Boil water for how long?

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by Fixer, May 5, 2012.

  1. Fixer

    Fixer New Member

    154
    0
    0
    I am one who believes once you hit 212 degrees, a rolling boil, all organic and microbial organisms are inactive (dead). The only spores that will "cocoon" themselves and re-activate after cooling are not a health issue.

    Yes, water boils at lower temperatures the higher you go in elevation http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Calib-boil.html, but at those higher altitudes the health hazards in water also decreases...or so I am told.

    So thats what I would like to hear about... Do any of you have knowledge about bio-hazards at higher altitudes?
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  2. mountainman13

    mountainman13 New Member

    11,488
    0
    0
    You mean like chemical agents etc that boiling doesn't get rid of?
     

  3. Fixer

    Fixer New Member

    154
    0
    0
    No, atleast i don't think so, but that info would be good as well. I am wondering what dangerious bugs are in water or COULD be in snow found at high altitude.

    If I am on a 10,000 ft mountain. I boil a pot of water and that boil happens at only 190 degrees, NOT 212. What microbial organism is found at 10,000 ft? Are they dangerious to ingest?

    I guess guys from Denver should know this since they live up past 6000 ft. Can you just scoop up some snow, melt it and drink..or do you recommend boiling for X amount of time (and why). Lets say chemical treatments are not available.
     
  4. TimL2952

    TimL2952 New Member

    1,354
    0
    0
    The rule is at sea level, once the water is boiling, you should be fine. In unfamiliar areas where you are not sure, 3-5 minutes.

    also, don't eat snow, it will further hypothermia and frost bite. Parasite/Organisms DO live in snow.

    I'm no biologist but I'm willing to bet that any organism that can live in water, snow, ice at sea level can live way up in the mountains. ESPECIALLY if there is a human population.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  5. Jimmy

    Jimmy New Member

    134
    0
    0
    Here is some reading for you.

    The correct amount of time to boil water is 0 minutes. Thats right, zero minutes.

    “According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude.”

    Source: http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/manual/water.shtml

    “What is not well known is that contaminated water can be pasteurized at temperatures well below boiling, as can milk, which is commonly pasteurized at 71°C (160°F)…”.

    Source: http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Water_pasteurization.

    What is not well known is that contaminated water can be pasteurized at temperatures well below boiling

    The fact is, with a water temperature of 160 to 165 degrees F (74 C) it takes just half an hour for all disease causing organisms to be inactivated. At 185 degrees this is cut to just a few minutes. By the time water hits its boiling point of 212 F (100 C) – plus or minus depending upon pressure or altitude – the water is safe. Even at high altitudes the time it takes for the water to reach a rolling boil and then cool means you can safely drink it.

    Lacking a thermometer to measure water temperature, you only need to get your water to a rolling boil. By that point you know the water is hot enough and that the disease organisms in your water were destroyed quite some time earlier. End of story, turn off the heat. Stop wasting fuel. Let the water cool down. Your water is safe to drink!


    Jimmy
     
  6. Birchhatchery

    Birchhatchery New Member

    393
    0
    0
    so in other words a person could get water from any source creek pond river boil it an it be dirnkable with no health hazords?
     
  7. Shoobee

    Shoobee New Member

    2,007
    1
    0
    Don't confuse this with cooking food though. If there is a toxin buildup in a can of food, then you need to deactivate the toxin also, not just kill the microbes.

    Ergo for food the boiling time is 10 mins or longer in order to clear the toxins as well.

    But in plain water there would likely be no toxins. Toxins are normally only produced under oxygen-free pressurized conditions such as in canning or bottling.

    I know, food was not your question. But it is easy to falsely analogize from boiling plain water to cooking canned or bottled foods.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  8. Shoobee

    Shoobee New Member

    2,007
    1
    0
    These days, most backpackers and hikers use convenient small portable filters to purify water, rather than taking the time to boil water.

    If you don't have a filter, and you can start a fire, and you have something to put the water into, then boiling is your next best bet.

