Having to drink wild water

This guest post is by Dale Martin and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

In virtually ever facet of preparedness and planning, especially if money is not a problem, there are items you can buy from a commercial supplier. For most of us, however, money is somewhat relevant.

Thus, most of us are constantly deciding on a variety of issues. There are items we can buy commercially. There items we can do without. There are items we can substitute. And, finally, there are some items we can make.

I keep a deck of cards and a set of dominos in my 72 hour kit. I really don’t have to have them; they are strictly a comfort item. They would be an example of items that I could do without easily.

A person might really want to have top-notch electric lanterns or good quality oil lamps for his household emergency lighting. But, if he already has a lot of candles, he can substitute.

Fish traps are a perfect example of a prepper item that can be homemade, and the home-built versions are almost always superior to the commercial made ones you see in sporting outlets.

How does water filtration and purification figure into this arena? Good water is obviously important. It might not make a lot of difference what brand of hunting knife you have in your survival bag, but having good water is critical. Should we bite the bullet and buy a good commercially made system, or is a homemade or camp made system just as good?

Water has a relatively good history in the USA.

Most of us living in the United States are familiar with the little signs that are posted outside of our cities. The signs are posted even outside very small towns. These signs have been there so long that we usually no longer pay attention to them, much like the City Limits signs. They have just become part of the normal landscape that we pass every day, and no longer really notice.

The signs are water quality signs that will say something on the order of “The water in this city is rated Superior”, or some such wording. We are all so used to having good water that we rarely give it a thought. Just turn on the tap, and we have all we want. Contamination? Most of us never give it a second thought. Even a simple “boil water” notice for any particular municipality is unusually rare.

Of course, there are always exceptions.

In 1980, there was a hepatitis A outbreak in Pennsylvania that was traced to a feces contaminated well.

A cryptosporidiosis outbreak occurred in Georgia in 1987 that originated from a contaminated public water filtration system.

In 1993, there was a massive cryptosporidiosis outbreak in Milwaukee. Over a span of a couple of weeks, over 400,000 people became ill with fever, stomach cramps, dehydration, and diarrhea. Over a hundred people died. The cause of the epidemic was never officially named, probably because it was the largest water-borne disease outbreak on record, and no one wanted to take the blame. A sewage treatment outlet a few miles upstream was strongly suspected.

Even small things can sometimes throw a kink in the works. In 1997, something as simple as a contaminated drinking fountain at the Minnesota zoo caused over 350 cases of cryptosporidiosis. Sadly, most of the victims were children.

Most of these events didn’t make big news, even though there were fatalities.

However, given some sort of society altering event that put our water system out of commission, even for a few weeks, drinking what we will call “wild water” would be a wake up call for most of us on just how fragile our society can be in some instances.

As the rest of the developing world knows only too well, there are water borne diseases by the hundreds, if not by the thousands. There are so many water-borne illnesses that simply listing the names of all of them would fill a lengthy paper on the subject. Some are caused by protozoa, some by parasites, and some bacterial, and some viral.

Perhaps the most commonly known of the Protozoan infections are Amoebiasis, Cryptosporidiosis, Cyclosporiasis, and Giardiasis. Giardiasis is perhaps the best well-known as it is (rightfully so) the bogey man of many articles about the dangers of drinking untreated, wild water.

There are also parasitic infections such as Dracunculiasis and Taeniasis.

And, let’s not forget the bacterial infections such as Cholera, E. coli, and Dysentery.

Hepatitus A is perhaps the best known of the viral agents that is water-borne, although it can be transmitted in food as well.

Whether these diseases are caused by protozoa, parasites, bacteria, or viruses will make little difference to the miseries of the infected. Virtually all produce nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration. As if that weren’t bad enough, for an extra measure, some of these water-borne illnesses add blood to the vomit as well as the feces. Not exactly a cheerful picture.

Let’s look at Giardia, in particular.

Giardiasis (or just Giardia), which is also sometimes called beaver fever, is caused by a protozoan parasite called Giardia lamblia.

Giardia exists in two forms: an inactive form called a cyst, and the active form called a trophozoite.

The inactive cyst can survive easily for long periods of time in fresh water lakes, streams, ponds, and the like. It only takes ingestion of around 10 cysts to begin an infection. And remember, they are microscopic. Ten cysts (or maybe hundreds) could be in a single drop of water.

