Access to clean drinking water is vital to survival. During a crisis, freshwater stores may be limited. Charcoal water filters have been used since the Ancient Egyptians. They work by absorption, negatively charged ion in contaminants are attracted to the positive ions in the charcoal. The contaminants are then trapped in the charcoal thereby cleaning the water.
You can make a water filter at home out of a few household items. By layering dirt and gravel in a plastic bottle you can recreate the layers of the Earth. As water follows through the ground it is naturally filtered and cleaned.
- Plastic Bottle
- Activated Charcol
- Fine Sand
- Coffee Filter
- Non-toxic Glue
- 2 plastic buckets with lids
- Beverage dispensing faucet
- Push a wadded up piece of newspaper into the neck of the bottle. It should be a tight fit, this will prevent the dirt and gravel from falling out.
- Use scissors or a knife to cut the bottom off the of the plastic bottle.
- Break up the charcoal into small manageable pieces so they will fit inside the plastic bottle easier.
- Fill the bottle with a layer of the activated charcoal in first.
- Place a layer of sand on top of the charcoal next.
- Mix the dirt and gravel.
- Place the dirt and gravel mixture in last. The water should pass through the layers biggest particles to smallest.
- The buckets should be about the same height as the plastic bottle. The water should pass through the filter slowly for best results. The buckets will allow you to storage and access fresh water when needed.
- Removed the cap from the plastic bottle and set it aside for now.
- Cut a hole in the bottom bucket and attach the beverage dispensing faucet. This will allow you to easily access the filtered water.
- Cut a hole in the bucket lid to fit the plastic bottle.
- Cut a hole in the bottom of the second bucket to hold the plastic bottle in place.
- Use non-toxic glue to stack the two buckets on top of each other.
- Push the plastic bottle filter through the hole. It should be a snug fit. Glue in place so it doesn't move.
- Cut a hole for the sifter in the lid of the top bucket. This will catch any large particles as the water passes through it.
- Glue the sifter in place. Line it with fabric or a coffee filter to trap fine particles.
- Fill the filter with water. The filter will take a while to work.
- Open the faucet to access the newly filtered water.
The filter material should be changed regularly to prevent trapped bacteria from growing inside the filter. The charcoal will trap many contaminants, but it is unable to get rid of viruses or bacteria. Boil the filtered water to be safe.