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Permaculture water purification (potable water)

 
pollinator
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Location: New Zealand
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I see posts about this subject fairly regularly and wonder how I'm still alive. I grew up rurally and have never had a first flush system or a filter in my rainwater, the house I'm in now has a grill to stop pine needles and that is all. We drink out of puddles and seeping springs while we're hunting as we travel very light. I think if you acclimatize your body it will handle a few bugs no trouble. I'm statistically more likely to roll my quad or tractor at work than poison myself through the water here.
 
Posts: 46
Location: Groveland, Florida
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I live in central Florida and am building an off-grid tiny house. Designing a water system has been my main challenge (and main obstacle to moving to the location I intend). Reading this thread has been very informative.

On one hand, I'm contemplating paying to have a well professionally dug, and let that be the end of it, but I would prefer to have a self-built system drawing lake water and using a slow sand pre-filter leading to ceramic filter (such as the Monolithic ones mentioned above).

I'm trying the find the sources to answer these questions.

1. Is my lake, spring-fed (from below, as is almost all of Florida's lakes) and a near perfect circle 660 ft across, large enough to be a good source?
2. If so, where exactly in the lake should I draw from? The center surface? The center below the surface (and how far below)?
3. Where can I find plans to build a slow sand filter suitable to my low-level needs (only one person's worth of water)?

Thanks for any input on this.
 
Posts: 296
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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David Miller
Posts: 296
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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[quote=Thank you Geoff, very succinct. I was just reading through these comments, yours makes the most sense. As always you are a beacon of wisdom, guiding wayward Permies towards truth.

Hahah, I suppose I got a bit mushy there lol. Good on ya mate!

What are your thoughts on designing spring sites for a potable source of water? Installing a "spring box" in an area that is inundated (due to uphill swales and dams).

Thanks again man!


Second that request!
 
Posts: 525
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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hey timothy:
3.) sand filters: here s a thread on it: https://permies.com/t/6576/rainwater/bio-sand-filter-sodis-solar
 
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I have not read the whole thread but looking at this study: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237189238_The_Effectiveness_of_Slow_Sand_Filters_to_Treat_Canadian_Rural_Prairie_Water it shows that slow sand filters on their own remove virtually all viruses and for bacteria it lies between 95-100%. Not sure why there is a range, maybe it is due to different implementations filtering differently. But those numbers look much better than the ones initially posted.

Also on ceramic filters, I know there is this organisation, potters for peace: https://www.pottersforpeace.org/ that teach how to make your own ceramic filter, so it does seem possible to make this without outside dependency.

Also another interesting filter mechanism I have read of is the sari cloth filter, where 4 layers of a specific cloth are very good at filtering water. Maybe not something one wants by itself, but might be interesting in combination with other filters.

And one other more experimental one, luffa sponge (luffa aegyptiaca) filter, see e.g. here: https://www.aijcrnet.com/journals/Vol_3_No_3_March_2013/11.pdf

So I do feel there is a lot of potential for local, electricity-free filtering systems, just that there is not that much resources to be found yet. But I suppose as with so many things as long as energy is cheap, it is much easier to make money out of non-local systems that do use electricity.

Another interesting one I just found that talks about slow-sand filters, as well as biochar filters as well as biochar augmented sand biofilters: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-57981-0 In these tests it seems that biochar and biochar-sand filters worked best.
 
Markus Padourek
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Here is a complete, passive system that combines a rough gravel filter, followed by a slow sand filter, followed by a biochar filter: http://www.aqsolutions.org/images/2016/02/blue-barrel-system-manual-English.pdf

Here some more informaiton: https://wcponline.com/2012/10/24/sustainable-decentralized-water-treatment-for-rural-and-developing-communities-using-locally-generated-biochar-adsorbents/

This looks like a very promising system, but it would be nice to see some more numbers on it.
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