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water purifiers

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Postby Tom Reynolds » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:40 pm

I bought a Steri-pen last spring and used it on a backpacking trip to Lake Como. My friend and I used it for 4 days without a problem. Before the trip I tested it twice on Lake Springfield (MO) water to make sure it worked and I knew how to use it. It was easy and the Steri-pen didn't affect the taste of the water. I know this is limited experience and not the third-world test but I'm happy with it.

Lake Como water tasted much better than Lake Springfield! There must be something to that mountain stream bit versus run-off from a city...

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Postby ADKben » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:45 am

strat1080 wrote:Your chances of catching something from backcountry water are almost non-existant.

In an alpine where water comes form snow runoff the water is safe to drink. Giardia and Crypto don't just magically appear in water.


tell that to CO_native...who nearly died from the "almost non-existant" crypto that was in his water from a high alpine area in the san juans...strat, you are misinformed my friend, misinformed.

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Postby krz2fer » Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:51 am

Tom Reynolds wrote:Lake Springfield (MO)


I'm originally from Springfield, MO (family always vacationed in Estes Park in my youth.. now I live in Denver). I have a few friends still at MO State. Cool deal and welcome to the forums!
Chris

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Postby petegee77 » Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:09 am

krz2fer wrote:
jspydr wrote:Katydyn Hiker pro


I have this as well. No issues thus far after a full summer of use, although I'm curious about the small amount of water bound to be trapped in the filter for long periods of time. Is is smart to get a new filter each year? Or just pump for a few moments once it's taken off the shelf again? I'm all about safety but if it's a non-issue, I'll save the green.
I would think of you pumped a little municiple water supply water through it at the end of the year and then again perhaps just prior to field use the following year that would do the trick. Certainly can't hurt and you can't beat the price. :wink:
GAIN THE SUMMIT

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Postby petegee77 » Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:15 am

strat1080 wrote:
If you are that paranoid about parasites and viruses then you should filter the water that comes out of your tap at home as well, which in many cities, have proven to contain more giardia cysts, than UNTREATED Sierra water. I'm thinking about picking up a Steripen Adventurer. I've found that filtering is too much of a pain in the #$% and time consuming. I think that either the Steripen or Katadyn tablets are the most practical. In other words I would much rather drink unfiltered water than spend 15 minutes playing around with a filter. To me, given the risk, any form of water filtration or purification in an alpine setting needs to be highly convenient and quick.


One conclusion of this paper is that you can indeed contract giardiasis on visits to the Sierra Nevada, but it won’t be from the water. So drink freely and confidently: Proper personal hygiene is far more important in avoiding giardiasis than treating the water.


http://www.yosemite.org/naturenotes/Giardia.htm
From a microbiological standpoint some of your statements sound down right dangerous. Good luck to you.
GAIN THE SUMMIT

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Postby strat1080 » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:29 pm

Misinformed??? I'm the only one who has bothered to bring a reference supporting my opinion. My opinions are based on studies such as the one I have posted as well as a mountaineering book I have been reading.

From what I understand from CONative's case he dropped a closed, empty bottle of water into a creek. He rinsed the bottle with filter water from his water bladder and let the bottle dry. IN other words, he didn't drink untreated water. It is utterly impossible that such a small exposure to untreated alpine water could have contained enough cysts to cause illness. He came down form crypto from something else, most likely eating food. You say crypto was in his water. There is no way that you can know that. You need to understand that buggers like giardia and crypto are everywhere. You can get infected nearly everywhere and it usually comes from eating without washing your hands. Waterless hand sanitizer is IMO more important to avoid intestinal illness than water filtration or purification in the high country.

Read the article, which is very informative about this issue. 69 Sierra water sources were tested and only 18 of them contained giardia but the highest levels were only .108 per liter of water. San Francisco's municipal water has tested as high as .12 per liter of water. So in other words, out of 69 sources of Sierra Nevada water, only 18 contained giardia, in which the highest levels of giardia were less than San Francisco's measured giardia level. You can't draw conclusions about my opinion from just reading a couple sentences of my post. The conclusion of my post. People can and do get sick in the mountains, but its not from the water. Read the statement below as well as the quote I posted before, which are from this source who has a PhD.

Camp cooks in particular need to pay special attention to cleanliness. Wash hands thoroughly, especially before handling utensils and preparing meals. If you contract giardiasis in the backcountry, blame your friends…not the water.


ADKben wrote:
strat1080 wrote:Your chances of catching something from backcountry water are almost non-existant.

