PC question I’ve always wondered about

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RonRC

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The quality of your well water depends on the where the water recharging the well comes from, the geological mineral characteristics surrounding the water, and many other characteristics. A shallow aquifer just north of Denver, CO was fed from cattle ranches on the surface. Nitrates were exceedingly high. In the Front Range Mountains west of Denver, natural uranium deposits resulted in very high levels of radon, making the water unusable. Each long term use groundwater source of water is unique and should be tested. However, a quick drink now and then from mountain spring likely won't do you harm.
I have had giardia and para-typhoid after being exposed to contaminated water. You really don't want to experience these diseases. They are no fun at all!
 

Zonie

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...

Each long term use groundwater source of water is unique and should be tested. However, a quick drink now and then from mountain spring likely won't do you harm...
Well, there's springs and then there are springs.

A long time ago I was quail hunting in the desert north of Phoenix.
It had rained a few days before I went out and as is often the case it was very hot and muggy.

After walking for a few miles I was very thirsty and I had forgotten to bring my canteen with me but "low and behold", there in front of me was water running out of a spring on the side of a very low hill. :)
Getting down on my hands and knees I must have drank several cupfuls of that wonderful water. It tasted good and ended my thirst nicely.

Feeling better I decided to move up on that hill to see if the water had brought in any quail to it.

When I reached the top I saw spread out in front of me a very large flat area with a few puddles, several range cattle and piles of cow dung everywhere! :eek:

That "spring" was draining that whole area.:eek::eek:o_O

Nothing bad ever came from my drinking the water but it did teach me to always investigate the area above a spring before drinking from it.
 

davidmc62

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Had a similar experience when I was younger. I and a group of fellows..and a few young ladies went hiking down the river bank from our cabin site on the Colorado River in San Saba Co. TX. We spent the day carousing in Gorman Falls cave on the river bank. When we were set to return, we were quite muddy. There was a large free flowing waterfall coming off the bluff close to the cave, well we took the opportunity to "clean up" before we got back up the trail toward our cabins.
Along with our shower, enough water was ingested by those who partook and as luck would have it, most of those fellows including myself, ended up sick and a few actually in hospital from giardia.
The one thing that always sticks in my head from then on is "never drink downstream from the herd" Never can be too careful.
 

Black Hand

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Had a similar experience when I was younger. I and a group of fellows..and a few young ladies went hiking down the river bank from our cabin site on the Colorado River in San Saba Co. TX. We spent the day carousing in Gorman Falls cave on the river bank. When we were set to return, we were quite muddy. There was a large free flowing waterfall coming off the bluff close to the cave, well we took the opportunity to "clean up" before we got back up the trail toward our cabins.
Along with our shower, enough water was ingested by those who partook and as luck would have it, most of those fellows including myself, ended up sick and a few actually in hospital from giardia.
The one thing that always sticks in my head from then on is "never drink downstream from the herd" Never can be too careful.
You might get away with it once, a few times or always. The potential consequences just aren't worth it to me...
 

Artificer

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Traveler's diarrhea, caused by Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC).
People with blood type A are more susecptable than types B or O. The bacteria release a protein that attaches to intestinal cells in people with blood type A, but not in people with other blood types. The protein allow the bacteria to attach itself to the intestinal walls making it easier to deliver the toxin that causes the diarrhea.
GREAT Information. Thank you. Unfortunately I'm Blood Type A Pos, but I never drank from springs, ponds, lakes, rivers, etc. Probably a good thing I didn't. I did drink from hand pump farm wells, but never got anything from that.

I was a real stickler about taking and ensuring my Marines took Malaria pills where needed, though. In Somalia, too many of the younger Marines would not take them every morning. So at the morning meetings, I required everyone to bring their bottles of issued water and we all took our pills in formation. Glad to say none of my Marines came down with anything and that was one of the filthiest and most diseased areas in the world.

Gus
 

tenngun

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I spent six weeks playing Mountain Man between Lyman Fort Bridger area and Lander Wyoming. Drank just from creeks without any problem. A month travel from Grand Junction Co to Fort Bridger, again no trouble. Then hiked up in to the Bookends in Colorado/Utah got sicker then a dog. Only time I can remember trouble.
Skill is no match against dumb luck.
 

WRustyLane

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GREAT Information. Thank you. Unfortunately I'm Blood Type A Pos, but I never drank from springs, ponds, lakes, rivers, etc. Probably a good thing I didn't. I did drink from hand pump farm wells, but never got anything from that.

I was a real stickler about taking and ensuring my Marines took Malaria pills where needed, though. In Somalia, too many of the younger Marines would not take them every morning. So at the morning meetings, I required everyone to bring their bottles of issued water and we all took our pills in formation. Glad to say none of my Marines came down with anything and that was one of the filthiest and most diseased areas in the world.

Gus
Ohhh Rahhh, Jarhead. Semper Fi. I was a Vietnam Marine Sgt. Wouldn't want to go to Somalia for nuthin' in the world.
 

