This excerpt comes from Jack Lawson straight out of Chapter 13 of his two volume masterpiece, “Civil Defense Manual”. You can grab a copy of his book here. Jack is a strong supporter of American Partisan, and even had NC Scout write the chapter on Radio Communications (Chapter 17 in Volume I). I bought my copy the day it become available and I highly recommend you do as well.

Making water safe… water treatment procedures

You have to kill what you can’t see in the water that is dangerous to you. Both Chlorine bleach, also known as Sodium Hypochlorite and granular Calcium Hypochlorite will kill most harmful bacteria and organisms in water. Granular Calcium Hypochlorite is better.

There are complete water treatment and storage systems available on the internet. Look at these… but I recommend what I am confident works. Sawyer Products has many readymade water purification and filter systems and kits at:

DO-It-Yourself Survival Guide at: has Do-It-Yourself water filtration kits and plans. One from their website that will help you in taking the first step in treating water by filtering out large particulate with the gravity sediment principle.

 Filter out large particulate first. For safe clean water you have to first filter large particulate out… then boil, distill, chemically treat, filter the water on the micron level or Ultraviolet Light disinfect. A Micron is smaller than a human hair.

You make potable, ‘safe water’ by doing the following…

  • Filter the Water. Filter the majority of particles (‘particulate’ equals sand, mud, dirt, foreign matter-generally junk) from the water. You must filter the water through fine mesh cloth material or coffee filters. Filtered water can also be dangerous when you use carbon or paper filters and the filters are not changed or cleaned on a regular basis THEN,
  • Boil the water OR,
  • Distill the water OR,
  • Chemically Treat the water OR,
  • Micron Particle Filtration. After filtering out as much ‘junk’ or particulate (Think… sand, dirt, foreign matter and mud) as you can, put it through a fine micron particle water filtration system. This is not completely necessary with some filter systems like the ‘Lake Filter System’ depending on how much particulate is in the water… OR,
  • Ultraviolet Light Disinfect Treatment.

Radioactivity and Water

To have radioactive water, the radioactive isotope has to fix to another particle, suspended chemical or heavy metal in the water… something other than the water molecule… because radioactive isotopes will not attach to the water molecule itself, unless within the proximity of a nuclear fireball.

For safe, clean, radioactivity minimized water, you have to first filter large particulate out… then boil, distill, chemically treat, filter the water on the micron level or Ultraviolet Light disinfect. Boiling or distilling water will not remove most radioactivity.

So super filtering the fine particles out of water down to the micron level does the most to reduce your radioactive exposure from water.

The exception is sea water. The sodium in sea water will remain radioactive for about 5 days, then will drop to ‘half-life’ tolerable levels safe enough for humans to use. So do not use sea water for anything, including hydrating foods, cooking or bathing for at least a week after sea water contamination from a nuclear blast.

Bacteria can grow within these filters themselves and contaminate the water. Some solid substances can be removed with filters, but few filter systems can remove viruses, bacteria, Pathogens, radioactive or chemical compounds and completely soluble pollutants. Think… the Lake Water System by Vitasalus as the most efficient that generates huge quantities of water.

You can also filter the water by letting the larger particles in it settle to the bottom of a large container and pouring the water out, or drawing the water out or draining the container with a tap or siphon above the particle line, being careful not to take the water back out containing the particles.

Boil the Water. This is the easiest way to purify water when you have a fuel source or the fuel for a fire or solar heated systems. Filter or strain the water before boiling by placing a coffee filter, close knit dishtowel or finely woven cloth over a container and pour the raw untreated water into the container through the filter cloth.

Boiling will kill bacteria, viruses and more importantly Cryptosporidium and Giardia Lamblia… small tough-assed little one celled parasitic organisms that can give you weeks of intestinal problems and bad diarrhea.

Again, diarrhea can kill faster than just about any affliction… have the drug Loperamide and Oral rehydration solution DripDrop on hand to control it.

