How to fix a black Berkey filter

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M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of 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. This is the main reason I shied away from buying a Berkley. After reading many reviews where the filter actually came apart, I started wondering what would happen during a SHTF situation, if that happened and you didn’t know that bad water was leaking by and contaminating your good water. It’s one thing if it just breaks and you stop using it and another thing all together if it starts to break and is leaking. I finally decided on a Katadyn Pocket microfilter for our use.

    • Kermit5575 says:

      I’m with you, can’t trust a company that will not tell you they have bad filters, and here you are thinking your doing the best for your family and all the time you are making them sick with bad water. NO Thank You..

  2. JP in MT says:

    I saw this last night and was glad you posted it. Now I can save it. Interesting solution.

  3. YIKES! I have three Berkeys! Two have not made it out of the boxes. I was going to give them to my kids for Christmas. I better get them out now and check them. This makes me really mad. They cost a lot and gave me a sense of security.
    Now I am not feeling so good. I need a hug.

    • MamaJ;
      Pack hugs…….now stop watch all those soap operas on Utube!

      • I have NEVER watch a soap in my life Becky! Though I am pretty sure I have one happening right here in my house. Hehe

        • MamaJ;
          I just could not help teasing you. You are such a great person to joke with…thanks 🙂

  4. seeuncourt says:

    After all of the negative press and “fixes” i have decided against this water filter for now. I have a katahdyn, but was looking for more of a household filter. now what?

  5. Leonard M. Urban says:

    The “Berkey Guy” told me to use the filters, anyway–or pay the $55.00 to buy new ones. If ANYONE get sick using these filters, please SUE them into bankruptcy. I’ll provide you with the pdf from their website showing they KNEW these filters were dangerous…

  6. tee ryan says:
  7. I have been using the berkey water filters for over a year also. We drink over a gallon a day out of it. It is homemade out of 2 5 gallon buckets with a spickot on the bottom. I have used it for purifying straight lake water for a week at a time. NOONE drinks water directly from this lake and they didn’t want me to drink it after the filter. After a week of drinking nothing but water through the berkey I was still fine. I use one of my berkey elements to filter vodka also. I have separate ones for water and vodka. I buy the absolute cheapest vodka I can find (8 dollars for a 1.75) and run it through the filter once. I have had over 20 people do a blind sample taste test and about 17 of them prefer it to stoliskies(sp?) (25 dollars for 1 liter) and grey goose(30 dollars for 1 liter). the other three said that in a drink they would not be able to tell the difference. the filter has paid for itself in the price of vodka that I have saved. I check the filters by applying a slight tug everytime I back flush them. ~ one time a month. I have been concerned about them coming apart but mine seem to be holding up.
    for the price compared to other filters I think it is a good deal as long as you are aware and proactive with the filters. I am not saying that berkey is blameless in the issue but mistakes happen.


    • Just knowing that they could come apart is too much for me. They don’t have to completely separate to fail. You could check them every day and still have bad water leaking by if the glue is failing. I would constantly worry that they may be starting to separate and allowing bad water through. The last thing I want during a SHTF situation is to give my family bad water. I guess if I had to rely on one in an emergency, I would put food dye in every batch of water so I would be able to tell if it was starting to leak.

      • very good point about water leaking. it does take quite a bit of pressure to get water through the filter. if there was a leak in the silicone I feel that most of the water would not get filtered. Right now I am only filtering city water and there is absolutely no taste to the water that comes out of the berkey filter. The stuff that stays on top I could clean the floor with because it has that much chlorine in it.

        what filter have you decided on and bought for your families safety? I am interested to hear of the other options out there.
        I looked up above and saw your answer. the katadyn pocket thing. Have you pumped dirty water through it? if so, do you think you could pump enough water to keep four people hydrated during strenuous activity for a day? I am simply asking because I do not know.

        • I have not pumped really dirty water through it and don’t plan to. When I use it, I collect my water in a bucket and then pre-filter it into another bucket prior to using the filter. I also use coffee filters wrapped around the pickup screen to reduce dirt even more. My hope is that we will only have to filter collected rain water through it and that will extend its life quite a bit. If I had to take it and pump directly from a stream, I would wrap coffee filters around it again to reduce the amount of dirt getting to the filter. It is not the fastest filter in the world and it would take work to hydrate a large family. I am also working on the construction of a slow sand filter to pre-filter all of our water through and then only use the Katadyn to treat our drinking water.

  8. i just recieved two new berkey filter elements in the mail today. ill see how the new design holds up. im using them already. it only took 6 months to get them to do the right thing and only after i did a video about them denying warranty.

  9. JP in MT says:


    This problem has been fixed. If you are buying new or have for the last 2years the filters are fine!

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