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Wilderness Tripping - BWCA & Beyond New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  Try alum
  Posted by: cliffjacobson on Sep-24-11 12:27 PM (EST)

Friends and I have done several western rivers where water is a problem. We don't carry water; we treat it. Here's how:
1.Buy a bottle of alum at your local pharmacy (about $10)
2.Fill a roughly 2.5 gallon bucket with the "chocolate malt colored", sediment-filled river water.
3.Add a heaping tablespoon of alum to the bucket, then stir slowly in ONE DIRECTION (clockwise or counterclockwise)with a long stick. Continue stirring (about 5 minutes) until you see a "flocculant precipitate" forming on the surface of the water. The precipitate will look like miniature snowflakes. When you see this, stop stirring and go away for about 20 minutes.
4.In roughly 20 minutes the water will be crystal clear--all the sediment has gone to the bottom. Be careful to take water from the top of the bucket--don't mix the sediment back in.
5.If you're boiling the water, no problem. If you filling canteens, treat or filter the clear water. Simple, isn't it?

We've used this procedure on the Green River, Little Missouri and Rio Grande. No problems.

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