Do You Really Know What’s In Your Tap Water Today?

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Do you really know what’s in your tap water today? If you ever need to make sure your water is safe to drink you might want to invest in one of this WAPI’s. It is a reusable Water Pasteurization Indicator that’s a simple, low-cost device containing a temperature-sensitive wax that helps users determine when water has reached pasteurization temperatures. Remember, pasteurization does not remove dangerous chemicals, like arsenic. Pasteurization is not the same as sterilization. Let’s think about this.

Here’s a YouTube I did with my WAPI (I am still learning how to do YouTubes) the movie cuts off when the green wax melts and goes to the bottom of the tube when the water is pasteurized. WAPI: Food Storage Moms WAPI Demonstration.

What’s In Your Water Today:

Disease-causing organisms in water, milk or any drinkable liquid are killed by exposure to heat in a process known as pasteurization.  Boiling these items is recommended to achieve pasteurization.  However, water and milk can be pasteurized at temperatures well below boiling, thus saving time and precious fuel in a disaster.  Water boiled/heated to 149 degrees F(65 degrees C) in a shorter period of time is free from microbes, including the dreaded E.coli, Rotavirus, Giardia and Hepatitis A virus.  Water and foods are pasteurized at 160 degrees F (71 degrees C).

Use a WAPI For Your Water Today:

Solar Sun Ovens are a great item to have along with this WAPI tool. The Sun is free solar heat….no power required. I feel so much more at ease having a Sun Oven in my emergency preparedness items.  I know I can pasteurize, sanitize, cook, bake, etc. with the Sun Oven. Here is how the old style WAPI works:

1. Pour water into a dark metal pot or jar. You can spray paint a jar on the outside (put a piece of tape to remove after painting so you can see through the jar) with flat non-toxic latex paint. Remove the tape after it dries.

2. Slide the WAPI to the end of the string so that the wax end is furthest from the washer.

3. Place the WAPI, wax end up, in the water with the opposite end of the string draped outside the pot or jar. The WAPI should rest on the bottom of the pot or jar (near the middle) and the wax end should be higher. Replace the lid to the pot. If using a jar, the lid should have a small hole in it or be loosely screwed to release steam pressure.

4. Place the Solar Sun Oven facing the Sun as you would for cooking. Generally, this would be easterly in the morning and westerly in the afternoon.

5. Place the jar or pot in the Solar Sun Oven. Leave it there for a number of hours, rotating oven if necessary to get full sun. Leave at least one hour per liter of water.

6. When the WAPI wax melts and falls to the bottom of the WAPI, the water has been pasteurized. Don’t worry if the water has cooled, as long as the wax is at the bottom of the WAPI then pasteurization has occurred.

7. Allow water to cool before drinking and cover to prevent recontamination.

Do You Really Know What's In Your Water Today | by FoodStorageMoms.com

P.S. The wax is the green stuff in the little tiny hanging WAPI tool in the jar. I hope we can use this idea in a disaster or even while camping. I am not a microbiologist or an expert in pasteurization but I  hope this helps us understand the WAPI better. Here’s to safe water drinking!

Sun Oven WAPI

I recently got into a discussion about the pros and cons of drinking raw vs pasteurized milk. Since I don’t drink milk like most folks, and only consume this natural product when it’s included as an ingredient in one of my recipes, I really don’t have strong feelings one way or another. I am a firm believer that we should eat foods that are in their natural state and without added chemicals whenever possible.

The dialogue did prompt me to do some reading about pasteurization and its history. I had forgotten that the process is named after Louis Pasteur the scientist who researched and developed this approach to killing bacteria in food and liquids we consume. I also was reminded that there are several types of “thermal processing” where heat is used to kill bacteria, including pasteurization.

I learned that when milk is heated to higher temperatures certain chemical changes take place, besides the killing of the bacteria. One of those changes affects the flavor of the milk and makes it taste like it was overheated or burned. The research that Pasteur performed determined that at a certain temperature the majority of the bad bacteria in the milk would be killed without affecting the flavor. There were additional benefits of lowering the temperature as part of the pasteurization process, using less fuel and taking less time.

This whole effort to become better informed reminded me that I had written various posts some time ago about the need to make sure the water we are drinking is safe, whether we are out camping or the tap water has been compromised due to some disaster in our area. I have written about the options available to filter your water to make it safe from bacteria, including posts highlighting Big Berkey filtering systems: Berkey BK4X2-BB Big Berkey Filtration System with 2 Black Filters and 2 Fluoride Filters

Today I wanted to update a post I wrote that introduced a product called a WAPI, which stands for Water Pasteurization Indicator. I received a WAPI when I purchased my Sun Oven solar cooking device. I like the fact that the WAPI allows me to process my questionable water and do so using the Sun Oven to heat the water to the necessary temperature without having to boil or otherwise treat the liquid with other chemicals to make it safe. Yes, I could use the Big Berkey filtering system I have in my home storage stash, but not all my readers have one of those, so this is a viable alternative to safe water preparation.