Boiling does not remove heavy metals, nor will it remove dissolved chemicals or radioactive particles… distillation will remove most chemicals. You need to boil water three minutes at an elevation of 6500 feet and higher. A roiling boil… not a few bubbles. Boil for one minute at lower elevations. To put some taste back into boiled water, pour it back and forth between containers to aerate it.

Distill the Water. This process will give you cleaner and safer water when you have the fuel for a fire or a solar distillation system. In distillation of water, water is turned into steam and the steam is condensed and collected in another container. Distillation DOES NOT remove radioactive elements.

This method requires distillation equipment but it should be non-electric. There are scores of water distillation survival systems on the market. Solar powered and about every conceivable type of heating system. Search the internet or visit your area store that carries survival equipment.

Distillation will not only kill bacteria and viruses, but distilling removes almost all heavy metals and most chemicals. Filter or strain the particulate from water before distilling, the same as for all other methods.

Portable Water filtration systems

Bicyclist’s and back packer’s water purifying hand pumps and water purification tablets are available for cheap, but some of these systems are painfully slow to produce any volume of water. I recommend a Survivor Filter PRO.

Your NPP would have to have one of these for about every four people and producing water with one would consume a good part of someone’s day. These are incredible systems though… you can literally filter muddy water through some of these and have clean, relatively safe drinking water. This type of water filter is more for if you’re on the go.

I recommend each person in your NPP have a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. Good for about 250 gallons of drinking water, in their backpack for on the go.

Getting into the realm of the ‘Big Boys’ and serious about water filtration. There are butt-loads of these on the market. Look on the internet. From expensive to inexpensive. Concentrate on non-fossil fuel or fire… passive powered systems if you can afford them, marked with an ‘*

Distillation water systems

If you have the fuel or electricity, this is simple and an easy path to creating a realistic amount of useable potable water by getting a water distillation system. However, still look at having solar powered systems. Buy a water distillation unit like a…

WaterWise 1600 non-electric distiller, OR a

D-STIL Litetm Do It Yourself Emergency Survival Water Distiller.

*SolAqua Rainmaker 550 Solar Distillation System.

Stationary Water filtration systems

*Berkey Filter Crown System water filter. The Berkey Company is in Pueblo, Colorado and their internet address is Their largest, ‘The Crown System,’ produces about 1 gallon per hour, has a 6 gallon water reservoir.

Berkey is a standalone, a passive, non-electric system and there is no fuel required to operate it… only Sir Isaac Newton’s “Law of Universal Gravitation.” Red food coloring dye will tell you if the filters are removing contaminants, because a properly functioning Berkey Filter removes the red food coloring as a contaminant.

Vitasalus Lake Water Filtration System. Paul, the Author of the Chapter “Underground shelters and survival,” swears an ‘oath of allegiance on water treatment,’ to the Vitasalus Lake Water Filtration System. I’m certain that Vitasalus, as rumor has it, is putting a hand pump or rotary pump/siphon system together as an attachment to use for this filter system.

I recommend this for your NPP, if you have Vitasalus put together a Lake Water System that will operate in a ‘Grid Down’ or aka ‘Off Grid’ with no electricity, less than normal water pressure, no other fuel system… that is tailored to remove what your water test reveals of what’s in the water from your water source.

The Vitasalus Lake Water System will provide all the water you need for a normal sized NPP. Affordable if everyone chips in their fair share…

Vitasalus at

Call them at 1-877-284-5042… they’re nice people too!

Treating water with chemicals

The prolonged use of any of these chemical bacteria and organism killers can be harmful in its self. Follow directions closely to avoid negative side effects. All of these additives for the chemical treatment of water will have a chemical taste to them.

Treating water with chemicals…

Granulated Calcium Hypochlorite, aka ‘pool shock’

This is the number one way I recommend chemical treatment of water. Calcium Hypochlorite. Calcium Hypochlorite, aka ‘Pool shock chemical,’ available at most pool supply companies, Walmart and Costco Stores.

