Pine Tree Water Filter / No E. coli
You will find hundreds if not thousands of DIY water filter articles on the internet. Most require modern materials. This website is dedicated to living after the SHTF and modern materials are in short supply or are no longer available. You do want to survive long-term, right?
The water filter I am about to describe isn't so much a water filter with a set list of materials. Instead, it is a concept that I want you to understand so that you can improvise and build your own in whatever fashion suits you.
This water filter to me is somewhat of the ultimate water filter. Why? Because this water filter isn't like most on the internet that will only give you water that looks good enough to drink but probably isn't. This water filter can remove up to 99% of E. coli bacteria are even more if you use multiple water filters in series.
Okay, let's get down to the particulars. This all natural pine tree water filter as I call it uses a simple piece of wood as the filter. A small branch of a tree is used as the filter. That is it. It works because a small branch on a tree is a natural filter that is grown by the tree with the purpose of transporting water and nutrients to the leaves of the tree. We can use the complicated design to our advantage and it isn't even important to know what is going on at the cellular level to get it to work.
If there is one drawback to this concept it is that it doesn't produce water fast. Not a big deal though when you are trying to make a life like the old timers did and aren't in a survival situation where your plane just crashed in the woods. It is important to use the wood from small branches and not try to scale up the model to huge size wood diameters to try to make the drinking water faster. To scale up the concept you will want to use multiple filters or a container with multiple pine branch filter outlets.
The reason for using small branches is that they contain a much height percentage of sapwood / xylem tissue in cross-section that a bigger branch would have.
To make your own filter you will need a container to hold your water. The taller the container the more pressure it will have at the bottom and the faster you will get water from it. The container can be anything you desire. A plastic bucket, a long length of tygon tubing or an all natural clay pot that you fabricate just for this purpose. The clay pot is my favorite actually.
Whichever container you choose you will need to cut/drill/fab a small hole the size of your pinky finger or maybe a little smaller. I prefer to have multiple holes that will each contain their own wood branch filter. Build yours with 10 to 20 or even more if you like.
To get your filters just cut a small pine branch of the appropriate size. Strip off the outer bark and force into the hole. The plug ideally should be very slightly tapered. Meaning bigger on one end. This will almost always be the case even if you tried to make yours untapered. Push the wook into the hole and it should fit very snugly so that water isn't able to seep around the outside of the branch and allow unfiltered water to pass through.
Now simply fill your container with rain water or river water etc. and begin collecting drinking water below in a bowl, glass or cup. If you Like you can pass your water through multiple filters to ensure and even purer end product.
The MIT team that discovered this filter used pine. They indicated that other species would likely produce even better filtration. Just be careful if experimenting that you don't use a species that could add poisons to the water or that could make it taste bad and make you sick.
You will need to replace the wood filter piece ever couple of days and you will need to wash out the container at the same time to remove any build up of debris or other nasties that have been filtered out.
The researchers at MIT found that the wood needs to be freshly cut and will filter out all sizes of bacteria. They also point out that viruses, which are smaller than bacteria, are too small to be filtered. Viruses pose a much smaller threat than bacteria. It is a good idea to use a crude filter if possible before using the pine tree water filter to remove some of the larger debris and detritus first. This might help with the speed of the pine tree filter.