand pump the water out. Nasty water, it would make a mess and smell but otherwise all the water would come back into the house. I’ve bough a small generator but not sure how long it would hold out or what to do if the pump in the tank goes bad.

Now, I do keep between 40 and 50 cases of bottled water on hand all the time. That’s not going to last all that long when all your food is dehydrated and has to have water to be edible. I have a dozen half-gallon bottles in the storm shelter in case we get stuck there but in the global scheme of things that’s not much water either. I have a “bathtub bob” for each of the two tubs and I think each one will hold about 60 or 70 gallons (too lazy to look it up) and sit in the tub and we will be able to pump potable water from them. That’s provided we get enough warning before the public water service goes away.

I have rain barrels at all my rain spouts but with our spotty rain most of them are sitting really close to empty right now.

So, those were my options and the steps I took. I know I could order a large bladder or series of bladders from the people who make water tanks and they could be filled from the faucet at the back of the house as long as I have a water safe hose. Again this would be time-consuming, it’s not something you want to leave in place just in case (kills the grass it sits on and looks really unsightly but given enough thought and time that would be an option. Failing to get them in or to get them filled will be a bad situation.

So, what other options are there? You can not drill a well here. Most of Georgia sits on a giant granite slab (see the pictures of Stone Mountain if you get a chance to google it) so any digging down is going to be met by rock. Also, since all the houses within the immediate 5 or 6-mile circle are all on septic tanks so black/gray water is going into the ground water all the time. We also have no idea of how much chemicals have gone into the ground water over the years from the asphalt manufacturing plant (ah, asphalt in the morning, it doesn’t remind me of war). There is a quarry but the “quarry lake” is pretty much dried up.

So, ideas? We are not bugging out. I have older family members and responsibilities to my neighbors so we’re going nowhere. I have also been told by GEMA that even though they have an evacuation plan, there is nowhere for people to evacuate to. One state is not going to take all the people from another state in, share their supplies and welcome us with open arms. So, here we sit. Also, all the routes out of here are easily blocked as we saw when we had an epic flood 3 or so years ago and there were no roads in or out of our county that weren’t underwater and if you didn’t have a boat you were going nowhere.

I’d love to hear what you are doing; what you consider a reasonable amount of water to put up (no way I can see to have a years worth of water on hand unless you have your own well or your own water tower), and how you store it. I believe when the SHTF there are going to be a lot of thirsty people around with no access to potable water. What do you think?

How to Get Clean, Safe Drinking Water in an Emergency

by Kirk S

Everyone agrees that you should have an emergency supply of water. Most experts advise that you should have a minimum water supply for 72 hours and the CDC recommends that you have 1 gallon of water for each person in your family for each day. If you have a family of 4 you will need 12 gallons of water for those 72 hours. This is pretty easy to do with bottled water. Bottled water is pre-packaged and has clear expiration dates so you know that the water is still safe to drink.

Acquiring safe drinking water becomes a little more difficult if you need to abandon your home or if the emergency lasts longer than 72 hours. Each case requires an understanding of water safety, contamination, and treatment.

Choose the right water source

Water from flowing streams and rivers is always preferable to the stagnant water in ponds or lakes. Always try to choose water as close to the water source as possible. In many cases, spring water coming out of the ground will be the safest for drinking. As much as possibly, try to avoid water that is down river from towns and industry. Waste and pollutants often find their way into the water systems. Likewise, water near to agricultural land can be a problem. Fertilisers and pesticides soak into the land, and through rainfall and runoff, will get into the streams and rivers.

Avoid water in marshes and swamps or where algae is growing. Trying to find the cleanest water will make your life much easier. With the being said, there are times when you do not have any choice about the water that is available to you. This is where it is best that you understand the potential contaminants in the water and the technology needed to remove them.

