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Gettin' By

Primary water filter - 5 micron spun poly disposable

Primary water filter – Purenex 5 micron spun poly disposable

Man oh man, I do go on about that potable water don’t I?  With good reason I reckon.  Just take a good close look at that water filter pic.  I know we are pretty much in the minority as gate guards when it comes to water use and consumption.  We shower in it, we cook with it, we drink it.  Yechhh! No F’n way, right?  You ain’t even   drinkin’ that stuff dude. Just look at the crud on that filter!

Not so fast.

Back in the day when I worked for My Bro we ended up in some remote and primitive locations.  Our water supply for up to 3 RVs was a 300 gallon IBC tote.  I was responsible for going to get the water and to make sure it was handled in a sanitary fashion.  I did that and we never much worried about the integrity of our water supply.  I don’t think I even ran a filter back then.   Things changed when we went to gate guarding.

The first time our gate guard service tech showed up to pump us some water and fuel,  I noticed the haphazard fashion he handled the water transfer.  It was unsatisfactory to say the least.  I asked him about the water and he said ‘Oh no no!  This water is NOT potable!’   Hmmm, we were newbies so we just went along with the fact that either the rig furnished you potable water or you bought it in town.  Miss K started buying water in one gallon jugs and we discovered there was no self-serve water kiosk anywhere in the area where we could refill the jugs that were rapidly accumulating.  Now, we are not Greenies at all but all those empty plastic jugs started wearing on me.  We had ’em by the garbage bag full every week.  With no close place to recycle them, they ended up in the trash trailer up on the pad.   I didn’t like that and I didn’t like being dependent on store bought water.

Something else you gotta understand about this whole jib jab. Miss K  grew up in the Arizona Desert where water is one commodity that is not taken for granted nor left to chance.  She seldom gets in a vehicle or travels anywhere without adequate drinking water close to hand.  The fact that we depended on a rather perilous water supply surely give her some angst.   She decided there had to be other options and she came up with the Aqua Sun ultraviolet light filter.  That was almost 3 years ago and we have not purchased any potable water for the RV since then.

My water guy now says he is getting our water from a city water supply. I have no reason to doubt him.  He says he cleans his transport tank out on a regular basis as well.  I believe him.  Still yet, the water is not clean.  Take a look at that water filter picture.  That is the primary sediment filter on my outside filter set.   If I wasn’t filtering the water before filling my onboard tank (which we run  off of) that grit and crud would be in my tank, my pipes and my water heater.  Are you buying water for drinking and cooking but using your supplied water for everything else? Well I hate to be the one to tell ya you are pumping junk like on that filter straight into your RV if you are not filtering it in some fashion beforehand.

Our current water system did not happen overnight. It evolved as we saw additional need for ever purer water. At some point along the way, I decided we should go ‘all the way’.  All the way as in me being able to take water directly from a pond, creek, stock tank or even a cow track and purify and filter it until it was potable grade.   Most of us are one power failure away from our potable water supply vanishing anyhow.  Look at Katrina or Sandy or that latest deal with the chemicals in that West Virginia River.   Miss K looked over at me when it came on the news and said ” All we would have to do to get all the good water we needed would be to go upriver of the spill.”  Yep, we coulda done that no problem Miss K.

Rube Goldberg water filtration system.  Hey, it works!

Rube Goldberg water filtration system. Hey, it works!

So how it stands now is we have the inside water filters and the outside ones.  The inside one is the Aqua Sun two canister filter with the UV light.  It feeds a counter top spigot which is used for cooking and drinking water.  The first canister contains a Doulton Imperial Sterasyl Ceramic Filter and the second canister contains a carbon filter and the UV light.  Remember, all the water coming into the Princess Palace is pre-filtered.

The outside filter setup has 6 canisters that are divided up into a primary group of three, a secondary group of 2 and a final canister.  I use brass Y connectors with shut offs on eacjh line and I can easily bypass any of the filter groups. Brass connectors — not plastic.  We aren’t half-assin’ here.  The 3 canister primary group has a Purenex 5 Micron Sediment Water Filter as the primary filter. You saw a picture of it. The second and third filters are Purenex 1 Micron Sediment Water Filter Cartridges. I like the Purenex filters because they are NSF certified and reasonably priced.

