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Old 16-09-2010, 17:03   #31
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We sailed RTW 2003-2007, never ever drank tap water once, anywhere.

We did drink tea and coffee made from boiled tap water, no health issues.

We never chlorinated nor filtered water.

A watermaker is a nice to have. Huge tanks beat any watermaker. Having both onboard is a dream come true.

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Old 17-09-2010, 09:57   #32
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We have been all over the Caribbean Basin and never had any problems with using local water. Of course we purchased a home sized activated charcoal water filter and canister - like is installed in R.O. machines - and installed garden hose fittings on the inlet/outlet of the filter canister. Then we hook the filter up to the dock water supply and filter all the water going into the boat's water tanks. Secondly, we purchased from Home Depot (or other hardware/plumbing stores) a kitchen/bar charcoal filter and dispensing tap. The tap is installed on the galley sink in the corner and the small filter tube is bolted to the wall underneath and plumbed into the potable water supply.
- - So we end up with double charcoal filtration - first when putting the dock water into the boat's water tanks and secondly when drawing water for cooking or drinking from the galley sink. Washing water is only filtered once by the portable dock unit.
- - Some cruising friends added a second home filter canister to the first canister with the activated charcoal. The added canister has a 2 micron particle filter to remove solids that are coming down the dock water system. If you look at the mega-yachts (or really expensive motor yachts) most all of them have these large water filter units laying on the dock hooked up to the local water before it goes into their vessels.
- - You can make these home canister filter system units for about US$20 if you buy the parts from discount home stores. But also buy a many-year supply of the filter cartridges before you leave on your grand tour. The prices of the replacement filter cartridges are 5 to 10 times more expensive than home out here in the hinterlands.
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Old 17-09-2010, 10:16   #33
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charcoal simply improves the taste. The real work is done by the 2 micron filter. I would prefer 1 micron myself, that would elminate pretty much all harmful protazoa that commonly cause stomach complaints. To get bacteria for such diseases as cholera, one needs go even smaller to .1 micron. Here you are requiring pressure so you may as well go with a watermaker and get the virus sized critters too (.004 micron). In many areas you are playing Russian roulette; what might be safe in one place in December may not be so a month or so down the road. Many diseases and parasites are seasonal, and if you don't know what is going 0n ashore, or has been going on, then you are taking your chances.
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Old 17-09-2010, 10:49   #34
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What is clean water?

The couple of times I visited Mexico I drank the water everywhere I went - I asked first though. My son tells me in Thailand you can drink the water but there are street venders with ice made from dirty water and it is to be avoided.

In rural mountainous areas in BC it is common to drink surface water from creeks. I first came out here 35 years ago and love the surface water and have never had a problem with it. The gov't tests have shown coliform levels higher then they believe safe and so don't reccomend it but it is clean water. Circa 1990 I lived in Vancouver and they had a problem with their water. The chlorine was put in at the resevoir in the mountains and its efficacy quickly fades. The old pipes (some still made of wood) added bacteria to the water as it came throught them. It is not uncommon in areas where turbidity can increase seasonally for chlorine to become ineffective.

When in Alberta I knew a professor at UofA who speciallized in water quality, the sort of person they call in when there is a disaster such as Walkerton, Ontario, and he had done a lot of testing in his life. He said most tap water is far safer then bottled water.

Best thing we can do is protect our water sources, educate third world countries on safe water practises, keep our freash water tanks clean and if it comes in a bottle ... only drink it if it has been boiled in a tun with hops and malt and then fermented.
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Old 17-09-2010, 10:51   #35
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Astrid - Not quite - Activated charcoal filtration does remove many contaminants from water: See: How Does An Activated Charcoal Water Filtration Purifier Work?

"The process works by absorbing certain contaminants in water. Activated charcoal is simply carbon that has been chemically infused with oxygen to create pores that absorb contaminants, and it has been found to be highly effective in removing foreign chemicals and microorganisms from water. A water filter that uses the process of reverse osmosis will not be as effective in removing synthetic chemicals, like the ones that originate in herbicides and pesticides, as activated carbon water filtration systems are."

However, as I noted, some folks add an additional canister that is specifically for particle filtration. But I prefer Hummingway's "only drink it if it has been boiled in a tun with hops and malt and then fermented."
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Old 17-09-2010, 10:56   #36
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I will remember that about Bud. I don't drink it myself, but maybe it might not be a bad trade item should I get that far south.
Miller High Life. It's the champagne of beers.
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Old 17-09-2010, 11:10   #37
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Astrid - Not quite - Activated charcoal filtration does remove many contaminants from water:

I was talking mostly about live biological contaminants, viruses, amoeba, protazoa, and bacteria, but these require much more sophisticated filtration than straight activated charcoal. Some activated charcoal filtration systems take things down to the 1 or 2 micron level and thus can deal with the more common problem causing organisms, but it is not the charcoal alone as these combine other filters with the charcoal. Activated charcoal is useful, as you point out, in removing many chemical contamanents, including toxins from various sources, sulphates, etc., and as many of these affect taste, that was what I meant when I stated activated charcoal was most useful in improving the taste of drinking water.
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Old 17-09-2010, 11:30   #38
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But, do you really think all the water in Mexico comes from the same place? And has a distribution system of equal quality throughout the country? I'm sure some are better than others.

