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  1. #1
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Default Water purification when a Sawyer is not enough

    Heading to Zion National Park in a couple of weeks to do some hiking. A notice on their website says there is a toxic Cyanobacteria bloom in all park water sources and using a filter will not work. I confirmed with Sawyer that they can't do anything with the bacteria when using their filters. So I'm left to use other purification methods. I have a Steripen, which supposedly will kill the bacteria, but I was wondering if anyone could recommend another method. It seems the Micropur product of the Katadyn Group might be an alternative.

    Product suggestions?
    Trail Name - Slapshot
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  2. #2
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    I have been using a Grayl filter and know it filters more than the Sawyer. However in the Grayl FAQ's it does not remove Cyanobacteria.

    https://grayl.com/pages/faqs

    IS THE PURIFIER CARTRIDGE EFFECTIVE AGAINST CYANOTOXINS (A.K.A. BLUE ALGEA)?

    No. GRAYL's purifier media is not recommended for use with cyanotoxin poisoned drinking water. Cyanotoxins are created when cyanobacteria (or 'blue algae') proliferate in freshwater lakes, under certain conditions, likely exacerbated by global warming. Water containing cyanotoxins is very no bueno for human health.

    Activated carbon, one technology in GRAYL's purifier media, can reduce cyanotoxins but not to a level that is sufficient to make the water safe. Reverse osmosis is the only filtration method effective against cyanotoxins.

  3. #3

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    Steripen may kill the bacteria, but it may not destroy toxins that are present.

    This page from the Florida trail discusses the toxin issue, recommending the MSR Miniworks because of its ceramic filter w/carbon core. Interesting, but, similar to the GRAYL info posted above, may not be a guarantee of toxin removal.
    https://www.thruhikeflorida.com/gear...t-and-storage/

    tough one.....

  4. #4
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justhike View Post
    Steripen may kill the bacteria, but it may not destroy toxins that are present.
    I'm glad you replied. I was seriously considering my Steripen if no one else came up with a solution. I have message into Katadyn Group to see what they think about using their Steripen. I hope they reply back.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
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  5. #5

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    To be sure, I'd go with chlorine and wait the required 30 minutes. I don't trust the Steripen. If the water is still toxic after the bacteria are killed, I'd think twice about going there...or plan on only doing day hikes so you can carry bottled water.
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  6. #6
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    Heading to Zion National Park in a couple of weeks to do some hiking. A notice on their website says there is a toxic Cyanobacteria bloom in all park water sources and using a filter will not work. I confirmed with Sawyer that they can't do anything with the bacteria when using their filters. So I'm left to use other purification methods. I have a Steripen, which supposedly will kill the bacteria, but I was wondering if anyone could recommend another method. It seems the Micropur product of the Katadyn Group might be an alternative.

    Product suggestions?
    Sawyer select s3.

  7. #7
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    Information on this, even from the park officials seems to be a bit confusion if not just plain misguided.

    The Zion Park water issue is NOT an issue of not being able to kill or filter cyanobacteria. Any standard backpacking filter does a fantastic job of filtering out cyanobacteria. The bacteria themselves are NOT the problem. Therefore, ultra-filtration with filters that remove even viruses also do not address the issue. And, therefore killing everything in the water with chemical treatment again does not address the issue.

    The issue is apparently the toxins released into and either remaining in the water or stirred up into the water from the sediment that is the problem.

    As alluded to above, the right activated charcoal might well reduce or eliminate the toxin, BUT, it also might not. Until it has been tested and shown to remove the specific toxins to a safe level, I would not trust any filter or water treatment to make it safe to consume any amount of water from Zion. Until we are told otherwise, at this point, I'd suggest the only options are cache & carry.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  8. #8

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    Wear a stillsuit like they do on Dune.

  9. #9
    Registered User NY HIKER 50's Avatar
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    We have this here in my city. It is an alge bloom and can also cause rashes as well as poisining.

  10. #10

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    RO is the only way that I know to remove the toxins.

  11. #11
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    Question: Are you 6 months pregnant?
    If no, there is nothing to worry about.

    Be sure to wear your seat belt and drive safely. That is the most dangerous part of your journey.

    In the rare instances that I filter, I use Aquamira. $15 and you're good to go. FEMA recommends a chlorine-based product, regular household bleach for emergency situations. Chlorine kills viruses, bacteria, and whitens your clothes.

