When the only water is from a questionable source, filtering may not always prove an effective means of making it safe. Additionally, using a water purification system may not be a practical alternative so the use of a water purification tablet is usually recommended.
Boiling has long been the best-known method of killing harmful bacteria in water, and recommendations have been to boil it at 185 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of one minute to ensure the eradication of all disease-carrying germs. However, when a heat source is not available, the next best option is a water purification tablet.
Used by the military for several years to keep the troops supplied with water, the have become popular with hikers and campers who want potable water without the need to carry gallons of fresh water with them, reluctant to add the extra pounds. A water purification tablet can work within minutes to kill all bacteria in water, where even a portable water filter only removes contaminants.
Not Everyone Can Handle Iodine
While a two-percent concentration of iodine has been proven to kill microbes in water, not everyone can ingest iodine, even when it is an ingredient in a water purification tablet. The alternative is a chlorine-based water purification tablet. As with most disinfectants and sanitizers that kill disease-carrying germs, chlorine in an effective destroyer of all things hazardous.
Used alone, or with a filtering system to remove other, larger contaminants, a water purification tablet containing chlorine can make the water cleaner and safer. However, the taste of the chlorine in the water may not be palatable to some people. Those who can tolerate iodine should know that adding vitamin C to the purified water would enhance the taste. Chlorine, however, will still have the faint taste to serve as a reminder that the water is fit to drink.
When camping, hiking or biking long distances, to avoid the necessity of carrying several gallons of water, a water purification tablet can turn water from a lake or river into needed drinking water, free of the bacteria. Even if the water looks clear and has no unattractive odor, pesky diseases may be laying in wait for the unsuspecting person.
When out in the wild, all it takes is some common sense, along with a water purification tablet to insure that none of the disease-filled bacteria in the water will enter your system. No boiling is necessary and if you don’t mind drinking the water unfiltered, it may not taste as good as you are used to, but it won’t make you sick.