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Discussion: Water filtration

in: Adventure Racing; General

Jul 11, 2016 8:16 PM # 
I have been pretty lackadaisical about sanitizing natural water sources for several years, as long as it is clear, running forest/mountain water. I may have picked up a bug by doing this a couple races ago (not proven, but...) If anyone is using a small in-line hydration pack filter (Sawyer mini or similar), can you comment about the resistance to flow and any other general feedback?
Jul 11, 2016 8:36 PM # 
Not an answer to your question but most of my teammates and I have used various brands of water purification pills. The downside is the need to wait for the purification to work although if you have multiple water containers, you can get around that.
Jul 11, 2016 9:30 PM # 
I have found pristine to 'work best' in terms of no sickness after races in all countries (and I have suffered when I didn't use it). Tabs take a long time to work which is a drawback and I find as my eyes worsen that I get frustrated using the tabs especially at night. Pristine (in the form I use) involves mixing two liquids together, which can be a pain also, but I mix a large quantity in an eye drop bottle just before the race and then refill at TA's as req'd. Not the recommended method but I have never had a problem.
... just make sure you mark your bottle so no one puts it in their eyes! ;-)
Jul 12, 2016 12:01 AM # 
Paulette is using this system for the Trans Pyrenees. She said that it is a little harder to drink from, but OK. She really likes being able to disconnect the hose when filling.
Jul 12, 2016 12:49 AM # 
We've been using the Sawyer mini-filters for a few years. On the ones where we jerry-rigged them to bladder hoses, we found that the closer you put the filter to the base of the hose, the less resistance there was. Source Hydration (full disclosure, a sponsor of ours) has teamed up with Sawyer and now offers a bladder with a built-in mini-filter. In their design, the filter is a bit further up, and the resistance isn't particularly noticeable (or else I'm just used to sucking water through a mini-filter at this point).

When we raced in Alaska last year, we also experimented with Sawyer bag filters and water bottles. The bottles were a bit bulky, but the bags were fantastic, especially in that race where there was generally no shortage of water on course.
Jul 12, 2016 1:04 AM # 
Team Disoriented:
We use the Geigerrig as well. I like the inline filters. You can use the bacteria or virus filter or no filter. The flow is reduced with any inline filter but the ability to pump up the pressure helps.
Jul 12, 2016 4:04 AM # 
Cali Cowboy:
I use Aeorbic Oxygen. No waiting. No sickness in 3 years that I've been using it. That's quite a bit of water from all around the world. Google it and learn more it's kinda weird hippy stuff Abby and Jason introduced me to.
Jul 12, 2016 1:04 PM # 
Is that essentially Ozonation of the water? I was involved with a project a few years back where we were using Ozone to clean/disinfect milk tankers. It was supposed to be a revolutionary way to make the process much more environmentally friendly. The disinfection/cleaning was great but it proved unhealthy for the guys working in the 'wash bays'.

This would be a very 'cool' application of that technology, if that's what it is. Curious how it works.
Jul 12, 2016 1:11 PM # 
Whatever kind of purification you use, check the technical specs since they're not created equal - and they don't need to be, since water quality is different around the world. The most thorough type of water purification will work on dirty-looking water that contains bacteria, viruses and protozoa (including giardia or cryptosporidium cysts). FWIW I've been out with three adventure racers who were careless about water quality in two different hemispheres, and what they all got was giardia. So I'd always want a system that handles protozoa.
Jul 12, 2016 1:13 PM # 
FB, I was also thinking that sounded like ozone. 'Bent uses it in dentistry but it's still very leading edge. He also uses it to treat blisters and colds in his spare time!
Jul 12, 2016 1:31 PM # 
If he could place some over Antarctica that would be good too.
Jul 12, 2016 5:46 PM # 
Thanks for the responses folks. It's fun that there is no consensus.

This is the product Kyle?:

That's an... interesting website. I'm glad you're not getting sick.

