Water treatment comparison

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by stg58, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    From the MSR MIOX page so they may skew towards the MIOX but an interesting comparison.

    MSR MIOX Purifier Pen Footnotes

    MSR MIOX Purifier Pen
    1. In general free chlorine (HOCl) is five times more viricidal and four times more cysticidal than hypo iodous acid (HIO), and is two hundred times more viricidal and two times more cysticidal than I2 (George Clifford White, p. 1378). However, iodine can be effective against Giardia when properly applied. Iodine and chlorine tablets without filtration could pass EPA Purifier Protocols for Type I and Type II waters if only Giardia is tested, but not if Cryptosporidium is tested.

    2. The UV Steri-Pen does not work well in turbid waters or in water containing naturally-occuring humic acids because UV is absorbed by humic acids. In addition, adeno-viruses are more resistant to inactivation by UV than are bacteria or protozoan cysts and oocysts. The Steri-Pen has passed EPA Purifier Protocols for Type I water, but not for Type II water without first filtering. (The MSR MIOX Purifier does not require pre-filtering to meet purifier standards.) The humic acids and turbidity in Type II water cloud and absorb the light, decreasing UV transmission, and allowing more nucleation points for clumping.
    3. Iodine and chlorine technologies will leave a residual, but both disinfectants are ineffective against Cryptosporidium.
    4. Use of filters without a viral guard is not recommended for standing water, due to the potential for virus contamination.
    5. The MSR MIOX Purifier will not filter particles out of the water, although it will make even turbid water safe to drink without filtering. If the user is concerned about aesthetic quality of the water, there are various methods for removing solids, including filtering the water, passing it through a fabric cloth, or using a pinch of powdered alum.
    6. The required quantity of any tablet disinfectant is compact for low-volume use. However, if a longer trip is planned, the number of tablets required in bulk may exceed the size of a treatment “device.” For example, one ClO2 tablet treats 1 L of water. The MSR MIOX Purifier treats ~200 L on one set of batteries.
    7. The purifier is 7 times smaller than a standard filter and ¼ the weight.
    8. Filters must be scrubbed periodically to remove captured particulates that can clog the filter pores.
    9. UV is notorious for the outside surface of the lamp fouling with both organic and inorganic material. Large-scale UV systems have self-cleaning apparatus in place to remove this biofouling. It can be assumed that the UV Steri-Pen would also need to be cleaned periodically to keep functioning.
    10. Although filters are generally fairly rugged, ceramic cartridges are susceptible to cracking if dropped.
    11. Any tablet disinfectant will have submersibility and shelf life issues.
    12. A sufficient quantity of iodine and chlorine tablets could treat large quantities of water in a fairly short period of time. However, tablets are designed for smaller treatment quantities. The more water the user plans to treat, the more tablets would be required. The UV Steri-Pen was also designed with smaller treatment capacities in mind, with a single dose intended for only ½ L. The MSR MIOX Purifier has single dosage quantities designed for ½ L up to 4 liters (approximately 1 gallon), and can treat multiple containers of water at the same time.
    • Filters alone will not remove viruses.
    • The standard waiting time for both chlorine and iodine tablets, as advised by emergency response groups, is 30 minutes, but these technologies will not inactivate Cryptosporidium without filtration. Katadyn recommends a dwell time of 30 minutes with use of their chlorine tablets but recommends 4 hours for more resistant organisms such as Giardia.
    • ClO2 tablets require 15 minutes for bacteria and viruses and 4 hours to inactivate Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
    • The UV Steri-Pen is effective against all classes of organisms in clear water but against nothing in turbid water.
    • The MSR MIOX Purifier requires 15 minutes for viruses and bacteria, 30 minutes for Giardia, and 4 hours for Cryptosporidium, and the quality of the source water is irrelevant. Potability of water can be guaranteed with the MSR MIOX Purifier’s safety indicator, which cannot be used with any other technology.
    Time Required (minutes) for Removal of
    Bacteria, Viruses, & Giardia, and
    Simultaneous Treatment of Various Volumes

