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Improvised Charcoal Water Filter

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 530
  • Category: Water

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1. Fresh Charcoal 6.) Sand 2. 2-liter plastic bottle with cap 7.) Glass container or Jar 3. Pounding Rock 8.) Pot (and Stove) 4. Pieces of fabric/cloth 9.) Untreated/Dirty water 5. Cutter/Knife


1. Obtain FRESH charcoal that has cooled completely. To create a good supply of charcoal, create a camp fire and when you have a good coal bed, bank your fire by covering it with dirt or ash and come back in a day or two. Uncover the charcoal and allow to cool completely before removing.

2. Crush your charcoal into small bits, from powder up to the size of aquarium gravel. 3. Obtain or fashion a cylindrical container (taller is better than wider) with open ends. You can use a 2-liter soda bottle with the end cut off.

4. Fill the smaller opening with tightly-packed piece of fabric (if both ends are the same diameter choose either one) to prevent the charcoal from falling out or running through with the water. Or if you are using a bottle that still has its cap, as we are, poke a small hole in the cap before placing your fabric/grass.

5. Pack the crushed charcoal into the container TIGHTLY. The idea here is to create as fine a matrix as possible for the water to DRIP through slowly, thus trapping more sediment and “wee beasties”. If the water runs rather than drips through the filter, you will need to pack your charcoal tighter. You should have enough crushed charcoal to fill your cylinder up about halfway.

6. It is a good idea to place a couple of inches of packed-down grass or sand, or another piece of cloth on top of the charcoal to prevent it from becoming displaced when you add your water.

7. Place your filter atop a container to catch your water. You can use a glass jar so you can see the changes easily, but in a wilderness situation it is a good idea to filter directly into the pot you are going to boil the water in rather than the one you will be drinking from (in the event they are not one in the same).

8. Slowly pour the untreated water into your filter (being careful not to displace your sand) filling the remainder of your cylinder with water and allowing it to slowly percolate through. Remember, the water should DRIP SLOWLY out the bottom of your filter.

9. After all of the water has run through the filter, pour it back through as many times as needed to make it clear. Run it through at least two, preferably three, times.

10. Once the desired clarity has been achieved, bring water to a boil for a few minutes in order to make sure it is completely sterilized. Remember, boiling is the only way to ensure safety from pathogens. (Taste can be further improved by adding a small lump of charcoal to the boiling water.) Enjoy your clean water!

~~Do not steal without permission please!! 😀 We worked hard to find this investigatory project from the internet!! ^^ Thanks. Sincerely, the researchers~~

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