How to Clean Up Dirty Water to Make Clean Drinking Water

Water sources that may appear clean can still be contaminated.
Water sources that may appear clean can still be contaminated. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Clean water is the greatest necessity to human life. A human can survive only a short period of time without water. Dirty water can cause serious illness or death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis, giardia, which is a gastric illness-producing microorganism, and copper are present in certain water samples. Private wells are also a significant source of water contamination. When traveling, water quality may vary. Treat any suspect water as contaminated.

Things You'll Need

  • kettle
  • lighter
  • wood
  • canteen

Inspect the water source. Follow any posted warnings.

Fill the canteen with water. Transfer water into the kettle.

Gather wood. Place the wood in pile and ignite it with the lighter.

Hold the kettle above the campfire. Wait for the water to begin boiling, then allow it to boil for one minute.

Extinguish the campfire. Wait for the water to cool.

Tips & Warnings

  • The same technique can be used at home or whenever the quality of drinking water is in doubt. The same technique can also be used on any grill. Be careful that campfires are completely extinguished before leaving. Place the kettle on a grate or other non-flammable surface.
  • Make sure to start your fire in a designated fire pit. Check on local requirements for campfires.

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