Water pollutants

To make water completely safe to drink, five types of contaminates need to be eliminated:

  • Turbidity: visible dirt – sand, silt or mud
  • Chemical pollutants: from heavy metals to pesticides – often associated with mining, agriculture and forestry
  • Viruses: biological agent that reproduces in the cells that they infect
  • Bacteria: single-cell organisms found everywhere. Some of them cause infectious diseases. These include E. Coli, cholera, typhoid, etc.)
  • Parasites: waterborne parasites are single-cell organisms (such as protozoa, Cryptosporidium and Giardia) or multi-cell organisms (such as worms) that live in or on other living organisms.

How to purify water

Depending on the level of contamination that you are dealing with, there are a variety of methods you can choose. Water purification technology has advanced quite a bit over the last few years and there are numerous methods for getting rid of the nastiness in contaminated water. Unfortunately, getting clean, safe, good tasting drinking water requires more than one filtration medium. Below are different filtration methods and what they remove.


Boiling water for at least one minute will kill or deactivate all viruses, pathogens, bacteria and protozoa. This is an easy way to filter water with no special equipment and you can treat a lot of water at one time so it is good for large groups or families. Boiling does not remove chemical pollutants or clarify turbidity in the water. Boiling also requires a fuel source to burn which is sometimes difficult to come by.


A water filter is generally a device that blocks impurities or particles from passing through it. This works through size exclusion where the holes in the filter are so small that the bacteria cannot fit. Most filtration of this kind is called Hollow Fiber.


Adsorption normally refers to a product like activated carbon. There are a few forms of activated carbon (granular, powder, and fiber). The small pores in the carbon increases the surface area of adsorption. Activated carbon is ideal for removing chemicals, metals, and turbidity of water. It also improves the taste of your water and has faster flow rates. Activated Carbon Fiber is a fibrous adsorbent that has 10x higher adsorption than traditional activated carbon and gives you faster flow rates.

UV light purifiers

This method uses UV rays to blast microbes and organisms in the water. This neutralises them and renders them harmless to humans. UV purifiers require a power source (generally batteries) and are potentially fragile, leaving you without filtration.

Filtration Products


One of the most popular filtration straws on the market. Originally designed as an emergency water treatment method, straws are also well suited for time in the backcountry and are cheap to throw in an emergency pack. The LifeStraw has a hollow fiber membrane filter that cleanses the water as you sip it straight from the source. LifeStraw does not remove viruses and it can only be used directly from the water source.

Hand Pumps

Hand pump filters are common for backpackers and have the ability to filter large amounts of water. Hand pumps are generally reliable and easy to use. Hand pumps have small filter pore sizes so they can remove more particulate, but this reduces the flow rate of water. Most hand pumps are heavy and have multiple pieces that can get lost. Also, very few hand pumps can remove viruses. There are a few lately that have been released on the market that give you complete viruses protection.

Gravity Filters

Gravity filters are a three step process that are great for groups of people at a campsite or have time to set up a semi-permanent installation. Most gravity filters have a large water reservoir that is filled with dirty water. It will have a tube that is connected to the filter medium and another tube attached to the clean water receptacle. Most gravity filters are made of hollow-fiber which allows for fast flow rates. Gravity filters are hassle-free, light-weight and can collapse down to save space. These systems do not protect against viruses and you need quite a bit of water to make the system work.

In-Line Filters

Another very common filter is an in-line filter and most people are aware of the Sawyer Mini. It is one of the lightest filters on the market. It is economical to use and can used with a water reservoir, a collapsible canteen, as a straw and can be threaded onto a water bottle. This type filter will filter up to 100,000 gallons if you continue to backflush it and take care of the filter. The filter is great for a single user, but not very good for larger groups. This type of filter also does not remove viruses and does nothing to remove chemicals and metals.

Chemical Treatment

Chemical water treatment methods, most commonly contain iodine or chlorine dioxide. This is a lightweight option, is good for treating large amounts of water and kills viruses found in the water. The downside is it takes a few hours to treat the water and leaves a negative taste in the water. This treatment does not’t remove the turbidity of water.

