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Boil water for HOW LONG?!?

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posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:10 PM
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I decided to open the eyes of some of the people on here that seem to think that they need to boil water for: 10 mins, 5 mins, 20 mins, rolling boil, and the greatest one, boil for twice as long if you are at a higher altitude (higher than what!?! ).

Health organizations, the government and others seem to differ greatly in their stance on how long you should boil water to make it potable(safe to drink). Why?! It seems that they are erring on the side of caution and do not trust people to be smart enough, so, they want you to boil water for MUCH longer than is needed. Why? Do they realize that if you are in a survival situation, not only will boiling water for 20 mins reduce the amount of water that you started out with, but, it also makes you have to collect alot of fuel for the fires.

So, I guess you are wondering how long you should actually let the water boil for. Well the answer to that is 0 minutes. That's right. ZERO minutes.



“According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude.”


Hmmm...what happens if you are stuck and you don't have a thermometer?




The fact is, with a water temperature of 160 to 165 degrees F (74 C) it takes just half an hour for all disease causing organisms to be inactivated. At 185 degrees this is cut to just a few minutes. By the time water hits its boiling point of 212 F (100 C) – plus or minus depending upon pressure or altitude – the water is safe. Even at high altitudes the time it takes for the water to reach a rolling boil and then cool means you can safely drink it. Lacking a thermometer to measure water temperature, you only need to get your water to a rolling boil. By that point you know the water is hot enough and that the disease organisms in your water were destroyed quite some time earlier. End of story, turn off the heat. Stop wasting fuel. Let the water cool down. Your water is safe to drink!


Here is a site that will explain all to you.

Again, boiling water is the BEST method to make water safe to drink, many filters and chemicals are a distant second. I am not saying that they are ineffective, just that by themselves they are not as reliable as boiling.

A little about myself, I am a water plant operator. I work in a Class 1 plant and will soon be working in a Class 2 plant.

I hope this helps people out. Take care.




posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:18 PM
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reply to post by superman2012
 

Thank you so much for this. If you knew how many hours I've spent trying to nail down which version of instructions is accurate for a site I'm putting together, you'd laugh. You've not only put it into a nice and concise explanation but linked to an Edu site I can reference and use directly. I imagine the information itself will be useful to everyone and save some real time and trouble for those having to treat water...like the boiling orders we seem to get around here a few times a year.



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:25 PM
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reply to post by superman2012
 


Hi and thanks for the information. It's the little things we think we know that could be our undoing in an emergency. I can just see myself thinking, "Now how long do I have to boil this for???" I'm sure I'd still go for 15 minutes since that's the way I am with everything; chicken, fish and pork, especially pork! Gotta kill those germs. Must be something I learned from my mother.



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:27 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


No problem, I was in that category as well. Let me know your site name, sounds interesting!



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:28 PM
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reply to post by queenofsheba
 


Hahaha, I think everyones mother taught them that! I completely understand what you are saying/typing!



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:33 PM
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Having been in the industry myself ... I would suggest boiling for 5 minutes.

The reason is this - you are sterilizing 3 distinct components when you boil water. First, the water. Second, the container. Third, any particulates, organics, etc that may be in the water. In a survival situation that lacks basic sanitation and access to medical treatment, you don't want to take the chance.

5 minutes is a good rule of thumb because you may be in a situation where drinking cloudy water is your only option and that material could serve to insulate harmful agents, if only for a very short while.



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:34 PM
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reply to post by superman2012
 


Gammy told me whatever you tell me, do it twice as long!

CJ



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:36 PM
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reply to post by superman2012
 


Always goods information to have, thanks for posting!



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:36 PM
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I found a nice calculator to use for the boiling temp verses altitude : Here



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:39 PM
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Interesting.

S&F

I have heard a few different times for purifying water with heat but I have always stuck with the Australian Army's prescribed methods....
Boil for ten minutes and if possible use Puritabs before boiling the water.

It might pay to note that you can still get sick even if water has been boiled.

Some bacteria leaves Exotoxins that can make you ill even though the bacteria that caused them have been killed by heat treatment

en.wikipedia.org...


Exotoxins
In addition to disease caused by direct bacterial infection, some foodborne illnesses are caused by exotoxins which are excreted by the cell as the bacterium grows. Exotoxins can produce illness even when the microbes that produced them have been killed. Symptoms typically appear after 24 hours depending on the amount of toxin ingested.


Quite often, food poisoning is blamed on bacteria present in the food when it is actually the Exotoxins that have caused the illness.

