Water Filtration Versus Purification

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There are three main situations where you need water storage. We’ve talked about the first two on our blog already, and today we want to cover the third one.

  • Grab N Go: Have some small, portable water containers included as part of your Disaster Kits so you can grab them in case of an evacuation.
  • Bulk Storage at Home: In case of an emergency where your water supply is cut off for a short period of time, you should have at least a two week supply of drinkable water on hand. Choose water storage containers that fit your space and budget constraints.
  • Long Term Water Needs: Since you can’t store endless amounts of water, if there is a long term water shortage, you must find a source of water and have some means of ensuring that it is drinkable via filtration and/or purification.

We want to explain the difference between filtration and purification so that should you need to access water for a long term emergency, you will know how to properly treat your water. Depending on how contaminated your water is, a simple filter may be safe enough. But it is usually better to be on the safe side and fully purify all drinking water.

Water Filtration

Think of water filtration like a strainer. You have a filter with tiny holes in it which will block certain undesirable things from getting through. Any chunks of dirt, rocks, bugs, etc. will be filtered out. Most filters today will also do a good job at blocking protozoa (i.e. Cryptosporidium, Giardia) and bacteria (i.e. Salmonella, E. coli). However, viruses are so small that they will get through the holes in a regular filter. If you use a water “filter” it is a good idea to also purify the water once you have strained out the larger impurities. Here are some of the common water FILTERS you may be aware of:

Water Purification

Water purification makes water safe to drink but does not necessarily remove all undesirable elements from the water (large items such as dirt, rocks, etc.). Water can be purified by boiling it (for at least 3 minutes to kill everything), by using chemicals such as iodine or chlorine, by using UV, or by using special water purifiers that are rated to actually kill viruses (i.e. Enteric, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Rotavirus). Here are a few products that only PURIFY your water:

Filtration/Purification Combos

If you prefer to have one product that will both filter and purify your water there are two great ones that we recommend. The Berkey Water Filter is very popular among our readers and it’s great for both every day use AND for emergency situations. You could also use a filter and then also use water purification tablets, chemicals or boil the water to make sure you get all the smaller impurities out.

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