A small company out of Utah recently released an adaptable water filter that they believe fixes many of the problems with single use water filters. The MUV Adaptable Water Filter is a multi-stage water filter that can be modified and used based on the water contamination that you are dealing with. Not only does it remove all of the water pollutants covered above, including viruses, but it is also versatile in the way it can be used. You can easily modify the filter to work in a water bottle, as an in-line filter, as a gravity system, as a straw, threaded onto a 28mm soda bottle, and as a pump. The MUV was released on Kickstarter on May 24th and reached its backing goal in just 72 hours. There is still time to back their Kickstarter project and you can see their Kickstarter video below.

With the different MUV filter modules you are able to completely control how your water filter works and what it removes. Using the chart above you are able to determine which module is right for you given your current water situation. You can easily combine one or more of the modules to get superior filtration.


MUV can adapt to your lifestyle or your needs. With a few simple adapters you can go from using MUV in a water bottle to a hydration system to a pump. No longer do you need to buy a variety of separate water filters that are incompatible with each other. Now you can easily buy one system that covers 99.9% of all your water filtration needs.

Check out the MUV Adaptable Water Filter and get in on one of the most innovative products to hit the water filter industry in years.

How to make a pre filter using an inline RV water filter

Water Storage Tips and Advice 101

Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest –Boatswain’s Mate from Florida

Greetings to all. I would like to write about my experience with water storage over the years. First and foremost, water is hands down the most important tangible item in a survival scenario. There are countless articles written on food storage, guns, bug out this, bug in that and multiple other survival gear and items.

The fact is, without water….your dead. The human body can only survive a few days without water, but can go a few weeks without food. Sure you can “bug out” and snare game, or kill a deer for food, but how are you going to wash your hands after you dress an animal, clean your cookware or wash down that game flavored goodness that you are probably not used to? So here is a short article on water basics covering procurement, storage, filtration and usage.

Procurement – There are many ways to find water and here are a few that are available in my area. First, the well. If you don’t have one, you should look getting one. We live in FL and have a high water table so running dry is not an issue. I have an antique cast iron hand pump for dispensing with spare leather cups on hand. The second source you can use is a nearby lake, stream or river. Note, these may be contaminated even more than already when SHTF so use care when filling containers.

Also a cheap way to find water is to use a rain water containment system from your roof. You may have shingles instead of a tin roof, but with filtration, this can be turned into potable water if needed. Finally, there are multiple other places to look, too many to list in fact. There should be good water in your hot water tank for a few days.

There may be a pool in your back yard, or you can set up tarps to collect dew overnight. These are just a few options, but remember to filter and tread your water before consumption! Investing in a wagon or wheelbarrow for transport is a must as you don’t want to lug around heavy containers for obvious reasons after it hits the fan.

Storage- I live in Florida, its hot most of the year. My wife and I live in an are that has a high sulfur content so the local municipalities over chlorinate the tap water in my own opinion. We decided to invest in a hot/cold office type water dispenser for drinking and cooking. We re-fill our ten 5 gallon jugs at the local china mart or publix for around $1.00 a container.

There are ways to purify it like a Berkey filter (which we own) but the cost of filters and convenience is more beneficial to us to get them re-filled when we go to the store. The above 50 gallons gives us quite a few days of fresh drinking water on hand at all times. Next we have three 7 gallon “reliance” brand containers with treated tap water using the Aquamire treatment liquid, these jugs (available at most sporting goods stores and China Mart)have a built in spigot for ease of dispensing. These jugs have a filter that snaps in to the side and is a secondary to the above mentioned Berkey Royal on hand.

Also we have eight 5 gallon USGI Scepter brand water jugs filled and treated on hands well as a minimum of ten cases of bottled water from Sam’s Club. This is our treated/ready to drink or use water storage, which fits nicely on one large heavy duty shelf in the garage. We also have a water BOB that hopefully I can fill up in the bath tub if enough warning is given. The final stage of storage is our 10,000 gallon Intex above ground 18’x52″ pool.

This will provide good water for about a week or two for washing/toilet flushing to our septic and general use until the chlorine runs out. Without the pump running, which can be ran off the generator for a few hrs a day with the freezer, the pool will turn into a pond quickly. Turning it into a pond is on my list and can be accomplished very easily if you have an abundance of tilapia in your area like we do and a small solar system to run a circulation pump.

