Water is a vital part of any and every survival plan, but availability of it is often only as good as the filtration systems available to you at the same time. Water from the tap or purchased in bottles is generally fine for drinking, but those are luxuries that may not last. When you are forced to rely on water from other sources, it will be necessary to filter or otherwise purify that water in advance of drinking it. Though there are many means of doing so, it is still possible for complications to arise.
Silty water, for example, can be tough to filter because high concentrations of silt and sediment can clog filters, rendering them useless and still leaving you with nothing to drink. When silt or other particles present in water are present in water, it is most beneficial to the future usefulness of your filter if you are able to remove or reduce those particles beforehand. Another problem that you may run into with such particles is that their small size makes them unlikely to settle or clump together, keeping water cloudy as the possibility of clogged filters remains.
In situations such as this, it is helpful to have Aluminum Sulfate or Alum on hand. Alum is useful not because it purifies water (it does not) but because it is able to aid in the removal of floating particles present in water. By adding Alum to water, a reaction occurs which allows those particles to bond to one another and sink in a process known as flocculation. This is possible because Alum is able to neutralize the negative electrical charge present in such particles which naturally causes them to repel one another, instead enabling them to clump together and sink as opposed to floating in a continuous state of suspension.
There are several different recipes for adding Alum to water based on the amount of water you wish to filter at any given time. In the video below, a demonstration is conducted on five gallons of water to which a dissolved mixture of water and alum is added. Alum can also be added directly to the water you wish to filter and at equally efficient ratio of half of a teaspoon per gallon or a full table spoon for give gallons. When adding alum directly to water, be sure to stir until it is fully dissolved. This is best done with an initial vigorous stir and then a repeat stir a few minutes later.
Once the mixing process is complete, allow your water to sit undisturbed. The amount of time it takes for sediment to settle can vary depending on the amount present, but plan to give the water between 30-90 minutes to fully clear. At that point, simply draw water from the top of your container and pass it through a filter to ready it for consumption. Once your water is cleared with Alum and passed through the filter of your choice, it will be ready to enjoy. Alum is safe and leaves no aftertaste, giving you clear drinking water to enjoy.
Photo: Img Arcade
Many people already have Alum in their homes as it is widely used in the baking and pickling of food items. It can be purchased in the spice section of your local grocer and can also be found online in bulk, often at a better price. Just be sure to purchase the type intended for human consumption as Alum is also used in the treatment of swimming pool water and that particular blend could have additional chemicals added.
Have you ever used Alum to treat cloudy water? Were you pleased with the results? Share your story with us in the comments!