This chemical will kill the majority of organisms and contaminants after filtering the water, and will keep the water bacteria free for a week or so. This is the best aid when the water is going to be consumed soon.

The procedure to disinfect water with Calcium Hypochlorite, aka ‘pool shock’

Dissolve one healthy teaspoon of granular Calcium Hypochlorite (about one-quarter of an ounce) per two gallons of water. Use this blend as a ‘Base Mixture’ to disinfect larger amounts of ‘end use water.’

Do not use this Base Mixture for drinking, hydrating foods, cooking or bathing.

You make your potable drinking water by mixing your Base Mixture Disinfectant to the water you intend to use for drinking, cooking or bathing at a proportion of 1 part ‘Base Mixture’ to 100 parts of water. The 100 parts water you have treated are now generally potable and can be used for drinking, hydrating food, cooking or bathing purposes. But, two little buggers may still be in your water. To rid the water of those nasty little gut bombs Cryptosporidium and Giardia Lamblia… boil the water.

I suggest pool supply companies, which have the higher 78 percent Calcium Hypochlorite content. It comes in a 25-pound four-gallon plastic pail which is enough to sanitize the water for a small town for a year. Most ‘big Box Stores’ stock only the 48 percent or lower ‘pool shock’ because of the fire hazard this compound poses.

Calcium Hypochlorite is a fire hazard… an aid in combustion. The higher the percentage level, the more dangerous Calcium Hypochlorite is. You must store Calcium Hypochlorite away from combustible materials, preferably outside, shallowly buried in a covered trash can, containing the pail of pool shock and away from anything flammable.

Do not store Calcium Hypochlorite with your other survival supplies.

Calcium Hypochlorite is destroyed by heat over 95o Fahrenheit, so it would be best stored outside in the shade or in a container buried in the ground as I state here.

When mixing with water to make your ‘Base Mixture,’ slowly add calcium hypochlorite to your water and mix this outside with a paint stirring stick! wear eye protection, long sleeve shirts and a use a respirator. The fumes from mixing this are not healthy to humans.

As a side note for safety… these chemicals should never be mixed together…

  • Bleach and Ammonia makes deadly Toxic Chloramine Vapor.
  • Bleach and rubbing alcohol makes deadly Toxic Chloroform.
  • Bleach and vinegar makes deadly Toxic Chlorine Gas.
  • Vinegar and Peroxide makes deadly Peracetic Acid.

Treating water with chemicals…

Sodium Hypochlorite, aka Chlorine bleach

This is the number two way I recommend chemical treatment of water. Sodium Hypochlorite. Sodium Hypochlorite, aka Chlorine bleach has a shelf life of about two years for an unopened container that is kept at room temperature and not subjected to freezing or extreme heat. Make sure you use regular chlorine bleach and not the scented kind or a ‘bleach substitute.’

The label should list the sole active ingredient of 5-6% Sodium Hypochlorite. When any other ingredients are listed, don’t use it for water treatment. Chlorine bleach also has a limited shelf life so make sure you buy and use a fresh bottle. Some recommend way more treatment than I recommend. But what I recommend it sufficient for the time period.

The procedure to treat water with Sodium Hypochlorite, or chlorine bleach

Chlorine was one of the components of ‘Mustard Gas’ used to kill soldiers in World War I. It did a great job of killing people… so it’s not healthy to handle or ingest in quantities more than suggested.

You need to add only one drop of chlorine per two-liter bottle… that’s about two quarts of water. Two drops to a gallon of water. This has to be done every 6 months or sooner. Before drinking it, pour your water in to large surface area containers or back and forth from container to container to evaporate most of the chlorine.