    1 L
    10 L
    100 L
    1 minute pumping
    10 minutes pumping
    1 hour, 40 minutes pumping
    Iodine Tablets
    4 hours dwell
    4 hours dwell
    4 hours dwell
    Chlorine Tablets
    4 hours dwell
    4 hours dwell
    4 hours dwell
    C102 Tablets
    4 hours dwell
    4 hours dwell
    4 hours dwell
    UV Steri-Pen
    3 minutes UV operation
    30 minutes UV operation
    5 hours UV operation, with 4 battery replacements
    Miox Purifier
    20 seconds operation
    + 30 minutes dwell = 30 minutes
    3 minutes operation +30 minutes dwell = 33 minutes
    25 minutes operations + 30 minutes dwell = 55 minutes​
    14. The UV Steri-Pen requires four AA batteries, which are readily available, but the bulb will wear out after treatment of 625 gallons of water, according to the manufacturer. A Steri-Pen with a broken or exhausted bulb must be returned to the factory for installation of a new bulb. In contrast, salt and lithium camera batteries for the MIOX purifier are readily available worldwide and can be installed by the user.
    15. Bottled iodine tablets have a shelf life of 5 years if the bottle is unopened. However, once the bottle is opened, shelf life is only 6 months. Iodine crystals have no shelf life.The shelf life for chlorine tablets is in the range of several years if stored properly (cool, dry, no light). High temperatures, sunlight, and humidity can have a dramatic effect on decreasing shelf life, even to within only a few weeks of viability.
    16. The MSR MIOX Purifier is the only water purification option supplied with a purity indicator and calibrated to match proper usage only with the purifier. Other treatment technologies have no way of guaranteeing the water is safe to drink.
    • Filters range from $25 up to $800. Replacement cartridges for various filter types range from $40 to $200. The MSR MiniWorks EX filter is the market leader and sells for ~$80 with a replacement filter costing $35. Manufacturer’s instructions indicate that filters must typically be replaced every 2,000 liters. If treating highly turbid water, filter cartridges may need to be replaced much sooner.
    • Potable Aqua iodine tablets sell for about $5 per bottle, contain 50 tablets per bottle, and require 2 tablets per liter.
    • Katadyn chlorine tablets sell for $14 for 30 tablets, and 1 tablet is required per liter.
    • Micropur ClO2 tablets sell for $14 for 30 tablets, and 1 tablet is required per liter.
    • The UV Steri-Pen retails for ~$150. Testing indicates ~25 treatments of ½ liter each before battery replacement is required, when using 4 disposable AA alkaline batteries. Four AA batteries retail for $2.67. Manufacturer’s instructions indicate that bulb replacement is required after ~625 gallons of treatment. To replace the bulb, the Steri-Pen must be returned to the factory for a charge of $60.
    • The MSR MIOX Purifier retails for $129.95 and will treat 200 L before batteries must be replaced. Two lithium CR123 batteries retail for $3.50 on-line. The more you utilize the purifier, the more economical it becomes in contrast to tablets, which are totally consumed with each application, and must therefore be replaced in full.

    MSR MIOX Purifier Pen Mixed oxidants, On site Hypochlorite generation, Biofilm, Chlorination, Municipal Water disinfection treatment reuse
  2. Mindgrinder

    Mindgrinder Karma Pirate Ninja|RIP 12-25-2017

    Looks good in the bush....useless for treating your tap water as it doesnt remove fluoride.
  3. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    My input. YMMV.

    The MIOX is a pain in the butt to use correctly and is not as reliable as they make it out to be. The military jumped on the bandwagon for awhile, but even they have dumped it.

    If you need water treatment for bugging out, then get the First Need filter. Its the only compact filter rated for viruses.

    If its for bugging in, get a Berkey.

    If its just for camping and hiking the Steripen works fine. Because of the battery, it is not a good long term solution.

    As a backup get aquamira drops. Keep in mind filters are useless if freezing is an issue. And given time to treat, chlorine dioxide is your best bet.

    Bleach is a poor option unless you have the ability to test the chlorine concentration.

    Iodine is more toxic, and getting hard to find since the method cookers started using it.

    When in doubt filter and treat with chemicals/boil.
  4. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    The First Need XL is rated as -
    Structured Matrix 3-stage purification technology provides natural and ecological removal of contaminants down to 0.1 micron nominal (0.4 absolute)

    The Sawyer Squeeze is rated at 0.1 micron, the Sawyer Zero point Two is rated at 0.02 microns, both will trap the bigger stuff. You will still need to treat for viruses with iodine, chlorine or other treatment methods.