Then, the fun part starts. Stomach acid activates the cyst, and it develops into the active trophozoite. See the following photo. Looks like a smiley face, doesn’t it. Surely nothing that cute could be harmful, could it?

The trophozoite attaches itself to the lining of the small intestine with a sucker and starts causing the symptoms. Giardia is kind of like the monster in ALIEN that incubates inside people, changes, and then starts all kinds of havoc. (At least, it is small and doesn’t burst out of your chest like in the movie)

Photo of giardia


The nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and fatigue begin usually in about seven days, although it can be longer incubating. Fever is not common, but possible. It is the most common form of waterborne parasitic infection. To make a long story short, Giardia is extremely unpleasant.

Even if your wild water doesn’t have Giardia, take a look at the following microscopic picture of typical pond water.

Typical wild water under a microscope

Notice the thousands of organisms in the photo. All these microbial little critters are in just a tiny drop of water. Just a tiny drop. Just think how many of these things would be ingested if we were to drink a coffee cup full of this wild water.

Are all the organisms in this photo harmful? Maybe not. But, would we really want to drink them even if we knew for sure they were relatively harmless?

Whatever the event might be that ruined our traditional water supply might not matter much. Regardless of the event, we would have only a couple of choices. (1) Purify water using a commercially made product like Berkey water purifiers. (2) Filter water through a homemade or camp constructed filter.

There are a lot of options doing either. Obviously, we would want to begin with the cleanest looking water we could find, rather than just dipping a bucketful of some stagnant, mosquito filled pool. Even then, you can’t always tell by looking. There might be a dead deer in the water just upstream from where you collect what looks like clean mountain water. And, sometimes test results of grungy looking water show it to be clear of any problems. Boiling, regardless of what filtering or purifying you do is always a good option. In short, we would all try to push the odds in our favor at every point.

The following photo shows a VERY WELL MADE camp style water filter made from a 2 liter soda bottle with alternating layers of finely grained charcoal, clean sand, rocks, and a bottom layer of clean cotton cloth for the final drip.

Photo of homemade water filter.

In this camp made filter, the layers of charcoal, gravel, and sand are packed as tightly into the bottle as possible in order to make the water (through the force of gravity) filter through the layers as slowly as possible. The longer it takes for the water to filter through from top to bottom, obviously, means it is doing a better job of cleaning than if it just flowed through quickly.

The following photo is a close-up of the layering of the same camp filter. (Forgive the mediocre photography.)

Before I filtered some typical pond water through this filter I even added a couple of normal paper coffee filters in the top (not shown in picture) to give this homemade filter a little added advantage.

The filter operated just about as I expected. I apparently had packed the layers in fairly tightly, as it took a while for the water I poured in the top to filter through into a container below.

However, it was obvious when the now filtered water was held up to the light, that the water still had impurities in it. They were clearly visible to the naked eye. Under a microscope, the water still had the appearance of typical pond water; lots of microbial life.

Frankly, I was surprised. I didn’t think it would be totally pure at all, but I did think it would be much closer to pure and clear than it was.

Also, the homemade filter had another problem. The first few buckets filtered in this less than desirable fashion. After that, the filter became even less effective as it clogged with pond water residue.

And lastly, reconstituting the filter with fresh sand, charcoal, and gravel requires a fair amount of clean water.

We have all seen these designs for homemade filters in survival literature for many years, but sadly, the best I can say about actually using one is that they are better than nothing. Any kind of filtering is superior to drinking wild water as it is, but you most definitely would want to boil the water vigorously to kill the microbes after you have filtered it. That still won’t do anything for contaminants, toxins, and pollutants that might also be in the water.

As a “make it yourself” type guy (see the end of this article for my credentials), I am somewhat surprised. I didn’t expect it to be perfect, but I did expect it to be better.

Now, let’s move on to commercial models.

The following photo shows a Royal Berkey water purifier. It is about 2’ tall, and around 9” in diameter.

It is basically two metal buckets, one of top of the other. Inside the top bucket are the filters. They come with two filters, which is probably what most people use. However, they having fittings for two more black berkey filters. Thus, you can use 4 filters for faster purifying if time is of the essence.

Much like the homemade variety, you pour water in the top, it moves through the filtering product, and trickles into the catch bucket on the bottom. It comes with a spout for ease of retrieval of the purified water.