Just a side note, the pool cost us around $700 shipped on Amazon and paid for itself in the summer heat, not to mention ten thousand gallons of water in the back yard! Finally, if you don’t have a well on your property by now, your behind in the game. Although our house is not hooked to the well directly, it has a hand pump which delivers an infinite amount of water via the hand pump I have installed. We chose smaller containers for ease of use versus the larger 55 gallon drums based on our personal preferences and needs.

The larger barrels and drums can be bought online in a kit that includes a cheap pump, but 55 gallons x 8lbs per gallon is too much to move, haul and take with us if we have to leave for whatever reason. There are countless article written on using milk jugs and soda bottles for storage, and if that’s all you can afford its better than nothing.

The storage of water in milk jugs inside the house can be messy if they do fail, and soda bottles do not stack well if you want a lot in one space, therefore I recommend the above mentioned USGI water jugs, or a similar container that hold a few gallons and can be stored and transported easily without feat of breaking or leaking.

Filtration – This is probably the most important step folks. You can have Lake Erie in your back yard, but without proper filtration, its only good to wash with. We have a Royal Berkey filter with an abundance of spare filters. God blessed us the ability to hold good jobs and we can afford this system. If you cannot, you can find detailed instructions online on how to make a similar system with five gallon buckets and charcoal filters.

We also have a few different water filter systems including a CataDyne hiking system and a few smaller charcoal filter bags and life straws. You must have redundancy in this area if you can only choose one area to do so with. Three different caliber handguns is great, but three different water filters can keep you alive to shoot them. Find a system that works for your needs, buy extra filters and spare parts and then find a secondary and last ditch effort to filter water, All those cans of freeze dried food you bought are useless without clean water!

Usage – Here is a short list of “what if” scenarios for water usage. What if you killed animal, how would you wash your hands after dressing it, and the meat without contaminating it without water? What if your electricity was off, how would you wash your clothes after sweating all day working in the garden? What if your water was off and your on a septic system, how would your toilet flush?

What if your neighbor was dehydrated and the least you could do is hook him up with a few gallons of water from your well to keep him and his or her family from perishing? Without water in a few days your dead, so keep it on hand. You need it to re-hydrate all those Mountain House cans, Cook those beans, and clean your cookware after a meal. There are countless scenarios that can impead your lifestyle without clean usable water and these are just a few. I hope this article helps weather you are new to prepping or a veteran. Take care and God bless!

Prizes For This Round (Ends December 21 2015) In Our Non Fiction Writing Contest Include…

  1. First place winner will receive –   A gift certificate for $150 off of  any bulk ammo at Lucky Gunner, three bottles of Fish Cillin – Ampicillin 250mg (100 Count) courtesy of Camping Survival, and a WonderMill Electric Grain Mill courtesy of  Chef Brad Revolution.
  2. Second Place Winner will receive – 30 Day Food Storage All-in-One Pail courtesy of Augason
  3. Third place winner will receive –  A copy of my book “31 Days to Survival” and a copy of “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat“.

Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.

The Prepper’s Water Storage Primer

Because I live in an area that receives a decent amount of rainfall throughout the year I keep my water storage plan simple – I have ten, five-gallon containers bought at Walmart in the sporting goods department a 200 gallon rainwater catchment system and another 55 gallon food grade barrel that I have put in place to catch water off of the room of my chicken coop – I use this water to water my chickens, but of course if needed I could filter and drink it too.

If you live in one of the drier desert regions, water would be a major concern and that may necessitate the storage of thousands of gallons of water for an emergency. How much that you store will depend on where you are and the amount of rainfall that you receive…

A rainwater catchment can be as dedicated as the one pictured below, or as simple as purchasing a livestock watering tank or kiddie pools, and catching the water from your down-spouts, or the rain as it falls. You can also rig up tarps or plastic sheeting, to funnel the rain water into containers.

My 200 Gallon Rainwater Catchment System

Don’t store water in used five gallon milk jugs. They’re not strong enough for long-term storage and eventually will breakdown and leak. The five gallon containers sold in the sporting goods section of most department stores work great, as do the 55 gallon food-grade plastic drums.

