Dec 11, 2013

Life in Africa, part 2

Life abroad often means preparing for living conditions that we usually don't encounter in the States.

One aspect of moving to Africa we had to prepare for was clean drinking water. We decided on The Outback Water Purification System by ESP Water Products. It wasn't cheap, but can you really put a price on safe drinking water for your family? After having amoebas and stomach yeast infections from non-filtered water, The Outback is money well spent I assure you.

Designed for disaster relief filtration in the field, I suppose technically it's a three stage filter system if you count the pre-filter net (catches leaves, sticks, bugs and other big things). The water then travels through a 0.5 micron sediment filter, then finally through the Multi-media Bacteriostatic Removal Cartridge... a 'makes-bad-water-good' filter.

The public water supply here in Cameroon can be quite dirty, with brown grit coming straight out of the tap, rapidly clogging our sediment filter. So I constructed a pre-sediment filter from a locally purchased bucket and 5 ceramic filter candles. The candles are advertised to work in and of themselves, but I'm not willing to risk my family's health on a two dollar filter. It strains the main sediment, is easily cleaned and cheaply replaced- good deal!

I then made a frame to support my new bucket-filter above my pre-filter net. A pre pre-filter? It was good to get back in the shop and work with wood too. Lacking good hardware I decided to take the longer route in construction methods, and although it took a bit longer, all joints are mortise and tenon. Therapy.


It takes a bit of time for water to travel through the ceramic candles, but as long as we keep an eye on the water level in my homemade bucket-filter, we never run out and always have crystal clear, great tasting, and safe, drinking water.

Interestingly I found not one single "testimonial" on ESP's website about the waters taste, but only about their great customer service. So I'll sing it's praises here, the water tastes great. We previously had Katadyn filters which have a definite aftertaste that we don't like. With The Outback, there is no aftertaste and that equals mmm-mmm good!

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