All of this can be put together in 5 minutes, which is definitely not the case in the homemade variety.

The following photo is the black berkey filter itself that you use 2 (or 4) in the top bucket.

Royal Berkey water purifier

Black Berkey filter

I have read the test results on this filter until I am blue in the face, and these reports are not just the ones that Berkey touts in their ads, but independent labs. To make a long story short, it is roughly equivalent to filtering wild water through a rock. It takes a while to filter through, but it is pristine when it comes out the bottom. This old country boy was very impressed.

Secondly, two filters in this Royal Berkey will purify (and, technically it is a purifier, not just a filter) 6000 gallons of water before they need to be replaced. That is a MASSIVE amount of water.

On the move? Transport is not a problem either. The top bucket even fits into the bottom one for moving.

So, the “just as good” question at the beginning of this article is definitely answered. As badly as I wanted it to be otherwise, the commercial model Berkey is so far ahead of anything most of us could make that it is simply not worth it to attempt. Bite the bullet, and buy a Berkey.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dale Martin grew up in the piney woods of East Texas during the 1950’s and 60’s. Outdoor skills became a natural by product of many hours and days spent in the field.

While in college earning a business degree, Dale enhanced those skills by taking several courses in primitive anthropology. Later, Dale spent a number of years researching both primal and modern survival skills and techniques. Dale developed skills regarding snares, traps, firearm silencer design, military history, and other “off the beaten path” disciplines.

  • In 1987, Dale wrote TRAPPER’S BIBLE, and followed that up with INTO THE PRIMITIVE in 1989.
  • In 2001, Dale was contacted by NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and asked to write an article about deadfalls.
  • In 2007, Dale was contacted by THE HISTORY CHANNEL for his input into one of their MODERN MARVELS segments about trapping.
  • In April of 2011, Dale published EVERYMAN’S GUIDE TO OUTDOOR SURVIVAL.
  • He is also the author of the science fiction novel SAFARI WORLD as well as the historical civil war narrative THE SHOT.
  • He is co-author (with many others) of the compilation book EVEN MORE DANGEROUSLY FUN STUFF (FOR LITTLE BOYS WHO NEVER REALLY GREW UP).

This contest will end on August 7 2012 – prizes include:

First Place : 1 Year Subscription to AlertsUSA, 1 Radiation Safety Package consisting of the following;  (1) NukAlert Radiation Monitor and Alarm (5) Radsticker Peel and Stick Dosimeters (1) Box Thyro Safe Potassium Iodide. All courtesy of AlertsUSA. A $150 gift certificate for Federal Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo. And a British Berkefeld water fillter system courtesy of  LPC Survival. A total prize value of over $700.

Second Place : A six pack Entrée Assortment courtesy of Augason Farms, a Nukalert courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply and a WonderMill Grain Mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $550.

Third Place : A copy of each of my books “31 Days to Survival” and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of The Survivalist Blog dot Net and “Kelly McCann’s Inside the Crucible Set” courtesy of Paladin Press. A total prize value of over $200.

Contest ends on August 7 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. JP in MT says:

    I’ve got a Royal Berkey and a Katadyn Vario water for preps. We have a home unit installed in the kitchen. I’m thinking about adding a travel Berkey for those in-between times. I also have several of the filter straws. So we’re pretty well set. We do need some more capability for storage, but the space is limited.

    Our regular water is very good up here, but it is open source, so it could be contaminated on purpose.

  2. riverrider says:

    cool. glad i got that berk. need to get spare filters tho….

  3. Archer25 says:

    Hv to reign in on this one. I hv lived inthe country all my life. While I have traveled extensivley, home is just thazt home. I hv drank from springs, wells and city taps and I hav to say that natural spring water is the cleanest, best tasting healthiest water I have ever had The prblem is most people dont know how to tell the difference between a creek and a spring. Creekwater is usualy fairly contaminated but springs eminate from the ground where the water table gets close to the surface, in my AO usually around Limestone cliffs, bluffs or rock formations of one kind or another. I tok a friend who was military to one of our local places and started drinking right from the stream. His immidiate reaction was “your going to die or go blind”, after introducing him to some native foliage(mint growing along side the spring) he then decided I knew what I was talking about and took a drink. To his amazment, it was the best water he had ever had. And I hv to say, it also makes the best moonshine……

  4. axelsteve says:

    Very informative and useful information. I am interisted in the soda bottle filter. I was wondering if boiling water and running it through the soda bottle would turn out. I can`t buy the berkey in Komradfornia but I can buy all the porn that you want. Isn`t that messed up?