    Better than both, is to find the source of a percolating spring. At that point the water is normally not contaminated with any microbes.
     
  9. Shoobee

    Shoobee New Member

    2,007
    1
    0
    If the water is somehow contaminated with chemicals, no amount of boiling short of industrial distillation is going to detoxify the water.
     
  10. Jeepergeo

    Jeepergeo New Member

    394
    0
    0
    Anywhere people or animals have gone, there is a chance for biological or organic contamination. It only takes a little contamination to mess you up, and there is no visual test to tell the difference between safe and likely safe water. So unless it comes from a municipal tap, you take a risk if you don't treat the water.

    Boiling is effective for biological contaminants, but not organics like pesticides. At altitude, 5 minutes is a common recommendation.

    Mixed oxidant is effective on biological contaminants but not organics, but needs sufficient contact time, usually 30 minutes. MiOx is best, but chlorine will work well in a pinch.

    Filters work pretty well on organics, but may miss biologicals like virus. MSR makes a filter and includes MiOx drops to knock off the biologicals...a nice combination.
     
  11. Shoobee

    Shoobee New Member

    2,007
    1
    0
    A filter would not stop a virus, correct.

    But viruses normally need to be spread by blood to open cut transmission (the origin of AIDS from monkeys to monkey hunters), or person to person (the common influenze virus), or animal to person (in China where the influenza viruses get their start).

    Viruses cannot survive in water alone.
     
  12. mcb

    mcb New Member

    534
    0
    0
    Most organisms grow and thrive in the temperature range between 40-140 degrees. 165 degrees kills just about everything. By the time you get to a rolling boil everything is dead.

    A post above mentions boiling canned goods for 10 minutes. This applies to home canned goods. If the can or jar is not properly sanitized prior to canning, it is prime for botulism. It is the toxin not the bacteria that makes you sick. It grows in a non oxygen environment. This us why its a good idea to throw away bulging or dented canned goods.
     
  13. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    9,541
    140
    63
    And dont melt yellow snow.
     
  14. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    20,110
    12
    38
    http://www.doh.wa.gov/phepr/handbook/purify.htm

    its wise to always include a gallon of bleach in your survival gear. if you cant get a fire going or dont have a container capable of boiling water bleach is an excellent substitute
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  15. tCan

    tCan Active Member

    1,174
    0
    36
    By the time you get to 185 degrees, it's safe.
     
  16. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,338
    197
    63
    Have drunk from glaciers, rivers, streams, swamps, mud puddles, and rice paddies (when real thirsty, hold nose, drink)

    Do not assume that altitude has removed ALL biohazards. Birds fly higher than you are. Have been at 14000 feet and looked up at birds.

    Yes, getting water to a boil kills biohazards. Chemical additives such as chlorine or hyper iodide kills MANY of the biohazards- but some it takes time to kill (Giardia, liver flukes). I use a PUR Katadyn filter good for 0.3 microns, keep iodine tabs with canteen JIC.

    CHEMICAL contamination is another matter.

    Of course, there is the old school additive for purification.........

    rum.jpg
     
  17. Shoobee

    Shoobee New Member

    2,007
    1
    0


    C3 you are definitely a manly man. Nice beverage list.

    I cannot drink that rot-gut on backpack trips however.

    I therefore normally plan my backpack trips around natural springs.

    And for hikes I bring my water (usually Gatoraide actually) with me.
     
  18. Mosin

    Mosin Well-Known Member

    7,369
    167
    63
    Ive never encountered a situation where the water was so scarce that I couldn't boil it for long periods. I boil for 10-15 minutes.
     
  19. Shoobee

    Shoobee New Member

    2,007
    1
    0
    I have.

    Whenever I go to Cozumel or Cancun or LaPaz or Cabo, I only drink Corona's. No time to boil anything then. And dare not drink the water.
     
  20. Mosin

    Mosin Well-Known Member

    7,369
    167
    63
    Yeah, okay. I give you that. I was in Rosarito and only drank Pacifico.:D