Rain water harvesting drum

55 Gallon Water Drum

Just be sure the drums are clean and contained no harmful chemicals before filling. If you must use small containers, empty 2-liter soda bottles work well. They are stronger than the aforementioned milk jugs, and have better lids and are more convenient to use.

A Note about Tap Water for Long-Term Storage

If you’re storing tap water from a municipal water system there’s usually no need to add  chlorine bleach as suggested by some. Water from the municipal tap already contains enough chlorine and or other chemicals to thwart any bacterial growth and can be stored without any other additives.

When putting water away for long-term storage instead of using bleach, I use a Water Preserver Concentrate that will extent the storage life to up to five years, instead of using chlorine bleach.

Choosing the Right Retreat Property to Ensure Water Independence

When buying a retreat property your first consideration should be a reliable, non-grid dependent, water source nearby. The best source would be a deep-well (have it tested before using, especially if it’s an old well), next best would be a full-time spring, next would be a river or cheek, and last a pond or lake all water from ponds, rivers and streams, should always be treated as if it is contaminated with the worst pathogens because it probably is…

Please leave your thoughts and comments in the comments section below… thanks.

The Big Berkey / Doulton Filtration System Hybrid for Those Who Live in California

By S

This is a review for my Big Berkey / Doulton water filtration system. I live in California and was informed by Berkey that they can only ship the smaller units to California due to a lead-free certification that Berkey did not yet have. They could only ship the travel size or the plastic one because those were supposed to be for travel/outdoor use.

The Travel Berkey would be too small for my family and I did not want plastic because some people said they had a problem with mold growing inside it. I wanted the stainless steel housing.

I read a review on the Berkey website from someone who lived in California and had bought a Doulton stainless steel housing without the filters and put Black Berkey filters in it. I emailed both Doulton and Berkey and they both assured me that the two were compatible. I ordered Doulton’s Aqua Cera SS4 (has holes for 4 filters) from and four Black Berkey filters from

I have set it up and it all fits and is operating just fine. The water has good taste and the stainless steel is beautiful. Just be sure to prime the filters first to purge the air bubbles, otherwise the water will have a hard time filtering through. (They come with a gasket-looking thingy that attaches to your faucet to prime them) Also be sure to throw out the first batch of water because it has a metallic taste from the first run through the filters. I had a problem with a leaky spigot at first.

No matter how tightly I turned the inside nut it would leak between the housing and the gasket. This was a common problem in the reviews on Berkey also. I called Doulton directly and was told to install the spigot “upside down” and screw the nut on the inside as tight as I could. Then, holding the nut on the inside, give the spigot a half turn so the spigot points down as it should. Evidently this little extra tork makes the difference because it has not leaked since.

Customer Service at Doulton was excellent. They picked up the phone right away and gave me a clear solution. Berkey customer service was excellent also. They e-mailed me promptly when I asked about compatibility with Doulton. Black Berkey filters sure are pricey but after doing a lot of research on water filters I was convinced they are the best.

Also, if you are filtering water that is not too dirty, such as tap water, these filters could last for ten years. I would advise you to e-mail Doulton and Berkey yourself before you buy just to make sure compatibility has not changed since I made my purchase.

Disinfecting Water and Food Supplies

Disinfecting Water and Food Supplies

Many households prepare for emergency cases such as disasters and earthquakes by organizing food and storage supplies that they will use for their survival. The power of the nature is impressive and we have passed through many hurricanes, snow storms and tornadoes to be aware of the fact that we need to take precautions if we want to protect our families and pets when use this food and water supplies.

After all we need to know how to clean and disinfect the items so that they could be preserved in the best way. The preventive measures are more than required in such emergencies and the first thing to pay attention to, is the condition of the food and water. You might think that the look of the food and water supplies is appropriate enough   to use it , however, you need to know ways in which to disinfect everything in case of emergencies.,_Illinois_1.JPG

How to Disinfect Water ?