    Before water filters arrived on the backpacking scene, everyone used chlorine or iodine products. The filter companies created undue fear to sell their products and legions of hikers (including myself) scrambled to buy this heavy, expensive, and unnecessary piece of gear.
    Springer to Katahdin: 1991-2018

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kisco Kid View Post
    Question: Are you 6 months pregnant?
    If no, there is nothing to worry about.

    Be sure to wear your seat belt and drive safely. That is the most dangerous part of your journey.

    In the rare instances that I filter, I use Aquamira. $15 and you're good to go. FEMA recommends a chlorine-based product, regular household bleach for emergency situations. Chlorine kills viruses, bacteria, and whitens your clothes.

    Before water filters arrived on the backpacking scene, everyone used chlorine or iodine products. The filter companies created undue fear to sell their products and legions of hikers (including myself) scrambled to buy this heavy, expensive, and unnecessary piece of gear.
    Normal backpack filter will not remove the toxin

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    Heading to Zion National Park in a couple of weeks to do some hiking. A notice on their website says there is a toxic Cyanobacteria bloom in all park water sources and using a filter will not work. I confirmed with Sawyer that they can't do anything with the bacteria when using their filters. So I'm left to use other purification methods. I have a Steripen, which supposedly will kill the bacteria, but I was wondering if anyone could recommend another method. It seems the Micropur product of the Katadyn Group might be an alternative.

    Product suggestions?

    I just did a Google search on cyanobacteria which I would recommend to anyone.Personally,from what I read I think I would go somewhere else until the situation improves.Note:I read that BOILING CAN MAKE IT WORSE which was a real surprise to me............so do your own research before you go...............

  14. #14
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    We will be in Zion next week. We plan on buying our water for the Zion part of our trip - There are TONS of other places that are Beautiful in southern Utah with out the crowds - My wife wants to do the Angels Landing Trail and do more of a driving tour of this park before we head out to other places. We may be there for a day - Probably less once she realizes how crowded it gets.

  15. #15
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Sawyer select s3.
    Yeah, the Select filter line is what Sawyer recommended. They are hard to find, very expensive and heavy. I have not found an S3 but did find an S1 at over $80.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
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  16. #16
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    At this point, it looks like filtration (like a Sawyer squeeze to remove whole cells) followed by either undefined levels of activated charcoal or unverified concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to remove or deactivate the cytotoxin are the most promising potential options for portable treatment of water like this. That being said, I didn't find any research in my brief look to verify this speculation as actually working reliably enough in practice to be used for drinking water.

    Certainly, filtration and/or chlorine based treatments do NOT work.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  17. #17
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    Yeah, the Select filter line is what Sawyer recommended. They are hard to find, very expensive and heavy. I have not found an S3 but did find an S1 at over $80.
    Check out moosejaw they may have one @ around $ 90 .
    The Sawyer 20 oz S3 Foam Filter Bottle.
    Yeah expensive, Yeah heavy.
    It's your best defense for such conditions!!

  18. #18
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    Slapshot, I remember you fondly from NH section of AT in 2018. I suggest avoiding that water issue completely. As mentioned, there are so many great places in UT and out west.

    That bloom issue there is very problematic. You are a strong(and slow) hiker but I remember you weighing about 45 pounds. Haha. Dont think you want to carry 15 lbs of water.

    If I don't feel safe after boiling, squeeze filter and Chem drops all stacked together...I don't feel safe in that area.

    Good luck..

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kisco Kid View Post
    Question: Are you 6 months pregnant?
    If no, there is nothing to worry about.

    Be sure to wear your seat belt and drive safely. That is the most dangerous part of your journey.

    In the rare instances that I filter, I use Aquamira. $15 and you're good to go. FEMA recommends a chlorine-based product, regular household bleach for emergency situations. Chlorine kills viruses, bacteria, and whitens your clothes.

    Before water filters arrived on the backpacking scene, everyone used chlorine or iodine products. The filter companies created undue fear to sell their products and legions of hikers (including myself) scrambled to buy this heavy, expensive, and unnecessary piece of gear.
    I find this to be wildly irresponsible. I have to assume you've never dealt with waterborne parasitic issues.

  20. #20
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    HYOH and all that..but the house situation there is dangerous.

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