Water Purification | Purple Turtle Skip to main content

Hydration is an important part of everyday life, and something that cannot be compromised on. This is particularly true when you’re travelling abroad and in hot climates, where more fluids are required to keep you healthy.

When travelling, you will quickly become aware of the potential risks of drinking water from contaminated sources. Drinking contaminated water can lead to mild intestinal discomfort or more serious illnesses, caused by the harmful organisms and other contaminants present in unsanitary water sources…

Where am I at risk?

You are most at risk from drinking contaminated water in countries where sanitation and hygiene levels are of a low standard. Many African countries lack access to safe and clean drinking water, so for travellers visiting Africa, we would recommend always having a method of water purification with you.

You will also find that several countries in Asia, such as India, Laos and Cambodia do not have reliable drinking water, especially in rural areas. The same is true of most of South and Central America, where you should always treat the water or ensure you drink bottled water.

What are the risks of drinking contaminated water?

At best, drinking contaminated water when travelling can lead to an upset stomach, mild intestinal discomfort and the infamous, Traveller’s Diarrhoea. Mid way along the spectrum, you will find Cryptosporidium, Giardiasis and Dysentery, which are all caused by harmful protozoa found in some sources of water. Symptoms of these illnesses can include chronic diarrhoea, malaise, nausea, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, vomiting and weight loss.

Of course there are more extreme risks involved with drinking contaminated water, including Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Cholera. Vaccines are available for both Typhoid and Hepatitis A, so you should ensure you have these vaccinations before you leave for your trip. However, you should also ensure that you treat water before you drink it, even if you’ve been vaccinated for the aforementioned diseases. There is no vaccine available to help prevent Cholera, so treating your water with a water purification product is the only way to keep disease at bay.

Methods of Purifying Water

The most well-known method of water purification is boiling, but for travellers, this isn’t exactly going to be the most convenient option…finding a kettle or stove in the middle of the jungle or when staying in a remote village in Africa isn’t going to be a simple task!

Boiling times to achieve safe drinking water vary, but it is generally said that boiling the water for 1 minute should be sufficient enough to kill harmful bacteria found in water. This changes when you’re at altitude, as the air pressure drops, resulting in a lower boiling temperature. Therefore, you would need to boil the water for longer, as it wouldn’t be boiling at 100°C after 1 minute. For example, if you were at an altitude of 2000m or above, you would need to boil your water for 3 minutes, due to the lower boiling temperature.

After you have boiled the water, you will need to allow it to cool and should ensure you cover it to prevent re-contamination. This method isn’t particularly popular with travellers, as in many cases a kettle or stove won’t be readily available, and there are easier methods of treating water available.

Perhaps the most commonly used method of water purification for travellers, Chlorine and Chlorine Dioxide products offer an effective way of treating water from unreliable water sources. Before treating water using Chlorine or Chlorine Dioxide tablets, you should ensure that all particles are removed from the water, as debris and particles can reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.

Chlorine tablets effectively remove most viruses and bacteria found in water, however, you will find that it does leave an unpleasant after-taste, unless you follow the treatment with neutralising tablets.

How to purify water using Lifesystems Chlorine Tablets

– Remove as much debris and particles as possible to ensure the highest level of effectiveness. This can be achieved by using a piece of cotton or fine-weave material as a strainer.

– Fill a bottle with 1 litre of water (as clear and debris-free as possible!) and add 1 tablet. If you suspect heavy contamination, or the water is very cold, you should use 2 tablets per litre of water.

– Place the lid on your water bottle and shake it thoroughly, then allow 30 minutes before drinking.

– If you don’t like the taste left behind by the Chlorine treatment, you can use neutralising tablets to neutralise the taste.

Chlorine Dioxide is recognised as the safest and most effective form of chemical water treatment available, and it doesn’t leave unpleasant tastes or odours behind after treatment, or harmful by-products. Unlike Chlorine tablets, Chlorine Dioxide treatments don’t react with the contaminants found in water to form hazardous chlorinated by-products. This method of purifying water is effective against bacteria & viruses, including Cryptosporidium & Giardia.

How to purify water using Biox Aqua Drops

– Biox Aqua drop treatments come with two bottles, one bottle contains Biox Aqua and one bottle contains an activator. Remove the caps from both bottles then add 12 drops of each liquid into one of the bottle caps.

– Wait for 10 minutes as the mixture turns yellow and the Chlorine Dioxide activates

– Fill a water bottle with 1 litre of water (make sure you filter out dirt particles and debris first) then tip the contents of the cap into the water. Leave this to stand for 10 minutes. If heavy contamination or the presence of Cryptosporidium & Giardia is suspected, leave it to stand for 30 minutes before drinking.

Filtering offers a much more convenient method of treating contaminated and suspect water. Water filter devices such as the Pyramid SafeHydrate Water Bottle, contain a special filter, usually with micro-sized pores to help block and filter chemicals, bacteria, viruses and particles found in contaminated water. Each product is different, so always read the specification before you buy to ensure that it is the right product for you.

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