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  1. #1
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Default Filtering Extremely Sedimented Water

    What tips and tricks do you all have for filtering water that is categorized as having 'extreme levels of sediment that will clog a regular filter'? I'm operating under the assumption that simple backwashing would be ineffective or cumbersome.

    I am looking for a solution that is simple, repeatable, and ideally - lightweight.

    My regular filter system consists of a Sawyer, so bonus if I can get this to work with that system.

    I appreciate any ideas!
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  2. #2
    13-45 Section Hiker Trash Berserker's Avatar
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    For heavy sediment pre-filtering works best. The lightest weight option is coffee filters. I have also used filter bags from Duda Diesel (http://www.dudadiesel.com/). You can cut the top half off, and just carry the bottom half. The only issue with the duda filters is they take a long time to dry out.
    AT: 2007-2019 (45 sections)
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  3. #3
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    I have not experimented with or otherwise tried it, but adding a bit of alum, stirring the water and then letting it settle for a few minutes is apparently standard practice for outfitters running the Grand Canyon and other areas where super silty water is the primary water source. The alum helps cause clumping of the silt so it settles faster and more completely. Then you would filter the clear water you scoop or pour off the top.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  4. #4
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    The first two responses have basically given you the only two basic options:
    1. Pre-filter
    2. Collect and wait for silt to settle.

    I use a Sawyer in gravity mode, and when I first started using it, I tried pre-filtering with the MSR Silt Stopper.
    The Silt Stopper basically has nipples at each end and comes with a short piece of tubing. So one solution is to get the Sawyer inline adapters (available separately, included with certain models of the Squeeze). Using the inline adapters on the Squeeze input and your bladder output, tubing can be used to connect the bladder to the silt stopper, then the silt stopper to the sawyer (the short piece of tubing that comes with the Silt Stopper is long enough that I think you can cut it in two and use it for both sides of the Silt Stopper). The Silt Stopper can be back-flushed as it gets clogged.

    Note: The silt stopper is like a coffee filter on steroids. I was constantly amazed at the silt it would filter from what I thought was a clean flowing stream. So on extremely silty water, I would image the Silt Stopper could quickly become overwhelmed.

  5. #5
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    If you are using your Sawyer in gravity mode, set up the system so the water drains from the dirty bag slightly above the bottom. Then debris will settle below the outflow point and stay out of the filter. However this would require you hanging your dirty water bag long enough for the debris to settle. This could be an option at camp if you let the water settle overnight and filter in the morning.

  6. #6
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Where are you planning to encounter this silty water?
    Wayne

  7. #7

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    For all but the smallest of silt, What I came up with and have been doing for a Long time now (it's cheap [free], WAY light weight, and works the charm...)
    **Go to most any shoe store. Get one or two of the little 'panyhoses' slip-on sock things they have for trying on shoes. Keep one or both in your hipbelt, chest pocket, wherever...
    When you encounter silty/murky/dirty water put that over your bag before screwing on your sawyer squeeze, then screw on your filter, and then use as normal.
    Knock the dirt, etc... off of it when done, put back in your wherever you carry it (I keep mine in my chest pocket), and continue on :-)

    u.w.

  8. #8

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    Agree....coffee filter.
    "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change". Charles Darwin

  9. #9

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    bandana works, in a pinch.

  10. #10
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Default

    Some great ideas so far, thank you all very much!

    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Where are you planning to encounter this silty water?
    Wayne
    My primary concern is for Paria Canyon/Buckskin Gulch. You're essentially hiking in and along a river the entire way, but a lack of filterable water is a concern. Go figure. I'm also doing Grand Canyon R2R same trip and sounds like this may be an issue there as well. I want to do some test runs locally before the trip.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  11. #11
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Silty water should be a non-issue on a GC R2R hike. North Kaibab has water available at Roaring Springs, Cottonwood, and Phantom Ranch, while Bright Angel has water at Indian Garden and the rest houses. There will be no need to try to filter from the river (and if you're hiking South Kaibab, there isn't any water source... plumbing or filtering... between rim and river).

  12. #12
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    Coffee filters and rubber bands.

  13. #13
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    I have used a clean bandana folded several times
    Blackheart

  14. #14

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    Centrifugal force
    Put water in a bladder, attach rope and spin around head while saying yippee!

  15. #15
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    Some great ideas so far, thank you all very much!


    My primary concern is for Paria Canyon/Buckskin Gulch. You're essentially hiking in and along a river the entire way, but a lack of filterable water is a concern. Go figure. I'm also doing Grand Canyon R2R same trip and sounds like this may be an issue there as well. I want to do some test runs locally before the trip.
    Thanks. Have a great trip!
    Wayne

  16. #16
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    i've used paper towels to filter the coffee bean silt out of my morning beverage.... not the best solution but it can work if you have nothing else....

  17. #17

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    Sea to Summit 10L Ultra-Sil Bucket - 1oz, pack of matches size. Fill at camp, prop upright, let time settle silt down, scoop off the top. Also doubles as a great swimming PFD.

  18. #18

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    Out of pure curiousity...how many times or how long do coffee filters last? I don't hike where rhey are needed, heck I hike where filtering is barely needed, but I see them recommended a lot and enquiring minds want to knot

  19. #19
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    Bandana. On the Escalante River during spring run off on a Hayduke Tr thru hike where the river was the only water source and hiking in the cold and high river was the "trail" the dissolved silt was so heavy even a bandana quickly clogged. I still used it to collect and filter some water. The bandana actually held water the pores were so clogged with silt. It didn't work well. I waited for the water to settle in a 2.4 L Platypus. In 3 hrs 1/3 of the Platypus was filled with settled mud. I decantered the clear(er) water off the top.

    On PCT, CDT, and Grand Enchantment Trail thrus several times fouled cattle trough, cow pond slimy water, and fouled by agricultural livestock natural springs was drunk with the dissolved solids first filtered off through a bandana. Water tasted and smelled of cow dung. Most folks have no idea how great the water sources can be on trails like the AT, BMT, LT, and other eastern trails. Most eastern folks have no idea the extent agricultural livestock like cattle and pigs wreck environmental havoc on land, water, and air.

  20. #20
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    Ohh, BTW knew of the Escalante River's, and the Dirty Devil River's(Hayduke Tr) propensity for siltation. Brought coffee filters. They were a joke, worse then the bandana at becoming quickly clogged.

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