Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Drinking Water

Photo is a Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved, by Jenny Downing

From some of my earlier posts, you must know I am passionate about water: cool, clean water. Water pure as Nature intended it. Water that quenches thirst as no other liquid can. Water that not so fouled by our contamination of the environment that it requires adding a toxin to make it drinkable. You can live a long time without food, but only a few days even in optimal conditions without water.

When my sister and I started searching for a small home/stead to purchase, potable water was high on the list of priorities. This house was not advertised as having a spring, or even a spring house; instead they listed as a big selling feature that it had town water! In fact before "town water" was mandated here 15 years ago, this house and an adjacent house used our spring as the sole source of water for drinking, bathing, laundry, and maybe washing the goats.

I have lived where the water was so sulfuric-smelling you could not possibly get it past your nose to drink; I have lived where hurricanes made the water undrinkable for weeks on end; I have lived where my water pipes froze for the winter and I had to haul water for personal use, and break the ice on the trickle of a creek for the horses to drink. Never, never again, given the choice!

Much of my younger adult life I lived where the treated city water seemed passable, at least for what I knew back then. So, I wasn't too upset that this house was no longer using the spring for water.
I would buy water for drinking and cooking, only using the town water for washing dishes, showering and laundry until I could figure out how to easily hook up the spring water again. There was no way I wanted to drink the town water anyway... the chlorine smell is as strong as my old sulfur water.

Chlorine is a toxic chemical. Duh. Why else would it kill bacteria in a water supply? Thanks to widespread use of toxic chemicals and airborne pollutants, most water needs some form of treatment to be safe and healthy to drink, even water from some deep wells and springs, depending on the source of the water.

Now that I finally have the spring pump working, I'm planning to use the spring as my source for drinking/cooking water, but not without some filtering for safety and peace of mind. I had the spring water tested for bacteria, but could not afford the costly heavy metals tests (the water does contain some harmless bacteria, much like our intestines do). After considerable research on the Berkey filters mentioned in my post about
Emergency Water, along with research into several other systems, I have decided for cost and quality to buy a Berkey stainless steel water filtration system.

With a Berkey system I can have good, filtered water for about 3¢ a gallon, and it works by gravity feed so it doesn’t need electricity or water pressure.
(They offer a fluoride filter as well, but it isn’t necessary unless you have a fluoride problem.) I haven’t fully decided between the “Big Berkey” and the “Royal Berkey”; the price difference is just $25 and both have free shipping plus a bonus item. My choice of which bonus item is a no-brainer: the shower filter! (See my post on Red Eye Showers)

In case you are wondering, I do not work for Berkey, nor do I sell their products.

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