In an alpine where water comes form snow runoff the water is safe to drink. Giardia and Crypto don't just magically appear in water.


tell that to CO_native...who nearly died from the "almost non-existant" crypto that was in his water from a high alpine area in the san juans...strat, you are misinformed my friend, misinformed.
Quit whining and move your %$# up that mountain.

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Postby gdthomas » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:50 pm

strat1080 wrote:Misinformed??? I'm the only one who has bothered to bring a reference supporting my opinion. My opinions are based on studies such as the one I have posted as well as a mountaineering book I have been reading.

From what I understand from CONative's case he dropped a closed, empty bottle of water into a creek. He rinsed the bottle with filter water from his water bladder and let the bottle dry. IN other words, he didn't drink untreated water. It is utterly impossible that such a small exposure to untreated alpine water could have contained enough cysts to cause illness. He came down form crypto from something else, most likely eating food. You say crypto was in his water. There is no way that you can know that. You need to understand that buggers like giardia and crypto are everywhere. You can get infected nearly everywhere and it usually comes from eating without washing your hands. Waterless hand sanitizer is IMO more important to avoid intestinal illness than water filtration or purification in the high country.

Read the article, which is very informative about this issue. 69 Sierra water sources were tested and only 18 of them contained giardia but the highest levels were only .108 per liter of water. San Francisco's municipal water has tested as high as .12 per liter of water. So in other words, out of 69 sources of Sierra Nevada water, only 18 contained giardia, in which the highest levels of giardia were less than San Francisco's measured giardia level. You can't draw conclusions about my opinion from just reading a couple sentences of my post. The conclusion of my post. People can and do get sick in the mountains, but its not from the water. Read the statement below as well as the quote I posted before, which are from this source who has a PhD.

Camp cooks in particular need to pay special attention to cleanliness. Wash hands thoroughly, especially before handling utensils and preparing meals. If you contract giardiasis in the backcountry, blame your friends…not the water.


ADKben wrote:
strat1080 wrote:Your chances of catching something from backcountry water are almost non-existant.

In an alpine where water comes form snow runoff the water is safe to drink. Giardia and Crypto don't just magically appear in water.


tell that to CO_native...who nearly died from the "almost non-existant" crypto that was in his water from a high alpine area in the san juans...strat, you are misinformed my friend, misinformed.


No one knows how CONative got sick but it could have been from tainted mountain stream water. Even if the risk is minimal, the backcountry is not the place to find out you are the unlucky 1-out-of-a-100. I'm in agreement with ADKben, et al. To the extent your post suggests leaving the filter at home (which it sure sounds like to me), I do not agree with it.

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Postby krz2fer » Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:59 pm

petegee77 wrote:
krz2fer wrote:
jspydr wrote:Katydyn Hiker pro


I have this as well. No issues thus far after a full summer of use, although I'm curious about the small amount of water bound to be trapped in the filter for long periods of time. Is is smart to get a new filter each year? Or just pump for a few moments once it's taken off the shelf again? I'm all about safety but if it's a non-issue, I'll save the green.
I would think of you pumped a little municiple water supply water through it at the end of the year and then again perhaps just prior to field use the following year that would do the trick. Certainly can't hurt and you can't beat the price. :wink:


Yeah, makes sense.
Chris

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Postby strat1080 » Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:49 pm

The thing about staying safe from Crypto and Giardia is that you have to know what they are and how they are spread. They aren't protozoa that just magically appear in water. They are spread through human or animal fecal matter. Sources who say things like, "Backcountry water is no longer safe to drink without treatment" are not credible. Giardia and Crypto are not new protozoa that just began to appear in the last couple of decades. They have existed for quite some time. Crypto and Giardia exist all around us. You are seriously at risk of Giardia infection if you have a toddler (up to 60% of toddlers have been documented to host giardia).

I'm not the only one who believes that the risk of illness from backcountry water sources is severely overblown. The reference I posted earlier is a mountaineer and has a PhD and has invested much time into researching the risk that climbers face in the mountains. Here are a couple more references below that agree with my opinion, one is even from the LA Times. Several good threads on SummitPost.org have also debated the necessity of treating or filtering mountain water in the US, with many experienced climbers stating that they don't treat or filter water. Post a study that has ever documented higher pathogen levels in backcountry water than municipal water. You can't because none exist.