There have been places in the US I filled a glass out of the tap and decided based on looks or smell not to drink it. Chances are, it was safe, at least in that quantity, but it maybe had too much chlorine or silt, I just moved on.

Whatever Charcoal does to change the taste of the water is due to removing something (or adding something). How else could you explain the change in taste? And I do remember once helping bolt large 100+ gallon tanks that were supposed to be some type of charcoal filter to the floor of a ballast treatment facility in my checkered past. I'm sure they weren't trying to add anything or worried about the taste, but attempting to remove chemicals left in the ballast they were receiving from crude oil tankers.
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Old 17-09-2010, 11:50   #39
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
We have been all over the Caribbean Basin and never had any problems with using local water. Of course we purchased a home sized activated charcoal water filter and canister - like is installed in R.O. machines - and installed garden hose fittings on the inlet/outlet of the filter canister. Then we hook the filter up to the dock water supply and filter all the water going into the boat's water tanks. Secondly, we purchased from Home Depot (or other hardware/plumbing stores) a kitchen/bar charcoal filter and dispensing tap. The tap is installed on the galley sink in the corner and the small filter tube is bolted to the wall underneath and plumbed into the potable water supply.
- - So we end up with double charcoal filtration - first when putting the dock water into the boat's water tanks and secondly when drawing water for cooking or drinking from the galley sink. Washing water is only filtered once by the portable dock unit.
- - Some cruising friends added a second home filter canister to the first canister with the activated charcoal. The added canister has a 2 micron particle filter to remove solids that are coming down the dock water system. If you look at the mega-yachts (or really expensive motor yachts) most all of them have these large water filter units laying on the dock hooked up to the local water before it goes into their vessels.
- - You can make these home canister filter system units for about US$20 if you buy the parts from discount home stores. But also buy a many-year supply of the filter cartridges before you leave on your grand tour. The prices of the replacement filter cartridges are 5 to 10 times more expensive than home out here in the hinterlands.

Just a quick point. Though charcoal filters pretty much all look alike, they are not. Charcoal filters for under your sink at home and under your galley sink are fine from Home Depot like stores. But they are not fine for your water maker. Make sure you always get the right charcoal filters for your water maker as recommended by the manufacturer and change them out when you are supposed to.
Also, I still stand behind a 5 micron filter before a charcoal filter then a UV light to make sure. Reducing the filtration further will have an effect on many smaller feed pumps and can, in some cases, reduce your gph flow to a crawl. Secondly, if you have to get down to any filtration below a five micron and charcoal filter to get clean water then it's time to clean you tanks.
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Old 17-09-2010, 12:28   #40
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No one filtration system can get 100% of the bad stuff in potential drinking water, so in essence, more than one system is desirable. One must balance out what you can achieve with the means at hand and what you can afford. The chart on the following link will help guide you in your choices.

Compare Different Water Filtration Methods-R.O., Distillation, UV
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Old 17-09-2010, 13:20   #41
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Astrid, drinking deionized water is actually quite bad for you. I think a good backpacking filter or marine/household equivalent should be plenty good. Drinking chlorine and flourine are bigger health risks than most people appreciate.
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Old 17-09-2010, 13:31   #42
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A five Micron filter before a good charcol filter then a UV light. Easy setup anyone can build or buy a pre manufactured unit.
We plumbed in a faucet for drinking and cooking water through a special filter bought at an RV store. No bulky filter at the sink itself. UV adds safety after filtration. I carry a pen-size UV "stirrer" to use ashore. Found "bottled" water for sale in Indonesia in unsealed bottles. Yuck.
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Old 17-09-2010, 13:33   #43
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And why not drink just clean bottled water?

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Old 17-09-2010, 13:36   #44
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Astrid, drinking deionized water is actually quite bad for you. I think a good backpacking filter or marine/household equivalent should be plenty good. Drinking chlorine and flourine are bigger health risks than most people appreciate.
I agree about the chemicals. I believe that the nazi's were the first to add fluoride to the water. In order to keep their prisoners docile.

The black berkey filters I mentioned earlier are proven to remove all pathogens and pretty much above 95 percent of chemicals.
They're not cheap, but since I'm only running settled rainwater through them I don't think I'll have to change them out often.
It was well worth the couple hundred dollars to me for the peace of mind that knowing that I'm not dependent on anyone else for my water.
In the event of an emergency, I can drink water from the gutter if I had to. Without treating it with chemicals at all.

Black Berkey water filter technical specifications

"We tested the Black Berkey filters with more than 10,000 times the concentration of harmful pathogens per liter of water than is required by industry standard test protocols. This concentration of pathogens is so high that the water exiting the filters should be expected to contain 100,000 or more of pathogens per liter (99.99% reduction - the requirement in order to be classified for pathogenic removal). Incredibly Berkey water filter elements removed 100% of the pathogens. Absolutely no pathogens were found in the effluent or were able to be detected. This sets a new standard, allowing us to classify all Berkey systems containing the Black Berkey elements as purifiers. These revolutionary purification elements are so powerful they can remove food coloring from the water without removing any of the beneficial minerals your body needs."
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Old 17-09-2010, 13:38   #45
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And why not drink just clean bottled water?

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Some bottled water toxicity shown to exceed law

The poison lurking in your plastic water bottle | Mail Online
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