underground water.. SAFE TO DRINK?

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Sep 8, 2020
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the world
Hi guys,
Near the permanent camp that I'm building, I found a really wet spot on the ground, I tried to dig and I found plenty of water that also has a consistent flow! The water is really cold and cristal clear...
Do u guys think that it would be safe to drink? or it's still better to boil or filter it? Above this spring there is no house or any possible human contamination but only a mountain.

In this video u can see really well what I'm talking about :

Thank u so much for your Answers!
 

gra_farmer

Settler
Mar 29, 2016
599
342
Kent
There is no easy yes or no, I am a trained hydrochemist / eco hydrogeologist and there are so many issues to consider, such as fissure flow from a pollution source, sometimes up to 30 miles away, naturally occuring biofouling nearby, etc.

I would allow to settle, filter and boil always when there are any questions of unknowns.

Even when a water source is tested and known to be clean, chlorine is still added, as water quality can change day by day, and even hour by hour.

My job is keeping water clean (potable) for millions of people, so know a few things about water :)
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
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Exmoor
You have some great skills and have made a realy nice job of everything .

A good water filter is always a handy thing to have in any wild water situation but if you can't afford one (they are not cheap for a decent one) boil it to be safe. You never can tell for sure .
I was about to add what gra farmer said about pollution being possible from miles away but he got it in before me:)
Also you don't know what animals may be using your lovely new water hole when you are not there.
 
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Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
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Hmm, how does this all look on the map?

A hidden spring, -even a lost Holy well?

What is the geology? It looks sedimentary to me, -sandstone?

Limestone is very permiable?

Is there clay? (useful resource)
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,367
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Mid Wales
You've had advice from a professional above and probably well worth following. However, to balance the discussion, our water is straight from a borehole with no treatment whatsoever. It's been tested and has no biological or pollutant content at all. We've been drinking it now for over 25 years. It is so clean tasting that I cannot abide mains water in restaurants or peoples houses because of the chemical taste. Remember, the UK is one of the the most densely populated countries in Europe (however, we live in a very low density area). I have always drunk, and continue to drink, water from the UK uplands but once I get down from the hills I filter and boil.

If it was me, I would make a judgement on how close to civilisation you are and what potential pollutants there are. If it really is spring water (as opposed to surface water) it is unlikely to be contaminated if you are above any human occupation. If your camp really is permanent you could have the water tested - here in the UK for biological and chemical testing of potable water that's £200-300.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
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Exeter
You've had advice from a professional above and probably well worth following. However, to balance the discussion, our water is straight from a borehole with no treatment whatsoever. It's been tested and has no biological or pollutant content at all. We've been drinking it now for over 25 years. It is so clean tasting that I cannot abide mains water in restaurants or peoples houses because of the chemical taste. Remember, the UK is one of the the most densely populated countries in Europe (however, we live in a very low density area). I have always drunk, and continue to drink, water from the UK uplands but once I get down from the hills I filter and boil.

Probably important for the OP to know that Broch IS Welsh.


:)
 

gra_farmer

Settler
Mar 29, 2016
599
342
Kent
Hmm, how does this all look on the map?

A hidden spring, -even a lost Holy well?

What is the geology? It looks sedimentary to me, -sandstone?

Limestone is very permiable?

Is there clay? (useful resource)
Thank you, i forgot to mention geology, that can be key for risk assessing your new source. In chalk, this can result in a medium risk, as water movement is slow, in sandstone and gravels, the risk is higher to increased flow.
 

gra_farmer

Settler
Mar 29, 2016
599
342
Kent
You've had advice from a professional above and probably well worth following. However, to balance the discussion, our water is straight from a borehole with no treatment whatsoever. It's been tested and has no biological or pollutant content at all. We've been drinking it now for over 25 years. It is so clean tasting that I cannot abide mains water in restaurants or peoples houses because of the chemical taste. Remember, the UK is one of the the most densely populated countries in Europe (however, we live in a very low density area). I have always drunk, and continue to drink, water from the UK uplands but once I get down from the hills I filter and boil.

If it was me, I would make a judgement on how close to civilisation you are and what potential pollutants there are. If it really is spring water (as opposed to surface water) it is unlikely to be contaminated if you are above any human occupation. If your camp really is permanent you could have the water tested - here in the UK for biological and chemical testing of potable water that's £200-300.
Domestic boreholes only require testing once a year, but I normally do testing every 2 weeks at my monitoring points which are private, and I see shocking things....
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
There's a very strong point. She has not had the water tested. Let's wait and see.

Next, you cannot boil toxic chemicals out of the water.
Yes, boiling will kill microorganisms but the mineral things (such as maybe arsenic) are still there.
Camping alone, I would want 100% reliable water. Bringing good drinking water from home might be essential.

I do. I cross dozens and dozens of inviting little rivulets up in the mountains. I won't drink any of it.

Dig a hole, build a crib, make a lid to keep small animals from drowning and rotting in your water.
Get the water tested, over and over again.

As a note added in proof, we have just come out of 4 months of bad village water (mineral rock slides up top).
Even SCUBA divers were needed to do some of the clean-up.
 
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gra_farmer

Settler
Mar 29, 2016
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Kent
Who's responsibility is it to carry out the testing? It's only done if I do it myself and no one requires me to do it. Mind, I don't pay any water rates :)
It's private, so it is your legal and personal responsibility. Water companies can do this for free if permission is granted for access and part of a monitoring network for Water Industry National Environment Programme.

Ask the local water company and ask for a deal to undertake water sampling in exchange for access rights.
 
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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
Yes, boiling will kill microorganisms but the mineral things (such as maybe arsenic) are still there.
Agreed about the chemical pollutants; you've got to know your terrain and geology :)

But, there's a caveat to boiling as well. I have done a fair bit of trekking in arid environments and was taught that boiled water should only be considered safe for 24 hours. Bacteria such as Giardia form cysts which cannot be destroyed below 137C. The cists themselves are harmless but after 24 hours, in ideal conditions (10 to 30C), there is a cascade conversion.
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,367
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Mid Wales
It's private, so it is your legal and personal responsibility. Water companies can do this for free if permission is granted for access and part of a monitoring network for Water Industry National Environment Programme.

Ask the local water company and ask for a deal to undertake water sampling in exchange for access rights.

Thanks, to be honest I'm happy with things as they are :); I was just curious.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,767
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McBride, BC
Once again, that water is suspect without periodic testing.
Looks wonderful but I would not dream of drinking any of the water that I run across up top.

Energetically, it makes no sense wasting fuel to boil more water than for your needs.
Water has the highest Specific Heat of all common liquids.
 
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Hi guys,
Near the permanent camp that I'm building, I found a really wet spot on the ground, I tried to dig and I found plenty of water that also has a consistent flow! The water is really cold and cristal clear...
Do u guys think that it would be safe to drink? or it's still better to boil or filter it? Above this spring there is no house or any possible human contamination but only a mountain.

In this video u can see really well what I'm talking about :

Thank u so much for your Answers!
Spring water should be safe to drink as is, but frankly these days I would boil the water first just to be sure.
Keith.
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,242
1,237
Bedfordshire
I don't think I can add much to the answers given. Just a slightly tangential thought. Can people develop a degree of resistance to water borne pathogens that they are regularly exposed to? You know...locals say the water is fine, they drink it all the time...tourist drinks it, gets sick?

Personally I treat or filter all my water. There have probably been times when it wasn't necessary but I prefer to be consistent and not take the risk.
 

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