Usually you can tell the difference of whether the food poisoning is caused by bacteria or Exotoxins by the period between eating/drinking and when symptoms begin. Bacteria can take quite a long time to incubate (from 24 hours up to 10 days) and food poisoning from Exotoxins can manifest itself in as little as 12 hours.(despite what wikipedia says above


This is why you should be careful with "All you can eat" buffets as quite often the food left over from a previous shift will just be reheated and re-served. The bacteria is killed in the reheating but the Exotoxins remain.
edit on 11/8/2011 by OccamAssassin because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:39 PM
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Originally posted by area6
Having been in the industry myself ... I would suggest boiling for 5 minutes.

The reason is this - you are sterilizing 3 distinct components when you boil water. First, the water. Second, the container. Third, any particulates, organics, etc that may be in the water. In a survival situation that lacks basic sanitation and access to medical treatment, you don't want to take the chance.

5 minutes is a good rule of thumb because you may be in a situation where drinking cloudy water is your only option and that material could serve to insulate harmful agents, if only for a very short while.


While that does make sense, if you are low on fuel, or in an emergency situation, as soon as it boils it will be fine. The turbidity of the water sure does affect how chemicals disinfect the water, but, not so much with boiling. As long as someone were to pre-filter, using a t-shirt or some other material, a boil will be sufficient. Boiling for longer doesn't make the water more hot. Myself, I would boil a bit longer just for the security feeling if it was for my kids, however, I also follow the directions on a shampoo bottle that say, "wash, rinse, repeat" when that isn't necessary either.



posted on Aug, 12 2011 @ 12:00 AM
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reply to post by superman2012
 

I just thought I would add a suggestion here, as you mentioned pre-filtering. I'd bought a filtered water pitcher a couple years ago (It happened to be a Britta, but there are a variety of them out there) to try it out. Well, I still have the pitcher and enough filters to cycle through it for at least 6 months of hard use, replacing the filters much more often than suggested, if necessary. It turns our tap water into very clean and good drinking water. I stocked the filters figuring that it would do a % of the filtering in a disaster too. It isn't a replacement for boiling but I'd imagine it'd make the water far more palatable and appealing to drink, at the very least.



posted on Aug, 12 2011 @ 12:03 AM
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reply to post by superman2012
 


Not trying to derail your advice. It's generally sound, but there are other considerations.

Example ... little Timmy just took a #2 and hands you the boiling container. And nobody in "camp" has washed their hands properly for DAYS. Boiling longer will help with this contaminated container issue to some degree.

When the SHTF people get hungry, thirsty, cold ... stupid. That's why our mom's have all these rules.



posted on Aug, 12 2011 @ 11:05 AM
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reply to post by area6
 


You know, that Timmy has been getting on my nerves for a while - and now he goes and craps in my cooking pans! Considering we are all freezing and starving to death, after we boil the water an extra 15 minutes, can we maybe just kill and cook little "T"? Hands up? Who's hungry?

CJ



posted on Aug, 12 2011 @ 07:33 PM
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reply to post by area6
 


Yeah I understand where you are coming from, but, I was going under the assumption that any containers that would be used for life saving food/water would be kept clean. You should know the following information if you worked in the field!



The main goal of drinking water treatment is to remove or kill these organisms to reduce the risk of illness. Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of waterborne disease, adopting a multi-barrier, source-to-tap approach to safe drinking water will reduce the numbers of microorganisms in drinking water. This approach includes the protection of source water (where possible), the use of appropriate and effective treatment methods, well-maintained distribution systems, and routine verification of drinking water safety. All drinking water supplies should be disinfected, unless specifically exempted by the responsible authority.


From here.



posted on Aug, 12 2011 @ 08:31 PM
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I was always thought that it just has to reach a boil and you're good to go.



posted on Aug, 12 2011 @ 11:56 PM
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Originally posted by Thunderheart
I was always thought that it just has to reach a boil and you're good to go.


That is what this thread is about.



posted on Aug, 13 2011 @ 06:44 AM
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reply to post by superman2012
 


that is so much help but im sticking with 5 minutes you know altitude issues



posted on Aug, 13 2011 @ 02:02 PM
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Originally posted by THEwTRUTH
reply to post by superman2012
 


that is so much help but im sticking with 5 minutes you know altitude issues


Altitude affects the time it takes to boil. Bacteria do not become more resilient the higher the altitude...but like I said before, if it were my family and there was an abundance of fuel, I would boil for longer as well just for the emotional security.



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