There are certainly many ways in which to disinfect the the water supplies depending on the amount of the water as well as on other factors. One of them is to use calcium hypochlorite. A 1-pound pag of this substance is able to treat about 10,000 gallons of water and it tends to be one best chemical disinfectants for water.

It can destroy many disease causing organisms such as spores, bacteria as well as viruses. When disinfecting water with calcium hypochlorite you need to add one part of the substance to 100 parts of water that will be treated. The mixture stays for at least one-half an hour before it could be used for drinking.

In some emergency cases you may not be able to use stored water and you need to search for natural sources like creeks or streams. In this case you should filter the water before taking up with the disinfecting. You can use a portable filter like hiker but its should be smaller than 1 micron. If heat is available in your home, you can also disinfect the water by boiling it for about 10 to 15 minutes.

How to Take Care of the Food Supplies?

In case of emergencies you need to take care of the disinfecting of the food supplies and utensils if you want to reduce the risk of bacteria and viruses on their surface. For the dishes that will be used, you had better use the chlorine bleach solution method. The dishes need to be soaked into the solution of bleach and water for a couple of minutes.

Here the hot water method is also a possible solution. The food supplies may not be dehydrated but take into account that canned foods and dry mixes will keep their freshness for a longer time. If you have containers of ice, use them – that will help for keeping the food cold and suitable for eating . You can also wrap the food in boxes in a safe way so that you can protect them insects and from rodents.

If you want to make sure that you and your family have enough safe food and water supplies, we advise you to follow the instructions for the most appropriate preserving of the items. One never knows when disasters are approaching, however, every person needs to be prepared to endure the stress  and to make the situation less uncomfortable. Whether there are storms or tornadoes, every responsible person should think about the best precautions for the food and water supplies. We hope that we have been helpful and that you will apply some of the methods in case of emergencies.

Contributed by ShinyLondon W5

Securing The Home Water Supply With A Simple Rain Barrel Collection System

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was written by Chuck H

Water has always been an afterthought for me and my prepping. It’s so easy for me to take it for granted when all I need to do is turn a faucet handle and fresh, clean water is made available. But what if power goes down for a significant amount of time and eventually the water stations with it? So I finally decided to store some water for just such an occasion. The most efficient way I could find to do this was by rain collection in rain barrels. For OPSEC reasons I tell the neighbors it’s for watering the garden and yes we use it for that as well. But if the SHTF I have 220 gallons of water available for my family to use.

That’s right, four 55-gallon, food-grade barrels collect rain water. This was quite a process. I Googled it, YouTubed it, and overall did a lot of research. I combined what I thought to be the best way to do it for what I had available. The first step was to acquire the 55-gallon plastic barrels which I got from a local, large-scale food distributor. You’d also be surprised who has these with just a simple Facebook request. You would also be wise beyond your years to purchase a bung wrench to unscrew the caps on these bad boys. It just makes life a lot easier.

Anyhow, the barrels contained salted vodka (not any good…I tried). So I definitely needed to clean them out. It was a matter of putting some hot water and soap in them and screwing the cap back on. Then just have the kids roll it around the back yard a bunch of times, rinse, and repeat as necessary. Once cleaned I chose to spray paint them a color similar to the siding on my house in the hopes it would blend in a little better than the bright blue plastic it was made of. After they were cleaned and painted I moved on to the deck I would build for the barrels.

I read in my research that the higher up the barrels the greater the flow of water due to an amazing scientific discovery called…gravity. So my deck would end up being high enough off the ground for me to fit a watering can or 5-gallon bucket under the spigot (about 4′ off the ground). Using treated lumber I ended up with six 4×4 posts as the legs. They were cut to the appropriate height. Next I used treated 2x4s and framed out the legs as you see in the pictures. I basically framed a wall around the legs like you might frame a wall in your house (header, footer, studs, etc.). Once the frame was fixed to the legs I put the deck on which consisted of a treated piece of plywood cut to the dimensions of the frame. This is what my barrels would sit on. Since my plumbing would be under the deck I also cut a hole for each barrel to be plumbed underneath.