There are tons of studies in which people have found traces of Crypto and Giarda in Colorado and the Sierra but these don't mean anything. It takes a certain level of cysts per liter of water to make a person sick. There is no way that there could have been enough cysts in the miniscule amount of untreated water that CONative drank to make him sick. He got sick from something else on the trip. At the highest documented level of giardia levels in the Sierra Nevada, a person would need to drink 250 liters of water to get sick. The only studies in which cyst levels are documented and compared to municipal water state that mountaineers don't have anything to water about in mountain water. If they are going to get sick they are going to sick from themselves. Read the following, you can even contaminate your filter pump with dirty hands.

The typical chain of events is that hikers or backpackers go to the bathroom, then don't wash their hands thoroughly, if at all. Afterward they make dinner or even share a snack and contaminate the food with fecal matter, along with any disease-causing germs that were hitching a ride in their intestines. Giardia can even be spread by touching surfaces — eating utensils, camping gear, water filtration pumps — that are contaminated with feces from an infected person.


I'm not advocating the non-use of treatment completely I'm just saying that whatever you use should be more convenient than filters given the non-existant threat. Proper selection of water sources will eliminate the risk of getting sick. Try to get water from tributaries off the trail. If the water is from a creek, get water from the middle of the flow. If the water is from a lake get the water from the surface of the water as the first 12" of water is treated naturally by the sun's UV rays. I was just stating my opinion about water treatment options but I'm not misinformed. I have actually been researching this issue for quite some time after I read that mountaineers don't need to treat mountain water in North America in a mountaineering book that I recently picked up.

http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-os-giardia26jul26

http://www.wemjournal.org/wmsonline/?re ... &page=0235


gdthomas wrote:
No one knows how CONative got sick but it could have been from tainted mountain stream water. Even if the risk is minimal, the backcountry is not the place to find out you are the unlucky 1-out-of-a-100. I'm in agreement with ADKben, et al. To the extent your post suggests leaving the filter at home (which it sure sounds like to me), I do not agree with it.
Quit whining and move your %$# up that mountain.

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Postby jspydr » Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:39 pm

krz2fer wrote:
petegee77 wrote:
krz2fer wrote:
jspydr wrote:Katydyn Hiker pro


I have this as well. No issues thus far after a full summer of use, although I'm curious about the small amount of water bound to be trapped in the filter for long periods of time. Is is smart to get a new filter each year? Or just pump for a few moments once it's taken off the shelf again? I'm all about safety but if it's a non-issue, I'll save the green.
I would think of you pumped a little municiple water supply water through it at the end of the year and then again perhaps just prior to field use the following year that would do the trick. Certainly can't hurt and you can't beat the price. :wink:


Yeah, makes sense.


As I remember, the instructions mentioned how to clean and store it such that you shouldn't have any funk growing inside.

As far as whether or not there's a need to filter, I'll minimize the risks myself, and use the filter, necessary or not. Best protection would be filter and treat with tablets, or boil. Most folks won't be that disciplined.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress...

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Postby jhaas » Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:42 pm

strat,thanks for the informative post.It, along with the references make a lot of sense. i don't have a whole lot of experiance in the back country like most of you do, but i do have some.I've always used iodine and don't mind the taste.i've never had a problem.After reading CO Native's post, I though Dam,I might have to do something.Reading your references was eye opening.I'm suprised that there hasn't been more research conducted in testing back country water in Colorado.(come to think of it wasn't there a forum member who was going to do some water testing for a school project a while back?)

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Postby Beaker » Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:46 pm

Because Giardia can live in cool mountain stream water, it causes a condition often called "backpacker's diarrhea," and it frequently infects dogs.


Where do parasites come from?

Giardia and Cryptosporidium both come from the intestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals. Many of these animals – such as elk, deer, beaver, and muskrats – live in the Rocky Mountains. Other animals that can carry these parasites live right in our own back yard, including dogs, cats, and mice. Animal waste can find its way into a stream or lake and the cysts present in the waste are carried downstream. Since the cyst is environmentally resistant, it can survive for an extended period. Anyone, human or animal, who drinks this untreated water and ingests the cysts may develop the disease. Ingesting as few as 10 cysts can give someone giardiasis.


One way for humans to become infected with Giardia or Cryptosporidium is by drinking untreated water that contains the cysts. Hikers sometimes mistakenly presume that water in mountain streams is free from harmful bacteria and Giardia. Hikers consuming even a very small quantity of mountain water without treating it are at risk of getting giardiasis. A person doing something as seemingly harmless as swimming can become infected if exposed to water contaminated with Giardia.
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