    The Sawyer filters can be back-flushed with clean water to increase the filter life.

    The CDC has this to say -
    Filter pore size is the primary determinant of a filter’s effectiveness, but microorganisms also adhere to filter media by electrochemical reactions. Microfilters with “absolute” pore sizes of 0.1–0.4 µm are usually effective to remove cysts and bacteria but may not adequately remove viruses, which are a major concern in water with high levels of fecal contamination (Table 2-10). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designation of water “purifier” indicates that company-sponsored testing has substantiated claims for removing 106 bacteria, 104 (9,999 of 10,000) viruses, and 103 Cryptosporidium oocysts or Giardia cysts, although EPA does not independently test the validity of these claims. NSF International is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that develops standards and product certification for public health and safety.
  5. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Chlorine dioxide? really! This is not a stable form of chlorine. You are better off with a stable form of chlorine along with a ph meter

    Chlorine in its various forms is the most commonly used pool disinfectant. In addition to killing bacteria, chlorine helps to kill algae and destroy waste material not removed by the filter system. In its natural or elemental state, chlorine is a gas. But chlorine gas is very toxic and hard to handle safely. This is why chlorine is combined with other compounds to form several liquids and solids which are effective sanitizers and safer to handle than chlorine gas. The use of chlorine in a swimming pool as a sanitizer has long been recognized. No matter what form of chlorine you use, it's primary purpose is to combine with water to form what is called FREE CHLORINE or "Hypochlorous Acid"(HA) . It is only the chlorine in the form of HA that sanitizes and disinfects. Over 90% of the sanitizing power of any chlorine comes in form of the all important HA. HA has certain limitations. It tends to be unstable in the presence of sunlight, high temperatures and low ph levels. These conditions cause rapid chlorine loss. The amount of Hypochlorous Acid (disinfectant) your chlorine forms is dependent on the pool water Ph. As the Ph increases, the percentage of chlorine that forms into disinfectant decreases. For example, at a Ph of "8", only 23% of the chlorine is forming disinfectant. This is one reason why Ph should be monitored. All swimming pools can develop "CHLORINE DEMAND" when insufficient chlorine is present. Dissolved iron, bacteria, perspiration, algae, pollen spores, and other organic materials create a "CHLORINE DEMAND" in pool water. If enough chlorine were added to form the suitable amount of HA to oxidize all of the pollutants present, a "CHLORINE DEMAND" would no longer exist.


    Calcium Hypochlorite is a dry "Unstabilized" granular product with a calcium base. It is 65% available chlorine with a Ph of 12 to 13. It is slow dissolving and should be dissolved in a bucket of water prior to adding to the pool. Constant use of a calcium based chlorine will increase the calcium hardness and cause the Ph to climb upward. In the presence of heat and sunlight, it is relatively unstable and precipitates out of the water rapidly.

    Sodium Hypochlorite is a "Unstabilized" liquid chlorine used in many large commercial as well as smaller private pools where handling and storage is not a problem. It has 10% to 15% available chlorine with a Ph of 13 to 14. It does not store well in heat or sunlight and should be used as soon as possible after it is manufactured. The best results are obtained when it is fed automatically through a sodium hypochlorite feeder directly into the water lines. When in the pool water, liquid chlorine is adversely affected by sunlight. For this reason it is best if you only use liquid when a well balanced Stabilizer reading is present. This product is sold fresh at 10-12% available chlorine in 2.5 gallon yellow jugs.

    Lithium Hypochlorite is an "Unstabilized" granular fast dissolving material with 35% available chlorine and a Ph of 2 to 3. It is not generally available in all parts of the country and is used primarily as a shock treatment. Most stores do not carry this type of chlorine due to its high cost.

    Sodium Dichlor is a "Stabilized" granular chlorine with 56% to 62% available chlorine and a Ph of 7. It is highly resistant to sunlight and heat, thus remaining in water much longer that the previously mentioned chlorine. It can be hand fed as a shock or granular.

    Sodium Trichlor is a "Stabilized" tablet or stick form of chlorine with 90% available chlorine and has a Ph of 2 or 3. It is usually fed by means of a floatingchlorinator or a by-pass type erosion feeder connected to the return lines of the filter system. It is a chlorine that is resistant to sunlight and has a relatively long life in the pool water.
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