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Thread: Question about drinkable water

  1. #1
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    Default Question about drinkable water

    What do you folks who have remote cabins in the interior do for drinkable water? Summer/winter?

    I've read some just drink from a stream or lake and toughen there gut to parasites over time. I've also heard of folks gathering rain water or melting snow.

    Other ideas I've thought of, a backpack type charcoal hand pump filter (a hassle I imagine after using one for a weekend) or reverse osmosis system.

    What are your experiences?

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    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Default

    Our snow is very dry. It takes a LOT to make much fluid water. You can have a rain catchment system or filter water, especially if you can get it from a small stream. Most rivers are too full of sediment and will clog up your filters quickly. You can just bring your water to a boil for a minute too. Depends on how much available wood you have.
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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Default Spring water

    We are very fortunate to have a clear cold spring on the cut bank that runs year round. Even during extreme cold temps it runs. Nice in the summer too as it keeps all the beverages ice cold.
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    The first several years we used melted snow and ground water filtered through a Katadyne drip filter. Too slow. We started hauling drinking water in 5 gallon jugs and using the sand point water for washing. Finally we blew in a well with a submersible pump and the water tested better than our Anchorage well.

    The Katadyne worked but we evolved for convenience reasons, which is mostly based on volume. I think that's pretty typical. Cabins mature to fit the occupant's needs. Primarily the occupant wife.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    If you're out and about long enough there will come a time when you don't have a filter and you need or want to drink from a stream. And while it isn't technically proven I guess, my own personal philosophy is to build your gut up to the parasites. However, this will usually involve getting a case of giardia at some point in time.

    I got it when first moving out here. All our kids just drank river water and never got it. There are times when we do filter water (flooding, during breakup and freezeup when river is jamming and dirty), but for the most part we drink straight out of river, and we drink out of streams when hiking or traveling. I'll usually try to find water in winter rather than melt snow, just cuz of time-factor involved in melting so much snow for dogs and people. Snow water is fairly bland to me too taste-wise. I kinda like to taste the differing creeks and rivers, sure is a lot of difference. Wouldn't advise drinking out of major waterways where sewer etc is dumped, like the Yukon, without filtering.

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    You can also try iodine tablets instead of boiling or filtering. I have no idea how it tastes though. The general rule for boiling is 20 minutes in order to completely sterilize it... but 5 minutes should take care of most organisms.

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    Seems there are many different methods.

    I knew a Crow Indian in Montana that regularly drank from streams when fishing and never had a problem. He tried to get me to try it but I didn't want to take the chance.


    I've heard that giardia comes from cattle and wondered if there are few cattle in the interior of Alaska if it wasn't relatively safe.

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    Member CaptNemo's Avatar
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    Default Not only cattle

    Giardia can also come from cats, dogs, moose, beaver, any number of animals that crap in the wild. It is usually waterborne but can also be caused by eating the uncooked meat of an affected animal. Watch out for yellow snow and cook that rascal before you eat him. CN

  9. #9

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    It also comes from raw food or waterborne bacterias. So I always take time to boil the water before drinking it.


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  10. #10

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    It's best to boil the water. But I grew up in the interior and drank almost anything.

    I was once digging a hole through the ice to set a beaver trap. By the time I chipped out two feet ice I was hot and thirsty. The water bubbled up and I could smell the beaver. But I stuck my head down there and guzzled that cold water. No ill effects. I decided I'm probably a carrier.

    I do think it's best to boil the water. But I don't.
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    Giardia is also called beaver fever for a reason, and there are beavers everywhere up here. I've drunk straight out of streams before but don't make a habit of it. Our cabin is a weekender and we just haul in clean drinking water.

    Next year though, I'm thinking of burying a water tank (to keep it from freezing in the winter) and getting another "process" tank. My plan is to pump water out of the beaver pond near our cabin, run it through a particle filter, and fill the process tank. Mix it with an appropriate amount of chlorine (bleach) and let it sit for a day. Then pump it through another, tighter, particle filter, then a carbon filter (to remove the chlorine) and into the buried storage tank.

    200 gallons or so at a time would last us a long time.

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    NRick,

    You should visit Alaska Pure Water and look at their UV light sterilizers. They have options to use your water using less effort.

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    Thanks, I'll look into it. Part of the problem though, is that the water is high in tannins. I don't think UV takes care of that.

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    I decided I'm probably a carrier.
    Yes, you probably are a carrier. :-) If you ever have an unexplained bout of diarrhea... it's probably giardia. The organism survives in the gut in cysts that protect it from the immune system. It will periodically emerge and cause diarrhea when it's host is under stress or for no reason at all.

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    Member ADUKHNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CKinMD View Post
    You can also try iodine tablets instead of boiling or filtering. I have no idea how it tastes though. The general rule for boiling is 20 minutes in order to completely sterilize it... but 5 minutes should take care of most organisms.
    In the military we use iodine tablets at times. The taste is bad but you don't get sick or die from dehydration, they have their pluses and minuses. They are easy to carry and that is why we have them but they are definately not the first choice.

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