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Boondocking Water

Oil field gate guard nurse trailer

Ever since we started this industrial boondocking thing years back, I have been responsible for the fresh water supply. Whether we got it from a ranch well,  filled up the 300 gallon tote at the corner beer store or used the little 65 gallon tank that fits so well in the back of the Suburban, it was always my responsibility to make sure it was potable.  Sure, I dumped too much bleach in the tank at times.  Then we would endure astringent showers for a few days and choke down coffee that tasted like drilling fluid but it was always potable.  Not so much now…..

It is common practice in this oil field gate guard business for the company to provide us with a nurse trailer.   Our company has the reputation for providing the best support and equipment in the business and I have to agree.  The equipment is newer and maintained to the ‘T’.   Our guy comes around every two weeks to fill up the diesel tank for the generator and replenish the fresh water in the 500 gallon tank.  He says the water is obtained from a pure city water source and I believe it. After that point the water handling veers just a tad from the hygenic.  Transfer hoses are handled rather haphazardly and a chunk of chlorine is broke off a pool treatment biscuit and added to the tank by some guesswork formula.  I have no problem with the way all that comes down but I am not gonna drink it.  Showers and toilet flushing — fine– but no drinkee.   Most of the other gate guards I have spoken to concur.

I figured it would be an easy deal to get some water jugs and refill them at those self-help kiosks in front of the grocery store.  Miss Kathy likes her water and I guess we are consuming upwards of 15 gallons a week for drinking and tooth brushing and coffee.   Problem is there are no kiosks to refill the jugs at.  We looked and looked and have ended up buying drinking water for the past 8 weeks.  Granted, water is cheap, less than a dollar a gallon at the store but lord is it a hassle.   Miss Kathy has to buy lots of gallons on her weekly foray to the grocery store and they take up lots of room that we do not have.  Plus, every time I turn around, there are frickin’ empty gallon jugs everywhere.  Now I am not exactly a greenie freak but we have generated enough empty gallon jugs to fill a small landfill in the past 8 weeks.  Something had to give.

Aqua Sun US100 2F water filter kit

Miss Kathy and I discussed it at length and decided we needed to invest in a set of good water filters.   If we got a good one, we could kill two birds with one stone.  We could take care of the water here on site in North Texas and future sites and we could use it in Terlingua.  The Terlingua – Study Butte city water supply is approved but it tastes like ass.  Too many minerals and such in the ground water-all the water is like that down there.

Finding a good filter system that would do what we required was not going to be easy or cheap — we knew that.  Miss K got after it and her research kept leading her back to the same company time after time called Aqua Sun International in Minden, NV.   They are DoD and United Nations approved suppliers and specialize in efficient systems that use whatever power is available.  I figured if they can purify the water out of a camel track in Iraq that it would work for us.

We bought the Aqua Sun US100-2F system which has a 5 micron sediment filter, 0.5 micron carbon filter and UV light sterilizer powered by a 12 volt transformer.  It wasn’t cheap — around $350 with shipping and extra filters. When it came in, I had to study on it for a good week or so.  It is an under sink unit, it has a separate faucet, it needs a 12v power source and it is rather bulky.  One of those deals where you have one good shot at doing it right and if you screw it up it is gonna get ugly quick.

Aqua Sun US100 2F installed under the sink

I honestly wish the installation instructions would have been more detailed.  The ones dealing with the filters themselves were fine.     The instructions dealing with connecting it to the water supply and power supply were scant.   With that said, I was thrilled with the quality of the components. It is an American made product and everything is heavy duty from start to finish.  They promise a complete kit with all the fittings needed to install the system and I found that to be true.  Installation took the better part of an afternoon with minimal cussing involved.  I drilled a hole in the floor of the sink compartment and the power  line came out conveniently close to a 12v baggage compartment light which I tapped for power.  I need to change one fitting from a straight to an elbow to get one of the hoses up and out of the way but that is no big deal.

Miss K has a better taster and smeller than I do by far. She immediately commented on the lack of chlorine taste and the absence of the previous stale taste.  If she is happy, everyone is happy.  Two things to be cognizant of if you go this route.   We are running off of our onboard tank with the 12v demand pump.  The Aqua Sun literature states a minimum 20lbs of water pressure and I believe it.  The pump has a hard time forcing the water through the filters and we get a rather small stream out

Water filter faucet

of the faucet. I am sure if we had a more robust pump or were hooked to the city water inlet the flow would be better. The other thing is the UV light. The UV rays are what sterilize the water but all lights produce heat. The Aqua Sun literature states that the first water out of the faucet may be warm if the faucet has been unused for a period of time. Well, it is more than luke warm and it is more than a little. The warm water will easily fill a 16oz glass if the faucet has seen no use in an hour or so. Forget about getting a glass of cool,fresh clean water directly out of the faucet. Fresh and clean — yes. Cool-no way. That problem will be solved by keeping a container of drinking water in the fridge — no big deal but I was just not suspecting it.

 

I am well satisfied with the system as a whole and would recommend it highly. It was a pleasure this morning to get up and fill the coffee pot out of the faucet instead of a plastic jug.

 

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5 comments to Boondocking Water

  • John Duncan

    Interesting!! In my previous working days, I used to be a chemist at a lab that analyzed water, wastewater, groundwater, stormwater runoff, swamp water…you name it. UV is one of the preferred methods for sterilization. I wouldn’t trust it if you ever go up into beaver infested areas because it will likely not touch Cryptosporidium, but around here and for what you’re using it for…great system!!

    I’m actually kinda jealous…I may have to stop hanging out with you because now I think we need one…just kidding man…great blog!!

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    • admin

      John,
      The specs say the 0.5 micron carbon filter gets the crypto and giardia cysts. I looked at a lengthy DoD report and understood about half of it. What really sold me was they tested this on the Colorado River for 2 years with a rafting guide company and sent the water samples off to the state for evaluation. They passed all tests with no problem at all.

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  • Miss K

    My coffee doesn’t taste like yak sweat anymore.
    Thank you, thank you for installing it!

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  • John Duncan

    Wow…sounds great! Enjoy!!

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  • John Duncan

    Yak sweat…BAHAHAHA!!!

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