The secondary filter group has a primary Pentek 0.5 Micron Carbon Block Filter Cartridge followed by a Doulton Imperial Sterasyl Ceramic Filter.  The final filter is a scale inhibitor.  The Doulton Sterasyl filter is the real workhorse here as far as gettin’ all the buggies out. It is a hard ceramic filter and care should be taken during handling.  The first one I ordered arrived in 20 pieces due to rough handling by the Bad UPS Lady so you gotta handle these expensive filters with care.  It is a 0.9 micron filter and conforms to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 and 53.   NSF/ANSI Standard 42 are: chlorine (taste and odor), chloramines, iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, pH neutralization and zinc reduction.  The commonly tested chemical reduction claims for products seeking certification to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 are: heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury and selenium), inorganics (fluoride and nitrate plus nitrite) and volatile organic chemicals (chloroform surrogate as well as individual organic chemicals).  It is also tested with live cryptosporidium to a removal of 99.999%.

Let me warn you up on a few things about this Sterasyl ceramic filter. It has a low flow rate and it is not what you would want to put on a feed line going to your city water inlet unless you want to take a dribble shower.  We always use our onboard water tank for supply so it works just fine.  It is going to get clogged up with buggies and dreck and reduce the flow rate to almost nothing.  When that happens, you just take it out and rub it down hard with a stainless steel scrubby.   Every time you do that it is gonna take some of the ceramic off.   I have scrubbed my outside filter down many times and it is still going strong.

If I was going to have to rely on just a minimal barebone system to get me by it would still take 4 canisters.

  1.   Purenex 5 Micron Sediment Water Filter
  2. Purenex 1 Micron Sediment Water Filter Cartridge
  3. Pentek 0.5 Micron Carbon Block Filter Cartridge
  4. Doulton Imperial Sterasyl Ceramic Filter

My water filter system is over the top for one reason.  You can only live 3 to 5 days without water. Period; You go for the dirt nap after that. Years ago I predicted water was going to be a limiting factor in the American Southwest.  It always had been since the earliest Spanish explorers traipsed through this country. We just got away from recognizing the scarcity of potable water in these parts because we took clean water flowing out of a faucet at will for granted.  I have also discovered you can’t wait until the shit hits to school up on these things.   Read all the books and such and there will still be a gap between the learnin’ and the doin’.  Just think about it.  You could buy 4 canisters with the suitable filters and lay ’em back for hard times.   You have the short hoses and fittings to tie ’em together?   How about a canister wrench?  Hose washers?  What about a pump?  Several of the 12v pumps I tried at first did not have enough PSI to make water come out the far end.  I am using a 110v shallow well pump now.

You can buy items all day long that make you more independent but unless you put them to practice I gotta call bullshit on your master plan.   Hey, it is what it is.

End Note:  Lay Down by Melanie (Safka) Live 1971.  Yeah, she did way more than that roller skate song.

 

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6 comments to Gettin’ By

  • Bryan

    I never underestimate the value of a good Rube Goldberg device. For those of us that went to the Wile Coyote School of Engineering, they are invaluable.

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  • Rob

    1971 seems like yesterday & 4 lifetimes ago… all at the same time. I have always liked Melanie’s voice.

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  • Jim

    Your Rube Goldberg design is better than mine, but we don’t have a tote to hang it off of either. We draw off a 200 gallon tank that sits on the ground to refill our RV tank. What I have learned is that on the days the water gets refilled, I run an auxillary filter on the tank. As the water gets dumped in it stirs up all the crud on the bottom, gets pulled thru the filter and gets dumped back into the tank. It is a bitch though when you get busy and forget your filling the RV main tank. After the 3 filters we use, we might, on a good day get 3/4 gallon a minute out. 90 gallons later, whats that dripping???

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    • Andrew

      I am with you on re-supply days. I have a Y cutoff coming off the first 3 sediment filters. One side goes to the other filters; the other side goes to a 10 ft hose. I stick the hose back in the top of the tank and let it run 12 hours through the sediment filters just ‘polishing’ the water. It prolongs the life of the other filters many times over.

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    • Andrew

      I have seen some people put put the filters in plastic totes as well.

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  • Thanks for the tips. Being an exurbanite lo these many, I had forgotten how complicated far-out rubarb living can be.

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