Friday, October 11, 2019

Water Pasteurization

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
The standard method of making water safe is to boil it. However, bringing a substantial quantity of water can be time and fuel-consuming, one or both of which may be in short supply in a disaster scenario. You can save time and fuel by instead pasteurizing your water (yes, just like they do for milk) before drinking it.

The boiling point of water is 212° F or 100° C, but the pasteurization point of water is 149° F or 65° C. That's a tremendous amount of savings of both time and energy, and can be easily achieved through solar cooking techniques as well as the traditional "pot on the fire" method.

However, a significant drawback to pasteurization is that, unlike boiling,  there is no visual indicator for when water has reached that point. This is easily corrected with the purchase or manufacture of a Water Pasteurization Indicator, or WaPI.
The WaPI is as ingenious in principle as it is simple to use.
  • A blob of wax with a very specific melting point sits at the end of a capped, hollow plastic tube. A small length of wire or fishing line with weights on the end keep the tube from floating to the surface of the water and provides a convenient way to pull the tube out for inspection.
  • The tube is placed into the water you wish to pasteurize with the wax at the top. 
  • When the water is pasteurized, the wax reaches its melting point and flows to the bottom of the tube.
  • Remove the WaPI to allow the wax to cool before re-use. 
  • To re-use, simply move the WaPI along the line so that the wax is again at the top of the tube and drop it into a fresh, cold pot of water. 
At 1.5 inches long and 1/6th of an ounce in weight, it essentially takes up no space and weighs nothing, meaning that it can be added to any Bug Out or Get Home bag without drawback. There is literally no downside to having this in a bag, which is something I have been unable to say about anything else.

You can purchase a WaPI for $10 and free shipping from Amazon

NOTE: Pasteurization renders water safe to drink; it does not sterilize. If you need to sterilize something, such as bandages or medical instruments, you must bring the water to a boil.

Further, pasteurization does not protect against chemical contaminants. For that you need a filter or a distillation tool.


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