This article:
originally led me to stop treating clear northern forest stream water. Many anecdotal reports supporting both positions without much strong science.
Jul 12, 2016 8:09 PM # 
Thanks Kyle, for making me spend my lunch time looking up Aerobic Oxygen. I'm surprised you haven't gotten Giardia yet, as I can't figure out what AO is, other than expensive water.


D2O. but that's mainly toxic to plants and animals at high concentrations. but not to bacteria.

Heavy oxygen water, or H2O made with heavy oxygen (O18 or O17), not the usual O16. But I can't find anywhere that states heavy oxygen is toxic to bacteria or protozoans.

Ozone (O3) or some form of liquid ozone. But ozone is unstable in minutes, and can't be stored as a liquid. So I think this is out too.

Can anyone help me with this product: Aerobic Oxygen? I can't figure out it out. And since the company won't admit to anything, all my alarm bells are going off. For me, I'll stick with chlorine tabs/drops while racing or fastpacking, and a filter when backpacking with my family.
Jul 12, 2016 8:53 PM # 
I just found this on their FAQ page :

What is the formula of Aerobic Oxygen? What does it contain?

Of course the formula is a trade secret, but if we had to compare it to other products, it would be a close cousin to Chlorine Dioxide. Chlorine dioxide is a much less refined and effective product compared to the Aerobic Oxygen.


So now I wonder if it's just a chlorine compound....
Jul 12, 2016 10:26 PM # 
"Aerobic Oxygen is not a Chlorine Dioxide product, nor does it contain Hydrogen Peroxide. There is a distinct difference between all three. A simple w\pH test will show that there is no H202 in Aerobic Oxygen. H202 is very acidic and Aerobic Oxygen is very alkaline. This is one of the tremendous benefits of Aerobic Oxygen. Aerobic Oxygen does not have a formula, it is a compound created by a process and reaction to the ingredients used to produce the non-toxic, stable oxygen compound that it is." Hmm, it doesn't have a formula?
Jul 12, 2016 11:20 PM # 
In reference to the FAQ that states that Aerobic Oxygen is a close cousin to chlorine dioxide, I wonder if it's then hydrogen dioxide?
Jul 13, 2016 1:16 PM # 
We use ozone to sterilize water in the dental office (and on our field missions in Belize) It needs to be generated fresh, by bubbling high concentration pure ozone (03 from oxygen, not air) through very cold water for at least half an hour. It's stable when cold in a sealed container for up to 12 hours, but loses potency quickly when warm or open. It can be frozen into ice cubes which are potent until thawed. It's antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral. Not very useful for racing I'm afraid though.

The gas does speed-heal wounds and blisters, and it can be bubbled through food-grade oils to make a strong, stable, non-toxic but smelly topical antibiotic.
Jul 13, 2016 1:18 PM # 
I have no clue what "Aerobic oxygen" is though. It could be some sort of peroxide, possibly related to chlorine dioxide, definitely not ozone, (maybe hogwash)? I can ask some of my smarter friends.
Jul 13, 2016 6:59 PM # 
One of my buddies guesses it's Sodium Chlorite, which generates chlorine dioxide.
Jul 13, 2016 7:01 PM # 
On a slightly different tack- We use Steri-pens to treat water. They're great for small quantities like one water bottle in 30 seconds. We used 2 for 3 of us on our Killarney loop, and many trail runners carry them.

Too slow for team AR use to tank up a team's bladders unless everybody has one.
Jul 13, 2016 8:29 PM # 
Sodium chlorite...that could make sense then. And it kinda explains why they the company doesn't announce the chemical compound. Thanks, I'll check more into it.
Kyle or Abby or Jason, does the disinfected water taste different? How long do you have to wait until treated water is safe to drink?
Jul 13, 2016 8:56 PM # 
Kyle said there's no waiting.

Steri-pens work well with clear water, i.e. not cloudy with silt or other particles. The UV light needs to be able to reach the bad stuff in order to zap it. Most water purification solutions work best if you start with relatively clean-looking water.
Jul 14, 2016 1:44 PM # 
Good point. The water in Killarney is very clear. Steri-pens would be fine for mountain streams. Murky water would need a pre-filter at least if you're going to use UV.

This discussion thread is closed.