View Full Version : water treatments

09-03-2006, 09:24
I was out backpacking in the Mahoosucs this past week and ran into a couple who used bleach as their water treatment. They have been using it for over 1000 miles and seem to be doing fine. He said they used 3 drops of bleach for every liter of water.
My question, is this a good practice?
Wilderness Gramma

09-03-2006, 11:18
Sodium chlorite in bleach is the same thing in Aqua Mira. Just in AQ there are no other chemicals formed, as there is in standard household bleach.
Sodium chlorite is still toxic in large doses though, no matter where it comes from.

The Old Fhart
09-03-2006, 15:48
Boston-"I believe the active chemical in bleach is what the municipal water treatment plants use to treat water."
Regular household bleach is 5 to 6 percent sodium hypochlorite. Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is the chemical used for the treatment of public drinking water. There have been threads on WhiteBlaze discussing the difference and generally they conclude bleach to be an emergency use only way to treat water although it can be effective if nothing else is available.

Chemically bleach(sodium hypochlorite) and chlorine dioxide are chemically different much like sodium chloride(table salt) is chemically different than calcium chloride that is spread on dirt roads to absorb moisture from the air.

09-03-2006, 15:58
I have used bleach (briefly), Polar Pure (extensively), and Aqua Mira (recently). I have even been known on occasion to drink untreated water - which I would NEVER recommend that anyone else do.

When I take my 16 year old daughter hiking - I filter. I think that speaks volumes about the way I feel regarding drinking water in the backcountry.

09-03-2006, 16:14
I have used bleach and aquamira. They taste the same to me. Miss Janet is the one who put me on bleach. Works like a charm.

09-03-2006, 18:16
treated water has never touched my virgin lips.

ed bell
09-03-2006, 18:19
treated water has never touched my virgin lips.You drink city water, no?:-?

09-03-2006, 18:25
not drink water without poison? when its comming from mountains instead of pipes? never!putting crap in water is dumb. your ill. you need serious help. you cant read. also you will die. everyone with the iq of a frog knows water will not hurt you on the at. no one ever gets bad water on this trail. never ever ever. the few storys are stupid ass's who didnt know anything and washed their cup in the privy. dont even talk to me about the need to purify on the at. what? ive been lucky? how is it that i drink from most each and every source and never carry water am i not ill?im 45. ive got 2000 mi so far. never treated once since i was 15. luck? i think not.just a few sources over the years were dirty. and they were visibly dirty. so giardia and the like are not to be worryied about. more dribble from our weak ass sosiaty preaching fear. drink the frickin water fool.

09-03-2006, 18:29
15 5's delivered from wissahikon spring water every time i pick up the phone and make an order.dont talk to me about water. did you know when i was a kid a goldfish took a few minutes to die in tap water? now its about 10 seconds to belly up. do you wanna drink water that kills a fish in 10 seconds? i dont. never have since i was 17

ed bell
09-03-2006, 19:40
never have since i was 17A born again virgin.:D

Lone Wolf
09-03-2006, 21:04
I drink water untreated/unfiltered/unaltered between Maine and Georgia. Have for 20 years. Never been sick. Why all this "treating" stuff? Y'all read too much. Marketing breeds fear.:)

09-03-2006, 21:14
Crystal Lite seems to work pretty well :D .

doodah man
09-03-2006, 22:28
I was out backpacking in the Mahoosucs this past week and ran into a couple who used bleach as their water treatment. They have been using it for over 1000 miles and seem to be doing fine. He said they used 3 drops of bleach for every liter of water.
My question, is this a good practice?
Wilderness Gramma

Anghiker... My wife is a public health nurse with extensive dealings with communicable diseases. Perhaps 25 years ago when filters were not very available/common, the official public health recommendation was 3 drops of bleach per quart and let stand for 15 minutes to half an hour depending on water clarity. Somewhere around the house, I have a copy of that original health department publication she gave me with the test results addressing the variables like bleach strength, water temperature, turbidity, etc. I tried to find it to refresh my memory for this reply, but was unsuccessful. I recall that the target audience was wilderness traveling (backpackers/campers of that era). The extended trip thru-hike type of activity was very uncommon back then and long term exposure was not addressed in that publication. Even though the current consensus is that Iodine is more effective, especially when the concentration of giardia is large, my hiking first-aid/repair/hygiene kit has a 0.15 ml dropper bottle of bleach (~60 drops) as back-up treatment for questionable water because it is something always available at home and easy to re-stock prior to each trip. I know it is my wife’s opinion that a backpacker is more at risk from ‘soiled’ hands than the vast majority of wilderness water sources. My reply is not meant to be any sort of do/don’t recommendation, but just that there is some historical medical basis for the 3 drops per quart/liter. I do know a small handful of people who have had giardiasis and it can be nasty (note, that it is very common to be completely asymptomatic with giardiasis, so one can get it and never know it). However, an instructor for a mountaineering course I once took even has long term problems with his digestive system decades later.


09-04-2006, 15:36
Thanks, everyone for you input. I have always carried a filter but I always have back up only because one year my filter died. I think I may carry a little bleach now!
thanks again eveyone

09-04-2006, 15:42
If one is exposed to chemical treatments only sporatically, there's probably not much to worry about. The more exposure one has, thru hiking or most every weekend, then maybe there's something to think about. I am personally switching from Klear Water (a chlorine dioxide product) to the new Steripen Adventurer that is about to hit the market. It is a ultraviolet light treatment that kills everything and leaves no residual chemicals. This new version is about 1/2 the size and weight of the current version and so is now weight competitive with other options.