Late Monday night I decided it was finally time to get ready for bed and I went downstairs to my bathroom to brush my teeth. Nothing came out of the faucet. I found out the next morning (after suffering through a night with dirty teeth.. ick) that there was a 6″ water main break nearby and most of our private neighborhood was without water. We went an entire day without water, but after they fixed the break we were put under a voluntary boil advisory. For those who have never experienced this, it’s simply a notice to advise everyone to boil their water before use.
When a water main breaks all kinds of nasty deposits enter the water. When they are fixing the break, even more gross stuff gets in there. So after the break is fixed and you finally get water pressure back all that stuff ends up in your glass and looks like this:
Our county gave us this handy sheet with directions on how to clean water for consumption.
And that’s what we did. We filled a huge pot with water (um, would you want to drink that?) and heated it until it had been boiling vigorously for 3+ minutes. Then I set the pot aside and let the water cool and the deposits sift to the bottom.
Then I took a large gallon mason jar and secured a coffee filter on top by lightly placing the ring of the lid back on top. Don’t secure the lid completely because if your water is still slightly warm then the hot air will have no way to escape and your filter will simply expand out. Run all the water through the coffee filter until your jar is full. The water will run through slower and slower due to deposits clogging up the filter so you may have to may it around a bit. Be very careful not to tear your filter or you’ll have to start all over again!
When you’re done, you’ll have sparkling clean water to drink!
Wow! Look at the difference!
Although the boil advisory was voluntary, I don’t think anyone should drink water that looks like the picture on the left. You never know what could be in it and it’s just not worth getting sick. This technique would also work if you have naturally “dirty” water or water that has a lot of deposits in it.