    • I’m also in California, and tried to get a Berkey, but couldn’t. Going to try to have someone in NV get it and send it to me…but in the meantime I would love a DIY substitute…any ideas out there for one man portable solar still type gadgets?

    • Have a friend purchase one for you–in another state?
      There are always around the govt nanny rules.

    • Why can’t you buy it in California? I live in CA, and don’t see any restrictions on the websiyes for shipping to CA.

      • http://cart.berkeyfilters.com/royalberkey.aspx

        Royal Berkey water filter system (they also have a ‘scratch and dent’ sale page)

        free shipping
        Regular $283.00
        Free UPS ground shipping to the lower 48 states. Last time I checked, CA was in the “lower 48 states”

        • Disregard previous comments – I found it – stupid CA laws. Gosh, I hope I win the writing contest, the gestapo wouldn’t stop it coming from M.D.

    • Axel,
      I would run it through the filter first and then boil it. This way it when through the process first and then boil anything left over.

  5. Hi Dale,

    Thanks for taking the time to write this. All I can say is ‘yep…still saving for the Berkey.’

  6. You were on the right track with your homemade filter which I would use only if I could not get a commercial purifier. Problem is as I have been taught for years that water must travel a distance of at least six feet through your filter medium of sand, rocks, gravel, charcoal,etc before it will remove a significant amount of impurities. This has proven true in various experiments through life. Even with and extended filtration system, I would still boil the final product before I drank it since my aged system is so susceptible to amoebic type incursions that I can not drink even our city water because it is drawn from a lake rather than the clean wells they used to use. Your homemade filter is a good start in the right direction, simply inadequate for the purpose. I can’t get a clear measure but I am assuming you have around four inches of filter medium, way less than the recommended minimum of six feet.

  7. Axelsteve why in the world does the criminal state of Kalifornia not allow you to buy water filter?

    • Cosmolined says:

      Not Axelsteve, but the Knot Heads in charge want to be sure it’s lead free before they let us buy it. Berkey said “No Thanks” to more testing. Cos

      • Actually, I talked to Berkey today. The nice lady that called me back said their manufacturer is working on it, but the lead free cert is time consuming and expensive. The are hoping it will be done soon.

    • axelsteve says:

      Beats me. You can buy weed if you have a doctors note but can`t buy a water filter

      • Axel and Sulaco, it’s appart of the Prop 65 that the citizens voted for. You know when you see the “this product may or is known to contain products known to cause cancer.” it’s the testing process. When I talked to Jeff at Berkey he explained the testing hoops the state wanted them to jump through and the state couldn’t give them a straight answer so the lawyers recommended holding of until the state can give a straight answer. Bigger companies just pay a big fee to get the sticker slapped on and bypass the test. In this case it was the people an not the state reps

  8. Hunker-Down says:

    What timing! I just finished cleaning 2 five gallon buckets with bleach and am waiting for them to dry, prior to drilling holes for the 2 filters you show in picture number 6, “Black Berkey Filter”.

    Thanks for the comparison of homemade vs commercial, it soothes (sort of) my guilt in having spent the money for 2 Berkey filters and 2 spouts. We will not prime the filters until needed which hopefully will be years from now, so, I made 3 copies of the priming procedure to store with the buckets.

    After purchasing more sheeple poppers, and antibiotics for our guppy, in a few months we hope to get a set of backup filters.

  9. Benjamin says:

    I was one of the lucky participants of the Milwaukee cryptosporidium outbreak. Thanks for the memories! Yes, I survived – barely. The problem was that cryptosporidium was able to survive the water treatment process used at the time, and it confounded biologists who were looking for it because of it’s small size and resistance to slide-staining techniques.

    Milwaukee’s shoreline is dotted with pipes pouring waste into the water, and pipes sucking “clean” water in. They alternate all along the shore. Apparently at one time, it was thought that a few hundred yards of open water would dilute sewage into becoming fresh drinking water again. And Milwaukee’s water tastes exactly like you would imagine.

