Preparedness Tip Wednesday: DIY Water Filtration

I found this DIY on making a cheap, effective water Filtration--100 Gallons per Day and I thought I would share it with our readers.

DIY Water Filtration

Homespun Environmental is pleased to present an unpowered water filtration device that can generate over a hundred gallons of potable water per day from just about any fresh water source (pond, lake, stream, or river) using a single 5 gallon bucket and ceramic water filter cartridges.  The amount of water produced works well for multi-family, church group, or commercial/barter applications. 


If you’ve got a Big Berkey sitting around your house, you’re well aware of the high cost associated with it.  I own one, and I love it.  However, I don’t love the $60 price tag on the Berkey filters.  I have two sets of black ceramic filters that came with my Berk, but I have 3 kits on my shelf from Homespun Environmental as replacements and bartering items.  The cost of Homespun’s ceramic filters are only about $17, with the entire kit costing about $24.  You do the math.  I enjoy the convenience of using my Berkey as the standing unit that holds water, but I love the fact I can purchase 3 kits from Russ at Homespun for the cost of ONE set elsewhere.  Had I met Russ before I purchased my Berkey, I would have simply ordered the entire kit from him and made my own counter-top water filter.  He now stocks FLUORIDE and ARSENIC filters, plus a new, mini-filter for camping and hiking!
System Description 
The water barter system is made from 3 ceramic filter cartridges mounted in a 5 gallon bucket (as shown here).  It is also equipped with a Schrader valve and a lid that is capable of maintaining a small amount of air pressure.   The air pressure is applied by means of a manual bicycle tire pump that comes with the kit.  Siphons also come with the kit that can be used to increase the capacity of the system without the need for manual air pumping   The bucket can be hung using the handle or a stand to set the system on can be custom made by the end user.  If a stand is used it should be tall enough so that water containers can be placed under it while they are being filled.   Pre-filter socks are also supplied with the kit for use with water with lots of particulates in it. 
How does it work?
The ceramic cartridges provide a triple filtering capability in a small package.   First, the outer sock will filter out particulates in the water such as sediments, eggs, feces, etc.   The sock can be rinsed out and reused indefinitely.   Second, the ceramic shell filters out smaller biological elements such as bacteria and cysts.  It is effective as long as the shell remains intact.  The shell can be cleaned off using semi abrasive materials (e.g. Scotchbrite pads).  Third, inside each ceramic shell is enough activated carbon to last for roughly 3000 gallons (9000 gallons for the system).  The activated carbon adsorbs chemicals in the water but it cannot be replaced and thus sets the lifespan of the filters.

How much water?   

Click to Enlarge
If the system is set up for maximum output with pressurization and siphons it is possible to get over 200 gallons/day (with steady pumping and refilling of the bucket).   A more practical assumption is no pressurization/pumping but with siphons installed and a steady refill.  This configuration would deliver roughly 100 gallons per day.  The table below gives some estimates with different configuration options.   Note again that these life spans are for the chemical adsorption portion of the filters, the bacterial filtering will last as long as the ceramic shells are intact.

Community Applications   
This system is designed for small group applications as it can create a lot more water than is typically needed by an individual or family.   In emergency situations such as has been seen with recent hurricanes and other natural disasters this could be used to provide water for neighbors or church members as well as yourself.   Basically this device goes beyond the typical individual survival thinking and looks to community service and missions outreach in crisis situations. In case of an “end of the world as we know it” event, this device can be used to create a valuable commodity that can be bartered for other goods and services that you lack (or run out of).  Other derivatives of this idea can also be created; for example using larger containers such as barrels to decrease the amount of refilling required.  Larger containers would also allow for even more filters to be installed and more water to be produced.
This paper has presented a low tech water filter device that enables daily production of 100 or more gallons of potable water from fresh water sources.  A kit to create this device is available on the internet at
Homespun Environmental is a small business catering to the DIY ‘prepper’ market for ceramic water filters.  DIY (Doing it yourself) allows for much lower prices and systems that can be customized to particular circumstances and needs.    They offer individual components, affordable, emergency water filter kits, and systems for the outdoor sportsman.

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