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With all the solar activity this past week and more on the way we are going to continue some options for living off the grid, just in case. A major concern is always water. For those on a well this is crucial to survival and for those relying on municipal systems there may also be days or weeks when the treatment plant is not operating or not operating at full capacity. After hurricanes, wild fires, earthquakes, tornadoes etc. there will be time when the water is flowing but has been contaminated. No problem, unless there is also no power to boil before your drink.Have you heard of the SODIS method? Solar disinfection (SODIS) was developed in the 1980’s to inexpensively disinfect water used for oral re hydration solutions used to treat diarrhea. In 1991, the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology began to experimenting with the SODIS method to treat water in third world countries where water was often tainted and making the population sick. The World Health Organization has now approved this method of purifying water.
A combination of UV rays and heat causes the destruction of disease causing organisms.
SODIS is a simple and inexpensive method of purifying water using solar light. Purifying water can be expensive if using propane to heat water to boiling. During an emergency using precious bleach may also not be a viable solution. SODIS water disinfection needs only plastic bottles and sunlight, making this a task you can even delegate to children.
SODIS method steps:
1. Clean clear PET bottles. Get into the practice of storing some of your water in clear plastic juice bottles and you have this covered. Even individual commercial water bottles can be reused for this purpose so do not discard them during an emergency once they are empty.
2. Filter water through a clean cloth or cheese cloth to remove any foreign material, insects, debris, etc.
3. Fill bottles with filtered water and tighten cap.
4. Place bottles in direct sunlight for at least 6 hour if sunny or two days in cloudy situations. To increase efficiency and water safety place bottles on a reflective, metal surface. A mylar survival blanket works well for this purpose.
5. Store water in these bottles and drink from the bottle or pour it into a clean cup.
Simple. Be sure you leave bottle in the sun the entire time as there is never a guarantee that all organisms have been killed. Err on the side of too much sun.
Benefits of SODIS are:
Proven reduction of viruses, bacteria, and protozoa in water
Proven reduction of diarrheal disease incidence in users
Simplicity of use
Water tastes good
Drawbacks of SODIS are:
The need for pretreatment, filtering water.
Length of time required to treat water
Only small amounts can be purified at one time.
Need to prepare ahead and have bottles and a reflective surface on hand.
Not 100% effective if every step is not completed.
SODIS will not remove chemicals from water so never use this method if you suspect there are any chemicals in your water source.
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