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Steripen versus Katadyn Mechanical filter

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Steripen versus Katadyn Mechanical filter

Postby OLDNUKE » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:31 pm

The use of the sun's UV light to purify (pasturize) suspect water is pretty well established, but I was wondering if anyone had much experience relying on a Steripen for this purpose? Basically, you take about 500ml of not cloudy water, and swirl this thing around in the water until it's light extinguishes, and then it is believed to be SAFER than water that has been pulled through a mechanical filter, such as a Katadyn.
I originally had a number of Katadyn type filters, but now plan on using the Steripen approach (with the hand cranked model), but would hate to find out that some of the critters are still viable (after I swallow them). I am very aware of the need to avoid stray drops that have not been zapped (which I would suspect to be the primary cause of any purification system failure).
Has anyone on the forum used one of these with success on a trip overseas, or in your backyard, just for kicks? I served up a bunch of water from Lake Washington that was "irradiated" for 40 sec to myself and cousins, and there were no ill effects (and it tasted pretty good!).
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Re: Steripen versus Katadyn Mechanical filter

Postby danthman114 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:30 pm

i dont have one myself but from what i understand it does nothing with the taste. so it it tastes like puke when you put it in your container it will taste like puke after you "purify" it.
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Re: Steripen versus Katadyn Mechanical filter

Postby condomain » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:47 pm

I used one on a business trip with questionable TAP WATER.

So it was fine for that purpose. I did not have to spend $$$ buying expensive bottled water (I would sterilize THAT also anyway because you never know; even the bottled water contains crap these days, sometimes literally).

I therefore had ample water straight from the tap. I used only that water for brushing, drinking, etc. No problems.

If you use a Steripen for cloudy water, you really need to do your best to strain out the bits. A coffee filter would be best.

The UV light won't touch whatever it can't reach. It also doesn't kill the pathogens. It just gives them cancer, sort of, by screwing up their DNA, from what I understand.

By the way, a mechanical filter won't filter out viruses, unless you have a chemical agent to kill the viruses. You can use a little iodine or chlorine for that (after mechanical filtration).

After all's been said and done, the only method I trust 100% is boiling for 5 minutes.

Distillation would be even better but that is too much energy usage.

I've also used a SteriPen outdoors with lake and river water but never cloudy water (and I also filtered the outdoors water using cheesecloth and a nylon coffee filter). That was years ago. Steripen was invented I think maybe 10 or 15 years ago.
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Re: Steripen versus Katadyn Mechanical filter

Postby dmwalsh568 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:23 am

Actually if the pore size in a mechanical filter is small enough, it actually can remove viruses. I have a Berkey filter system for use after SHTF because it can remove 99.999% of viruses and more than 99.9999% of bacteria from the source water.

http://www.berkeyfilters.com/berkey-ans ... fications/

They used to talk about 0.2 micron pore size, but that's vanished probably due to legal action in various states. But the laboratory tests tell the tale as far as I'm concerned.

Actually, I use the Berkey Sport bottles all the time at work since the water coming out of the coolers is nasty - sometimes it's brown! Nice to not have to drag water in from home… And I have one in each of our GHBs. Would be easy enough to bring on a trip I'd think.
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Re: Steripen versus Katadyn Mechanical filter

Postby OLDNUKE » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:43 am

danth, pukey water may still taste like pukey water, but at least it's wet and safe.
dmwalsh, my concern with portable mechanical filters is that they can become "impassible" after a while from the accumulation of sediment.

I have read about the mechanism Steripens use (essentially cutting the DNA making it impossible for bugs to reproduce), and all of the actual research comparing "Before" to "After" shows better performance than mechanical filters, including viruses- which get zapped just as hard.

You can get Steripens that are rechargeable via a USB port (via a Solar Panel) which are pretty small. I bought a pair of the hand cranked models, and gave one to my niece who spends a lot of time in the 3rd world- but I have very limited experience myself relying on this method. Ultimately, the bulb will burn out (after thousands and thousands of gallons), so sun pasturization and/or boiling will be necessary in the LONG run.
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