Artificer

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Semper Fi, Rusty,

I made Sergeant in 1972, probably a bit after you did. I wasn't old enough for the Nam, but did a short deployment destroying a base in Cambodia. I joke that with 26 years in the Corps, I learned if the name of a country ended in "ia," there is no reason to return or in fact, go there at all. ;)

Gus
 

WRustyLane

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I was told that Somalia was the butt hole of the world. I think so after seeing "Blackhawk Down" a couple of times. Never got into Cambodia but I had a few friends that went there during the Vietnam war. Ohhh Rahhh! Semper Fi.
 

David Veale

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Back when I was usually wandering in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, I was willing to drink water where the source (usually a melting snowfield) was immediately visible and clearly clean, but other than that it's pretty risky. A friend took a swig from a sparkling mountain stream tumbling down cliffs near Ross lake and developed giardia (he was falling asleep while tying his shoes and waking up hours later before he figured it was time to go to the doctor). One other time I remember *thinking* that a stream might be good to drink directly, shortly before I wandered up-stream to find a dead fawn rotting in the water. Dysentery was a big deal, and killed something like 95,000 soldiers during the civil war. Many other accounts of early frontier forts tell of nearly everyone being sick and/or dying long before any enemy showed up. Recently learned that the man who homesteaded and built my house had it during the civil war as well.
 

Loyalist Dave

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Historians who can account for specific forms of soldiers' deaths say that prior to WWI, the main killer of large armies on both sides was illness..., mostly from water borne illnesses, with some insect vectors too.... ;)

Here's an interesting PDF from The Lancet, Britain's medical journal on just this topic. https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(02)11807-1.pdf
SPOILER ALERT it sucked to be a soldier for Napoleon....

LD
 

45man

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My well is full of lime from the old quarry across the road. It is OK but lime on shower doors is a pain. I made a lot of beer and my water does not convert grain at all so I go down the road where a spring comes out of a hill and flows into the Potomac. I hear it is an underground river all the way from PA and you can scoop cups to drink. The land owners allow me to get water. It is beautiful with the stream going over a falls to a pond and then into the river.
In PA there was a spring out of a hill we drank from but a few years later it had detergent foam on it. It was 3 miles down the game lands and far from any houses but went bad.
Best to buy one of the new filters for any water.
 

David_B

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I should have researched this more than I have a long time ago. So the "Life Straw" I've been using is not protecting me from Giardia. Looks like my only practical options in the woods are boiling (if I have the time) or iodine, if I'm in a hurry (I realize that it actually takes an hour or so to work but I could be traveling while it kills). Are these the best options? Should it be called the "Death Straw"?
 

DaveC

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wood canten fits the look and were available (or made at home) back in the day.
Depends on where and when. Apparently such canteens were not common at all in Spanish North America. There were leather/ goat-skin water bottles or "bota bags" for water storage, bottle gourds, and apparently some small kegs for water storage, but not the stave or wood canteens so common in English North America. Certainly a cooper could build such a canteen out of wood, and these typified a lot of militia use, including on the frontier.

Twine or basketry-covered glass bottles or even leather covered would have been fairly easily contrived unless the glass bottle was repurposed for something else.
 

tenngun

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Did make a jackware canteen. Held half a gallon, it was light, didn’t notice a flavor, and it took me by surprise, I dropped it and it was as fragile as glass or pottery. Split from bottom to top.
 

shorthair

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Squint, I did the same in the 1950s and early 60s as a kid growing up on a farm. I also drank a lot of water water systems that came out of cisterns on farms that were homes to who knows what. Neighbor kids and I didn't seem to suffer any ills, but I've been gone from that environment for 50+ years and wouldn't do it today.
Same thing with me growing up on the farm I always thought that it was just what we were accustomed to doing.
 

sawyer04

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Same thing with me growing up on the farm I always thought that it was just what we were accustomed to doing.
Our immune systems were used to a little dirt back in the old days, not so much now. I live not far from a cemetery that was started on top of a hill because of a wagon train collecting water from a creek. I take it the water wasn't running at the time of collection, so the rumor goes.
 

Tanglefoot

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Lads,
A lot of us more "mature" folks drank from sources we wouldn't consider today. Of course, back in the dim darks,
we didn't have acid rain or industrial pollution that caused cancer to thrive. This child grew up on a side-hill farm, and we drew water from two natural springs that conveniently surfaced a little up-hill from the farmhouse. The water was cold and clear, but if you went up to the springs themselves you found floating twigs and leaves, bird leavings, tiny frogs, and minnows. My father kept tin cups at both spring holes. He would bend a green twig down and invert the cup
over it. The bend kept it from falling off, and the inversion
kept birds and such from leaving deposits in the cup. Come greenup, we'd go a-trout fishing and regularly drank from the creeks and ponds. Wouldn't even think of it today.
Out in the country near us was a place alongside a dirt road where the land owner had put in a pipe about 2 inches across to deliver spring water to the cut bank on the uphill side of the road. Folks from the city used to drive up there on outings to fill their jugs and kegs with
the fresh water.
If you've got to drink when you're out and about, try a couple tablespoons of Clorox per gallon, or boil it if you
can't get Halazone.
Dang it, now you've got me remembering back when.
Tanglefoot
 

Isiah1103

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If you've got to drink when you're out and about, try a couple tablespoons of Clorox per gallon,
"A couple of tablespoons" - good Lord, the recommended amount of Clorox per gallon of water is 1/4 teaspoon to purify it. 2 TBS might kill you.
 
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