My deck was basically complete for now, so I turned my attention to the plumbing. Now I either got extremely lucky with these four barrels or all barrels are like this, but you’ll notice that one of the bungs is threaded in the middle. A threaded PVC adapter will fit this perfectly. I planned to store rain in my barrels upside down. Since the hole would be at the bottom of the barrel I was all but assured every last drop of water from the barrels. Water will naturally self-level itself so by plumbing all of the barrels underneath the water would enter the first barrel (from the downspout) go to the bottom of the barrel and into the PVC pipes and then rise up into the other barrels.

That is how I planned to fill all of the barrels without extra holes in the top, just let water and gravity do the work for you. It is VERY important that you dry fit all pipes before permanently affixing them to the barrel and each other. So I set my barrels upside down on the deck and began measuring and cutting the PVC pipes. I planned for a shut off valve at each barrel and another at the spigot (5 total) in case anything needed replacing or isolation it would be easier to shut off the water from that barrel. Once everything was dry-fitted I used some clear, silicone caulking and applied it liberally to the two bungs in the bottom of the barrel.

This is where the bung wrench comes in handy to tighten the bungs completely. Next, I applied the same caulking to the PVC adapter that conveniently threaded inside the one bung. I tightened it all the way thus making a leak-proof seal on all my barrels. I waited to permanently affix the plumbing until everything was in place. So now I had to prepare my yard for the deck and barrels.

With the help of my wonderful wife we dug up the sod in the back yard closest to the downspout we wanted to use. We dug a 32” x 115” section of the sod out, about 4” deep, and filled it with crushed rock. Here is where the hardest part of the project comes in. Using an 8” x 8” tamper I tamped down all of the crushed rock making it about the density of cured concrete. Next I placed six concrete piers on the crushed rock and, with the help of a friend, set the deck in the piers.
It was time to put the plumbing together permanently. I sanded the rough edges off the cut ends of the PVC pipe and applied the purple primer to the end of the pipe and inside the pipe I would attach to.

I went a little farther up the pipe with the primer than what I would need so it would be a complete seal. After applying the primer I put PVC cement on the purple primer. Then you push the pipe in the adapter and twist a quarter turn. Hold this in place for 30 seconds and then test your work. This “twist and hold” method is really important because you’ll notice the pipe wanting to push out of the adapter if not held in place. When done correctly it will be pretty solid. Once I plumbed everything together I used metal, nail-on straps to hold them in place (especially at the spigot). I also angled the spigot down a bit to make sure water wouldn’t sit in one place forever.

Now that the barrels were in place and the plumbing secured I built a small fence around the barrels. If you haven’t noticed by now I did a lot of overkill. The decking, the crushed rock, the concrete piers, etc. I wanted to make sure this much weight would hold (220 gallons of water weighs almost a ton!). So the fence keeps the barrels from blowing off the deck when empty.

At this point I’m almost finished with the project. I used flexible down spout extenders to route the water from the downspout to the top of the far right barrel. Then another flexible down spout was used as an overflow. I put them in place and traced around the end where it met the barrel on one end and the downspout from the house on the other end. I cut the barrel and downspout and installed the flexible downspout to the top of the barrel and the downspout from the house.

Since mosquitos love standing water I placed a cut section of window screen around the opening in the barrel (sealed around the edges with the leak-proof caulking mentioned earlier) and around the end of the flexible downspout (attached with an adjustable ring used for dryer vents) to catch particles that washed off the roof. Now water will enter my barrels! As I mentioned I did a lot of research before attempting this project. Part of that research mentioned drilling a small hole in the top of the barrels because of pressure that may build up in them would reduce the flow of water. I was skeptical about this but it didn’t hurt to drill a small hole in each and place more window screen over them. I sealed these with the same caulking.