    The problem with your home made filter, and you won’t like hearing this, is that it doesn’t filter water the way Mother Nature does, even underground. You need to keep your filter wet for a number of days until it forms a top layer of slime. It’s this living biofilm which filters the water properly. The flow of water will probably be slower than you like, even with a larger filter, and your soda bottle might just be too small.

    The sand is to keep the slime from sinking into the charcoal. The charcoal is optional, and is really there to take out the taste of the slime. Then the cloth keeps everything from hourglassing into your drinking cup. Also, just a cloth over the top can filter out parasite eggs. If not chemically contaminated, most water is safe to drink by straining it through a clean t-shirt, then boiling it.

  10. Uncle Charlie says:

    Thank you Dan for this article which is about the most important element of survival. As my bug out place depends on creek water and/or rain catchment, I’m going to start saving up for a Berkley right away. Always thought about it but you’ve given me the impetus to purchase. Also, I have a question which any one can answer, what about leaving creek or rain water in clear plastic or glass bottles in the sun for x number of hours? I have read someplace, maybe here, that that would work on bacteria but of course not particulate pollutants. If this worked, it would of course certainly beat a blank.

    • uncle, its the SODIS method. supposed to be 6 hours of sunlight. it would be better than nothing. i have a couple sets of filters like berkeys to build my filter system. thinking of making one for now. well water is yucky. sulfer, oily residue, etc.

  11. Glass yes, plastic……. Not unless I was about to die anyway. Sunlight causes chemicals to leach into the water. They mimic hormones.

  12. Linda in FL says:

    I am in Florida, on city water, and live in a townhouse community. For a long time I worried about an interruption of our water supply, and early summer, had a well dug with a hand pitcher. After taking samples to the city’s environmental laboratory services for total coliforms, lead, arsenic and nitrate testing, the results showed coliforms present. I had purification tablets, chlorine, and knew how to boil, but still had a nagging feeling. After reading everything I could find (thanks fellow cubs for all the information) I finally called Jeff at LPC Survival with a few last questions. I spoke with Dave, then ordered my very own Berkey Light and sport water bottle online on Tuesday. After ordering, I had one more question, wrote an email, and Jeff answered me within 1/2 hour. My Berkey should be here this Saturday! I do not remember when I’ve been more satisfied from ordering a product online. The professionalism, knowledge, prompt service and even tracking informaton I received was exceptional, and I will definitely purchase again from The Berkey Guy. My only previous experience with them had been ordering two buckets of freeze dried entries as Christmas gifts. I was sure to mention MD and the Wolf Pack several times, too! This decision is finally made, and I can now rest, knowing I’ll at least have water for myself and a couple of the other little old ladies in the complex if/when tshtf.

  13. Cosmolined says:

    Here’s a Grunt’s perspective.
    I got a deer hunting license in one of the primo areas in SoKal.
    Went up to recon three months before the season opened. Lots
    of water everywhere. Went up for hunting season and zero water
    except a spongy area with cattle everywhere. I dug a hole and
    scooped out muddy water, then everyday, boiled it for 15 minutes,
    let the mud settle, added two military iodine tablets and let is work
    it’s miracle, remembering to loosen the canteen lid after 5 minutes
    inverting the canteen and cleansing the lid threads. While not pretty,
    I had zero problems. Cos

    • Cos, been there with digging a hole in an old dried up river or using trash bags around tree leaves to evaporate the leaves for water. Do what you have to do to survive.

  14. Thanks for the info! Have to pick me up one of those filters.

    I have a side question… I have a couple of 55 gallon water barrels I purchased a few weeks ago. I want to fill them, but I am slowly running out of space. I was thinking of putting them underground in my back yard. Has anyone done this? Should I do this? If so, is there anything special that I would need to do besides dig a hole big enough to bury them in? Any answers would be appreciated:)

  15. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Good info. There are so many pollutants and bugs in water that it takes a PHD to make since of it all. I for one am struggling. Do I need several types and how would I know when to use which. I am talkin about BOL use.
    I have certain concerns about the Berkefeld purifiers. I believe we are likely to have a viral pandemic so I have been reading anything and everything on purification. I am impressed with the Sawyer Point Zero Two purifier. Has anyone used this or performed a comparison between the BB and the Z-Two?

  16. Uncle Charlie says:

    Tactical G=Ma I found a discussion forum of the Z-Two from people who have used and installed them. The million gallon guarantee sounds a little optimistic to this old boy however. Nevertheless, food for thought. I know we must have some experts in this group, let’s hear from you all.

