The first human need, after breathing, is drinking water. You can’t last long without it. While it’s not something we really need to think about if we live in a city, water is a problem that you’ll have to address if you’re living off-grid. The thing is that water pretty much always has some nasty bacteria in it. Fecal bacteria. And while a little fecal bacteria won’t kill you, if your source of water isn’t pristine, you can get pretty sick on it.
Cities, of course, regularly test their water and add a bunch of chemicals to it to kill the bacteria. They often also have filtering systems. Most people who live away from cities will rely on wells pumping from aquifers below their land (aquifers are large underground reservoirs of water refilled by rain). But increasingly, even aquifer water is getting contaminated. So homeowners will typically have it tested once in a while.
All this is a pain, obviously. Ensuring your land has an aquifer is a pain. Digging a well is a pain. Testing the water is a pain (you need a lab to do this). Using and maintaining a commercial water filter is a pain. Adding chemicals to your water is a pain. Isn’t there a simpler way?
Rainwater is usually quite pure and immediately drinkable. Plus, it falls on our head for free. Why not avoid messing with wells altogether and just collect rainwater?
By having your own water tanks, you’ll be in full control of your water reserves. There’s no chance of some other asshole over-pumping your aquifer and leaving you dry. There’s no chance of some nearby pig farm contaminating your well. You know exactly how much water you have, and you know exactly where it comes from.
However, there is still one small problem. To collect rainwater, you need a large surface (like your building’s roof). And that surface will probably eventually collect stuff like bugs, leaves and bird shit along with water. So you’re going to have a mild but constant bacteriological contamination.
While the water will still be good for most household purposes, it will be a bit short of being acceptable drinking water. Most types of filtering systems will get it clean enough to drink. The problem, of course, is that filtering systems cost money to buy, and need constant purchases of cartridges to remain functional. Additionally, they can’t really be repaired without buying spare parts, let alone be built from scratch in a home workshop.
So ideally, because water is such a basic essential need, our water filtering system would need to meet these criteria:
- You won’t die from dysentery.
- Will purify enough water to meet the needs of a group of 5-10 people.
- Can be built from scratch from cheap or free low-tech materials.
- Won’t break, but could be repaired easily.
Fight fire with fire
You’re going to see a pattern here, but ingenious white people have recently developed a method to allow brown third-worlders to stop drinking shit infused water and die from dysentery by the millions. Why they would do such a thing is still a mystery (I mean, help the third-worlders). But in any case, I’m sure they’ll be happy to know Nazis will benefit from their work.
Enter the biological filtering system. The concept is to basically grow and maintain a large colony of bacteria which feeds on the fecal bacteria found in water. You pour your shitty water in the colony, and as it passes through the based bacteria devour the shitty bacteria. That’s the gist of it.
This may sound like something that involves test tubes and petri dishes. But it’s not. It’s so simply even an African could do it. Well, maybe not, after all, the aid workers really overestimate the Africans. But Africans COULD do it if they didn’t have 60pt IQ’s.
The filter is a tall box filled with sand of various coarseness. The box it topped with a stainless steel bowl full of small holes. At the bottom of the box is an output pipe, out of which comes the pure water. Simple as that.
The water is poured in the steel bowl, whose small holes diffuse the water slowly and gently, to avoid disturbing the bacterial colony. The water then slowly percolates from the finer sand, which is at the top, to the coarser sand and gravel at the bottom.
Once the water reaches the bottom, it comes out of the pipe and into your container.
Starting a colony
There is no need to find special bacteria to “start” the colony. The appropriate bacteria will already be present in the air and in the sand, though in very small quantities. Thus the filter won’t be very efficient at first.
You will have to feed the colony daily so that the based bacteria will reproduce and multiply. After about 30 days of pouring unclean water in the filter, the colony will be strong enough to kill 90% of fecal bacteria passing through it. The result will be safe drinking water. As with most biological systems, it will only get better with time.
On the other hand, you can’t continuously pour water through the filter; it needs to rest for a few hours in between each “feeding”. And if you fail to feed the colony for a few days, they could die and you’ll have to start over. Thus daily use and proper maintenance is necessary. But you need drinking water every day anyway, so this shouldn’t cause any problems.
Why bother with this? After all, for a few hundred dollars you can have a similarly effective commercial system you can install in your building. The problem is that these things add up quickly. The more of your essential infrastructure you can get for free and build independently of the system, the less interaction with the system you’ll be forced to have.
If you decide to use the system to purify your water, I recommend you check out the following manual:
It should answer all your questions. The manuals are meant for aid workers who will mass produce these things for African peasants. Happy filtering!