Common wisdom has always taught us to make our questionable water safe to drink we need to boil our water to 212°F (100°C) for a minute or more. The pasteurization approach to prepare the water requires us to only heat the water to the lower temperature of 149°F (65°C). That’s great news since it will take us less time and fuel, but what if we don’t have a thermometer available or we question if ours is reading accurately.  Here is where the WAPI comes in so handy.

The folks at Sun Oven refer to their product as the Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator since the unit can be used will all kinds of fuel sources being used to heat the water.  The WAPI has a transparent tube that contains a wax that melts and then drops to the bottom of the tube when it reaches 150°F (65°C) for a period of six minutes.  Once the wax drops in the tube you know the water is safe to drink.

The great thing is that the WAPI is reusable, so you have a source to check the safety of water in any environment, as long as you have a fuel to heat the water. Of course, Sun Oven would like you to buy and use their solar heating product to heat the water, but you aren’t limited to solar with this product. If you want one of these units they are available from numerous sources, including Amazon.

Remember that Pasteur’s process wasn’t designed to remove chemicals from the liquids, only kill the bacteria. You need a high-quality filtering system to remove the chemicals, like a Big Berkey.  There are numerous filtering systems available, so do your own research to find one that fits your needs of price, volume, efficiency, size, etc.

I’ve listed below two charts, one showing the temperature levels to achieve various categories of thermal processing used, and the second showing the optimum temperatures needed to kill bacteria and other microorganisms at the level desired.

Thermization:  134.6°F to 154.4°F (57° C to 68°C) for 15 minutes

Batch Pasteurization, low temperature, long time (LTL): 145.4°F (63°C) for 30 minutes

Pasteurization, high temperature, short time (HTST): 161.6°F to 165.2°F (72°C to 74°C) for 15 to 30 seconds

Ultra-high temperature treatment (UHT): 275°F to 284°F (135°C to 140°C) for 3 to 5 seconds

In-container Sterilization: 239°F to 248°F (115°C to 120°C) for 10 to 20 minutes

Microorganism Treatments:

Types of Worms: protozoa cysts, giardia, cryptosporidium and Entamoeba = 131°F (55°C)

Bacteria: V. cholera, E. coli and Salmonella = 140°F (60°C)

Hepatitis A: = 149°F

I bought the Big Berkey to purify my water today or after a disaster:

I purchased the “Big Berkey” water purifier because it’s compact and easy to use and it purifies the water. I wanted more than just filtering the water.  They have two kinds of filters, my sister purchased the white ceramic filters with her Big Berkey and I purchased the black filters. I decided to research the difference between the two filters.

They are both great filters. They just filter and/or purify different stuff and bacteria. Here’s what I found:  Black Berkey filters will last longer than the ceramic ones, but are basically the same in terms of cleaning, price, and overall day to day use. While both filters are very durable, the ceramics have a slight edge and may benefit people who expect to place daily physical wear and tear on the filter when breaking down the system for transport.

However, the Black Berkeys are more comprehensive in the array of contaminants addressed and have an advantage in their ability to remove some of these contaminants to a higher percentage. In essence, both filters are outstanding performers with a long track record with tens of thousands of satisfied customers.

Here  is what Amazon says about the Big Berkey:

Product Description

“The versatile Big Berkey system is the ideal system for use at home with small or medium sized families, travel, outdoor activities or during unexpected emergencies. This powerful system purifies both treated water and untreated raw water from such sources as remote lakes, streams, stagnant ponds and water supplies in foreign countries, where regulations may be substandard at best.
Perfect for everyday use, outdoor activities and a must in hostile environments where electricity, water pressure or treated water may not be available. The Big Berkey system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts, and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes.
It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance.
Constructed of highly polished 304 stainless steel, the system comes complete with four purification elements and utilizes the latest technological advances. This system has a storage capacity of about 2.25 gallons (8.5 liters) and when in use it stands 19.25″ in height with a diameter of 8.5″. The upper chamber nests within the lower chamber for transport and stands only 13″ in height. Configured with four Black Berkey purification elements the system will purify up to 7 Gallons (13.3 liters) per hour.”

From The Manufacturer:

“The versatile Big Berkey system is the ideal system for use at home with small or medium sized families, travel, outdoor activities or during unexpected emergencies. This powerful system purifies both treated water and untreated raw water from such sources as remote lakes, streams, stagnant ponds and water supplies in foreign countries, where regulations may be substandard at best.
Perfect for everyday use, outdoor activities and a must in hostile environments where electricity, water pressure or treated water may not be available. The Big Berkey system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts, and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes.
It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance. Constructed of highly polished 304 stainless steel, the system comes complete with four purification elements and utilizes the latest technological advances.
This system has a storage capacity of about 2.25 gallons (8.5 liters) and when in use it stands 19.25″ in height with a diameter of 8.5″. The upper chamber nests within the lower chamber for transport and stands only 13″ in height. Configured with four Black Berkey purification elements the system will purify up to 7 Gallons (13.3 liters) per hour.”

I hope this post today helps you realize how you can be prepared for the unexpected on a shoestring. Please be ready to test your water today, tomorrow or next week.  Blessings, Linda

First aid kit by Linda

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