The Hazards of Urban Water Sources

In the past, we have talked about the sources of water that are available in city and urban environments.  One thing that we have talked about using is ponds in parks and subdivisions.  I have recently found some information that you need to consider if these are on your list of water sources.

Many of these ponds particularly in the southwest or other hot dry areas are ringed by plants that are not native to the area and take lots of care.  Often large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides are used to keep these plants looking green.  Runoff and leeching flush these toxins directly into the ponds.  Golf courses are one of the worst offenders.

Another problem in many city pools and small lakes is storm water runoff.  The runoff can contain all types of hazardous chemicals including gasoline and motor oil from the streets.

Now I am not saying that you have to totally discount these water sources.  But become familiar with them, learn whether the ones in your neighborhood are a hazard.  Depending on the type of hazard, you may be able to mitigate it by the use of the correct type of filtration.

Knowledge of your area many be the difference between life and death.

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8 Responses to The Hazards of Urban Water Sources

  1. Randy says:

    Filtration is a must for any untested water source.

  2. ke4sky says:

    Agree with Randy that filtration is an absolute must. But that it is only a first step.

    For instance, for UV sterilization to be effective it is necessary to reduce turbidity in order for your UV source to adequate penetrate the water. Filtration is effective for that.
    See http://www.cdc.gov/safewater/publications_pages/options-sodis.pdf

    Litmus paper ph testing is helpful to identify some chemical contaminants, such as we experience here in West Virginia due to contamination of surface runoff from coal mining operations.

    Always use multiple redundant methods such as chemical sterilization, boiling or distillation, if feasible in addition to filtration. Do not rely on only one treatment method.
    Refer to Howard’s earlier article on disaster water supplies which discusses this in more detail.

  3. Prepper Blog says:

    I have an MSR Miniworks EX filter. I know it filters out a lot of things. Will they work for these kinds of contaminants?

  4. admin says:

    The problem is that some of these urban and golf course ponds build up such a stew of pollutants and chemicals, you don’t know what to use to filter them. The filters have to be able to handle chemicals and not just bacteria and viruses. The particular filter you asked about claims to handle chemicals and toxins, but if possible I would still avoid these types of ponds.
    Howard

  5. ke4sky says:

    Instructor cadre at our fire academy recommends a survival fishing kit, not only as a food gathering method, but to assess water quality. If the body of water has viable fish, frogs and turtles, which appear healthy, without deformities, then you can filter, chemically treat or boil for biologicals. You can be confident chemical contamination is minimal. If there is no aquatic life, you need a field hazmat test probe and to be trainedin its use.

  6. Ron says:

    I think the biggest hazard around an urban water source will be the two legged kind. Approach your water source carefully and avoid using the same route.

  7. Ca Dozo says:

    In suburbs and cities, when the power fails, the sewage lift stations will fail and raw sewage will spill into most streams, creeks, rivers and lakes. Not all water filter systems will work in that situation.

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