  17. Uncle Charlie says:
  18. I love my Big Berkey water filter! We use it every day for all cooking and drinking water. You never know what is lurking in tap water these days.

    I mention Berkey water filters in my recently published, survival novel called, Collapse: You’re On Your Own. It is a story of the fight for survival after an EMP knocks out the nation’s electrical grid. It is timely, entertaining, and thought provoking. There are many tips, ideas, and recipes weaved throughout the story. I hope my fellow preppers will check it out. It is available through Amazon and other online booksellers, in paperback, or as an ebook.

    Always be prepared, not scared.

    Kay Mahoney

  19. michael c says:

    I have a Fresnel lens (9×9 inches) which is big enough to “pasteurize” water in a clear bottle. The water has to hit 165 degrees for 30 minutes – easy target. I do not need a fire for hot days and the method is faster than the SODIS method. I simply drive 2 sticks into the ground to hold the lens over the bottle (pan?), enough for 30 minutes of sun.

    I have a sun oven but the lens is more portable and flexible for BOB carry.

    I do have the Berkey Lite – great looking filter, love the shimmer of the water reflecting around.

  20. A study made concluded that Maine has the cleanest natural water in the country , this is because of several factors , Maine has very little industry , and a sparse population on the human end of it . On the natural end of it , heavy snow melt and heavy rainfall all eventually going out to sea in a cycle . Even so , I would still boil or treat every bit of water I collected . All it takes is one microbe to make you very ill or worse .

  21. Anyone who has bought a Black Berkey filter during or since 2010 needs to go to the below site to see if you have received on of the faulty filters. Berkey provides all the information you need to find out if yours falls in the defective groups, however, DO NOT DEPEND ON THE DATE STAMPED ON THE SHIPPING BOX – LOOK AT THE FILTER ITSELF. I have yet to see what Berkey will do to replace/refund/? the defective merchandise. I have had mine for just over 6 months, have only had them out of the box to inspect upon arrival and then again to determine mgf date, so surely it will be just a matter of exchange. This is no reflection on the company – in any mfg operation mistakes can be made.

    I will report on Berkey (Millinium – where I bought it)’s response.
    Good Luck!!

  22. Great article with lots of valuable data! I think the water bottle filtration method is a cool idea, but I am not surprised by the initial results, nor the fact that continued maintenance may require more clean water than what gets produced.

    Having been in locations where you see people defecating in the stream, a little farther downstream animals are wading and relieving themselves in the same stream, and even further downstream kids playing in the water with adults collecting that same water, I guess peoples “systems” become accustomed or acclimated to the local conditions. The point being, even with a substandard method of filtration, after experiencing all the revenge your body will [literally] regurgitate back at you, over time, you may become adjusted to the new level of acceptable water quality. In those area’s, I regularly use my Steri-Pen for tap water, successfully I might add, and never drink liquids from street vendors.

    For my backpack I have the Katadyn Pocket Micro-filter, in my location of stored items for a long-term location I have my Big Berkey with extra filters for the Berkey and the Katadyn.

    In a worst case scenario, if I must, I can place my Klean Kanteen bottle in the fire to boil the water, I just hate the idea of that nice stainless bottle getting built up with soot, but then again, I would much rather hate to be without purified water.

  23. Good article. I’ve HAD giardia and let me tell you. Unpleasant does not begin to describe it.

    Drinking from a “wild stream”? Nope.. Was doing some contract work at a US Steel plant. (Gary works, Gary Indiana).. I had been working near red hot plate steel and stopped to got a drink from the water fountain. A guy walking by said “We don’t drink from the fountain.. We only drink the bottled water.”

    I didn’t give it another thought..

    About a week later I honestly thought I was dying. Lymph node swollen everywhere. Really, really bad diarrhea.. Felt like curling up in a ball in the dark.. My wife had to drag me to the doctor, since I had skipped the usual steps and got right to ‘resignation’. I was immobilized.

    As luck would have it my doctor had just treated someone and recognized what the problem was.

    My point is that you can’t take the purity of water for granted. If this had been a grid down/ survival situation I would have been a liability to the entire group and a contaminated one at that.

    Dehydration alone might kill you and giardia is bad enough you might be happy to go..

    It makes me think that having the drugs to treat it might be a good addition to prepping supplies.

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