Blog: The Gathering Place
by rudenski

Pond Bio-Filter

To support a small commumities pure water needs, a pond, a series of ponds or wetlands could be built to purify conatminated or polluted water. The following is a Do it yourself Bio Filter plan.

Date:   3/3/2006 9:41:30 PM   ( 14 y ) ... viewed 8508 times

It will probably take us three weeks to get through this but if you have a fishpond or are thinking about putting one in we think it will be worth it.
First you need to figure out how big of a filter you will need. We took the following tips from Moorehaven Water Gardens.
Size your pump so the entire pond volume will pass through the bio filter once every two to three hours.
The ideal rate of filtration is 1/2 gallon of water per minute per square foot of filter bed. If your filtration is too fast it will result in insufficient exposure time to the bacteria. That's right, it's the bacteria that makes the bio filter work.
To calculate the size of your filter, figure the pond volume in gallons (width x length x depth x H1) and divided by 60 (minutes). This equals the square footage of your filter bed. The bigger the better, if you have room. Remember that this is the TOTAL area of filter material when you put it in your system it will be cut up or rolled up.
To size your tank figure the filter for 1/2 of the tank, in the middle. Then 1/4 of the tank will be for silt on the bottom and 1/4 of it will be for the top.

The second step is getting together all the material and planning the project. Since projects vary by size I'll tell you what I got and you can go from there.

3/4" PVC Pipe (2)
2" PVC Pipe (1)
1" PVC Pipe (1)
2" 90 Degree Elbows (2)
2" Male Adapter, for 1/2 of bulkhead adapter
2" Female Adapter, for 1/2 of bulkhead adapter
1" Male Adapter, (2), for 1/2 of bulkhead adapters
1" Female Adapter, (2), for 1/2 of bulkhead adapters
1" 90 Degree Elbows (1)
1" PVC Pipe to Garden Hose Fitting (2)
3/4" 90 Degree Elbows (8), for supports
3/4" Kris Cross Fitting (2), for supports
44 Gallon Rubbermaid Trash Can
Egg Crate Louver from overhead fluorescent light fixture, for supports
Washable/Reusable Furnace Filters (10)
Water Pump sized per the above instructions
Small Rubbermaid Roughtote to house the pump
3/4" PVC fittings to get from the pump to a garden hose on the outside of the box.
This may take some standing in front of the PVC pipe fitting isle at the hardware store but take your time and try things before you buy.
Next week we'll start putting everything together.

Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5

If you know of a less complex plan for a small commumities clean water needs, please repond to this post.

This solar still was interesting for small amounts of water in an emergency
Collect Water in a Solar Still
Text and Photos
By Gregory T. Jones

There was the man in tattered clothing, his body sweaty, his swollen eyes squinting over miles of sand. Cattle skulls and scorpions scattered the ground while vultures circled overhead awaiting their imminent feast. In a futile last glance, he held himself up with shaking arms. Then his head cocked to the side like a confused dog -- could it really be? Buried in the waves of heat rising from the sand, a small grove of palm trees rose far in the distance. Struggling to balance himself, he broke into a clumsy run. A gaping smile emerged from his cracked lips- Then, just before a commercial break for the latest soft drink, the leathery victim either did the backstroke in a spring-fed pool of water or collapsed in the wake of a mirage.

Being a transplant from the Midwest to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, I grew up with Hollywood's distorted images of the Desert Southwest. However, the reality of not having water in the true desert can be equally or dangerously more life-threatening. The chance of falling upon a desert oasis or spring is extremely unlikely, and the possibility of finding a contaminated water source, such as mineral springs poisoned with arsenic, only decreases the chance for survival.

Even apparently healthy water sources can contain infectious organisms like Guardia, causing humans to become ill and lose more bodily fluids. In 100+ degree desert temperatures, a person can hope to survive only 3 days without water. During this time, the person can expect the quality of their days to steadily decline. Dehydration strikes quickly and overwhelms the mind with irrationality. Physically, depletion of the body's fluids causes the volume of blood to decrease. Blood vessels then constrict because there is not enough blood to keep them expanded. Nausea, headaches, muscle cramps and dizziness quickly follow.

Emergency Survival Tool
Fortunately, there is an emergency survival technique for gathering water from our driest deserts during their most brutal seasons. It is commonly known as the Solar Still. One of the most significant survival tools created in the last 40 years. the Solar Still was developed by two physicians working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Results of extensive testing in the Arizona deserts by the U.S. Air Force proved that when properly assembled, the still can save your life.

The Solar Still functions under the general principle of the "greenhouse effect". Solar energy heats the ground by passing through a clear plastic barrier. Moisture from the soil then evaporates, rises and condenses on the underside of the plastic barrier above.

The still also has the ability to purify tainted water. In fact, it condenses pure water from just about anything. Even urine will produce clean, drinkable water. (CAUTION: One fluid never to be used is radiator fluid, as its toxins will vaporize and poison the water.)

There are only 2 essential components to constructing the Solar Still -- a container to catch the water and a 6 x 6-footsheet of clear plastic. A shovel or trowel, a length of plastic tube and tape are all optional.

The container can be a collapsible cup, an empty plastic bottle, a small cooking pot or just about anything with a large enough opening to catch falling drops of water. In a pinch, even tin foil or a sandwich bag can be fashioned into a workable receptacle.

The sheet of clear plastic can be a ground cloth used under tents when backpacking or a thin painting drop cloth. Both work well as long as there are no tears or holes. This is the one item that should be carried at all times, since there is no natural substitute out in the boonies. I keep a 6 x 12-foot plastic drop cloth taped inside my daypack, large enough to make 2 stills if necessary. Some desert rats like to keep their plastic sheets folded inside a hip sack or as part of their first-aid kits.

A 6-foot length of flexible plastic tubing, similar to the kind used in fish tanks is a non-essential but desirable addition to the still components. This will allow you to drink accumulated water without needing to break down the solar still, inevitably affecting its efficiency.

The best part of this life-saving device is that for something that collects water from seemingly nothing, the solar still is amazingly simple to build. Here's how:

1. Dig a pit approximately 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep. Use a shovel, hand trowel, a digging stick or even your hands in soft soil or sand. Look for a sandy wash or a depression where rainwater might collect.

2. . In the center of the pit, dig another small hole deep enough for the water container.

3. Place the container inside, then run the tubing from the container to the outside of the pit. If there is tape available, tape the tubing to the inside of the container.

4. Blanket the pit with the plastic sheet, evenly on all sides, but not touching the bottom of the pit. Anchor the corners with rocks.

5. Find a small rounded rock to place in the center of the sheet, over the water container. This will keep the plastic centered and control any flapping from the wind. Gently push down on the center weight until the sides slope to a 45º angle. If the pit is dug deep enough, this should leave the center weight just a few inches above the water container.

6. Next, secure the edges of the plastic sheet with rocks and dirt. Make sure there are no places where moisture can escape.

7. Close the tubing end with a knot, or double it and tie it closed.

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