It pisses me off when my wife slathers everything in the kitchen and bathroom, laundry room and pool with this shite. You could do bacteria-free brain surgery on our kitchen floor. I’d rather have my body experience and build a tolerance to some of the germs this supposedly kills… and chlorine is in about every household cleaner, in some form or another.

Treating water with chemicals

Tincture of Iodine

This I reserve for next to last. You can disinfect water with Tincture of Iodine, like your Mother used to put on your cuts and abrasions as a child. About 2 to 3 % solution. I put it last because the danger of excess Iodine can cause your thyroid gland to stop working… the same as your pituitary gland not stimulating your thyroid to produce enough.

Not enough Iodine in the body is bad… too much Iodine in the body creates conditions, the same as not enough. Iodine is also a danger for pregnant women and can cause problems for people with allergic reactions to exoskeleton aquatic invertebrates such as crab, lobster, clams or shrimp. They pick up excess iodine from kelp beds in levels dangerous to humans.

Procedure to disinfect water with Tincture of Iodine. It takes 15 to 30 drops of this per gallon of untreated water, depending on how much particulate garbage you have filtered out of the water. It has to set for about an hour before use and makes the water taste treated. However, if you’re really thirsty… the taste of any of these methods won’t bother you, because that will be the last thing you’ll be thinking of.

Treating water with Ultraviolet Light (UV) Irradiation

UV Light, I reserve for last. You can disinfect water with Ultraviolet light. I know about as much about and how effective UV Light disinfection treatment of water is as I do ceremonial wedding rites of the Mamluk Tribes of Persia. However, there are loads of information and equipment available for this method. But remember, it requires electricity… something that may not be available.

Because of the popular, efficient and more reliable use of chlorination, UV Light treatment as a principle means of disinfecting water has gone by the wayside years ago. It is still used in pharmaceutical and medical industries. However, UV Light and boiling (distillation) of water will kill some contaminants that chlorine and other water disinfecting methods won’t kill. Water must be filtered first as UV Light treatment of water does not remove suspended particles and contaminants that UV Light kills.

Ultraviolet light is part of the wide spectrum of light that comes with good old sunlight. It can be artificially produced with a bulb that puts out the higher frequency and smaller wavelength Ultraviolet ray invisible in sunlight to your eyes. It’s somewhere between the X-ray and visible light on the light spectrum. There are three wavelengths of Ultraviolet Light… UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. UV-C is the spectrum of ultraviolet light that will disinfect so that is the Ultraviolet wavelength bulb you must buy.

Beware though, UV-C light is very dangerous and neither the skin or eyes should be exposed to it. UV-C is filtered out by atmospheric ozone long before it reaches our fragile skin or eyes. With UV-B it may take hours to get sunburn… but with UV-C it takes only seconds. If your eyes are exposed… you get many times the effect as if you look at the sun or an arc welding machine’s blue light. The next day, your eyes will feel like they have grains of sand in them amongst the other damage it does to your vision that you cannot feel, just after a few seconds of looking at UV-C Ultraviolet Light.

Scientists are working on a specific range of the Ultraviolet Light ‘C spectrum’ to develop one that kills Pathogens, but does not penetrate or damage skin or harm the human body, eyeballs excluded.

If you choose the path of UV Light water treatment, be aware that some organisms may not be killed by UV Light water treatment, contrary to what people selling or advocating this method say. I would have one of the alternative systems explained here as a backup water treatment procedure and at last and final resort… boil water.

If your people start to get the ‘trots,’ or hurried runs, to relieve themselves… start boiling all water used for drinking, cooking, ice cubes, rinsing vegetables, washing dishes and that is assuming that those bathing or showering with what you suspect is not safe water do not ingest water from your problem source.

UV Light and 3 % Hydrogen Peroxide are both somewhat effective against Cryptosporidium and Giardia Lamblia… small tough-assed little one celled parasitic organisms that can give you weeks of intestinal problems and bad diarrhea. These nano-critters are hard to kill.

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