The overflow spout is a necessary part of the project. If the barrels continued to fill past capacity then the plumbing could be damaged and that would be a nightmare. So at the very top of the same barrel the water entered, I measured and cut a hole to install another flexible downspout that would return to the original downspout from the house and flow away from the house. This part was tricky because I wanted a water tight fit and not to have water spilling out of the hole down the barrel and all over the deck/ground. So I got a large diameter PVC adapter and put it in the hole I had cut. I made it water tight using a metal flange and some all-purpose bondo to seal it to the barrel. Now the flexible downspout fits perfectly around the PVC adapter and overflows to the original downspout on the house and away from the house.

I failed to mention that I also have a small retention basin in my back yard. I drain the barrels before winter so they won’t turn into huge ice chunks. The plan is to use water from the retention basin during the winter if needed. While doing my research I read that rain water off a roof is not potable. So if the need arises we will be filtering and boiling any water used from the barrels (and retention basin for that matter). Also during the winter I take the piece of downspout from the house that I removed and put a couple adapters on each end, remove the flexible down spouts from the barrels, and place the original downspout back in place. This allows melting snow to flow through the downspout like it’s supposed to.

When spring rolls around I just switch back to my flexible downspouts and I’m refilling the barrels with May showers. It took about 2-3 days to finish the project, a little bit of sweat, and a lot of cuss words, but it was finished. What I like most about the rain barrels is the capability to have 220 gallons of water available to me at almost any time.

A body can survive longer without food than without water so knowing we have this stored away gives me peace of mind. In the meantime, my garden loves the water and occasionally my lawn does too. It’s tucked away behind my house and not many people know it’s there. You could add some lattice fence-work around the deck frame to hide it even more if OPSEC is a concern for you. Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit about how to make a rain barrel system and it’s benefits. And that’s really what this blog and prepping are all about…learning new things to help us stay prepared. Stay classy wolf pack.

water barrel 1

water barrel 2

water barrel 3

water barrel 4

water barrel 5

water barrel 6

Prizes for this round (ends Jan 13 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!

  1. First place winner will receive –  A case of Yoder’s Bacon courtesy of MRE Depot, a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads and a Survive2Thrive Organic Food Storage bucket courtesy of LPC Survival.
  2. Second place winner will receive –  A gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Winchester Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.
  3. Third Place winner will receive –  A copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of

Is there such a thing as a Water Hoarder?

Letter from Anonymous

Keeping in mind, I am a widow, in her middle sixties with limited resources but a willingness to work hard and learn. I also have plenty of gumption and fortitude and a strong desire to survive – – –

As I stated in my submission, Just Because Your Elderly Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be A Good Prepper, I installed a 225 gallon water storage tank with the rain gutters collecting rain water. In a short two week period, we have experienced three small thunderstorms. My rain gauge says we received less than one inch of rain from the three small thunderstorms, however, the rain that ran off my roof into the gutters and into the 225 gallon storage tank is full and overflowing.

First of all, let me say, I am shocked and amazed the system caught that much rain water in such a short time with such a small amount of rain. It’s hard for me to realize that much water can be captured so easily. I have instantly become what I would call a fanatic about capturing rain water, especially since where I live we are experiencing the worst extreme drought conditions I’ve ever seen.

I don’t live near any kind of water. The water we receive comes from the city water system but because of the drought conditions we have been given water restrictions for the last three to four years. I don’t have means to dig a well either. My rain collection system installed just weeks ago is now full of rain water and I have plans to install another 225 gallon storage tank on the opposite side of the house.

The water I collect will be used to water my garden and trees. It will also be used in the event of an emergency. I also fill up empty plastic bottles with RO water from my kitchen and I store those bottles in my food storage area. I’ve researched methods of keeping that water safe to use if I need to.

I realize as I use some of the rain water to water my garden and trees, each time it rains (if it rains) water will be replenished inside the tanks. If for instance it rains enough that the ground is saturated and the tanks are full, which means I would have 550 gallons of water, what should I do to continue to collect rain water? I know I can set five gallon buckets out to collect some, but I guess what I’m looking for is a method of continual collection. I’m looking for suggestions and ideas.

If any one has ideas I would appreciate detailed installation methods – keeping in mind I have started with two, 225 gallon storage tanks hooked up to my gutters. Is there such a thing as a Water Hoarder?