Adirondack Forum  
Rules Membership Donations and Online Store Adkhighpeaks Foundation ADKhighpeaks Forums ADKhighpeaks Wiki Disclaimer

Go Back   Adirondack Forum > The Adirondack Forum > Hiking in the Adirondacks
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-02-2018, 10:10 AM   #1
MrKawfey
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 164
Water Filtration

interesting read. It's an old topic but still one that deserves more study.

https://slate.com/technology/2018/02...necessary.html

One thing I'm not clear on: We are always warned about "toilet" hygiene and the risk of hand-to-mouth contamination, but how is it possible to infect yourself? If Giardia were present when you relieve yourself, wouldn't you already be infected?
MrKawfey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 10:28 AM   #2
cuterocky
Kalie
 
cuterocky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKawfey View Post
One thing I'm not clear on: We are always warned about "toilet" hygiene and the risk of hand-to-mouth contamination, but how is it possible to infect yourself? If Giardia were present when you relieve yourself, wouldn't you already be infected?
Your theory makes sense if you are out by yourself and not touching anything that would come in contact with anyone else (ex. register, lean-to journal, etc). But if you are out with other or in areas other people also use, you should be aware of toilet hygiene to prevent infecting others.

As for the article, I do believe there is probably a low risk of contacting something, especially out in the Adirondacks. (Note, I mostly stay away from the High Peaks region). I am aware of at least 1 person who doesn't filter their water but they do make sure they are picking good water sources. That's probably a good way to avoid picking up anything.

You can call me lazy, but I've never gone out of my way to pick a good water source. It's easier to just pick whatever water looks half decent and run it through my $30 3oz filter. Obviously I'll try to avoid a mucky, murky puddle but I could even filter water from there if worse came to worse.
__________________
CL50 #506
ADK 11/46

I Should Go Hiking...
cuterocky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 11:18 AM   #3
TCD
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,679
Me too. If I'm going to need to get water, I just carry the filter.

Sure, a "minority" of sources are contaminated. But for your health, "most of the time" isn't good enough. All our food and meds are held to a VERY high standard. Probably less than 0.1% of that stuff has anything in it that will end up making you sick. So today most people probably should not settle for sources where the best we can say is that only a "minority" is contaminated.

Camp hygiene is also certainly a big issue, as has been shown in studies. Regarding whether you can make yourself sick if you are out alone, I am not sure on that one. I think I would wait for someone with more knowledge. I'm not sure that the bacteria that are in the "downhill end" of your digestive system are OK to put into the "uphill end."

(Good topic. Very sad that the racists at Slate managed to make even this completely innocent topic into a racial issue. What the hell is the matter with those people?)
TCD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 11:42 AM   #4
dundee
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,543
Funny, I've read that most water sources that are near where people are have giardia in them. I guess it depends on what article you read. I filter most of my water. A decent filter isn't that expensive and it takes only a few minutes. But I'm white, so what do I know?
dundee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 01:14 PM   #5
MrKawfey
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 164
The "cheap insurance" logic can't really be argued with. But I do wish we had a more data/evidence/fact based understanding of the risks. 2 years ago I switched from a pump style filter to the Platypus gravity filter (slightly lower weight and less work). When I was looking at replacements for the pump filter I was surprised at how little consensus there was on the required level of filtration.

This led to other questions, such as: "If this filter only removes X and I'm not protected from Y, then what's the point of having the filter?" "Which threat am I really in danger from?"

It also bothers me when I read survival information that warns against drinking water without treating it because the possibility that subsequent diarrhea would make you even more dehydrated. Behind shelter, water is the next most important need in a survival situation. Are we giving people bad advice based on a miniscule % chance of infection?

Shouldn't we be basing this advice on actual evidence?

For now I intend to keep filtering as I gaze at the beautiful lake, in which I just swam, with all my mucous membranes completely submerged in extended contact with whatever is lurking in the foul depths of the water!
MrKawfey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 01:24 PM   #6
TCD
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,679
Good questions. And there is an ongoing controversy about filtration, as detailed in the 46er magazine recently. I err on the side of caution.

As far as survival situations in the Adirondacks, I say - drink the water. It's a timing issue. Giardisis takes a week or so to develop symptoms after exposure. You will rarely be stuck out there for more than a week, unless you made several mistakes. And if you made enough mistakes to be stuck for more than a week, you will have lot's of additional problems that may be worse than being sick.
TCD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 02:17 PM   #7
Trail Boss
Member
 
Trail Boss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 900
Quote:
Giardisis takes a week or so to develop symptoms after exposure
This. +1

In a survival situation, you need to stay hydrated. Three days without water and you'll be in dire straits. Stay hydrated to survive and worry about the consequences of drinking untreated water once you're back to civilization (and medical assistance).

For hiking, you're better off taking simple precautions than suffering the consequences. Yes, it's possible to minimize the risks by knowing something about the source of the water. Downstream from popular trails and campsites is risky due to sloppy hygiene. However, even so-called pristine waters from streams in remote areas can be contaminated by fecal matter. You're just playing the odds.

Best anecdote I read was a fellow who traveled in Canada's far north, in a desolate area devoid of people. He still chose to boil the water he drew from a stream. Afterwards, he wandered upstream and discovered the rotting, half-submerged carcass of a moose. Yum.

During a bushwhack in the Sentinels, Neil and I found lots of moose scat. There was one pile located in a dry stream bed. The next downpour would flush it into the water system. Playing the odds? Yeah, it's a 'crap shoot'.


Moose scat in a dry stream bed.
__________________
Looking for views!
Trail Boss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 02:33 PM   #8
montcalm
Mobster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 963
The risk is pretty low. I mean people used to drink from those moose poop infected streams all the time with no issue.

But that one time you get Giardia, you'll regret it.

How much does a water filter weigh? And how much do you like getting horribly sick for a week or more? Simple trade-off in my mind. It's like the flu shot.

If worse comes to worse, you ought be able to boil water. All I need is a match or a lighter and a metal vessel and I have no issues getting a fire going and processing some water in this area of the world. I tend to carry those things on my person when I'm out for more than a quick walk.
montcalm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 03:35 PM   #9
MrKawfey
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 164
I'd be curious to know what the probability of infection is compared to everyday life.
For example, lets say you compare a backpacker (with good hygiene who only drinks from clear fast flowing streams) to a typical person (average hygiene) in modern society who regularly needs to interact with other people of questionable hygiene.

Not making an argument for not filtering water, just a curiosity. Do we have enough data to even draw a conclusion?

Then the follow up question would be: Is there any practical value in knowing the answer?

If the risk was equal, would it change your buying habits? Is there something you could or would do differently in the backcountry? If everyone realized the risk was no worse than at home, would we all look sideways at people who filter water, the way we do for germ-a-phobes and obsessive hand washers?
MrKawfey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 05:25 PM   #10
montcalm
Mobster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 963
I really don't know what started the whole craze. It wasn't that long ago that people didn't filter water, like my father's generation. I don't think they were obsessive boilers either but I don't know for sure. Pretty sure people just didn't worry about it.

Guessing there must have been some outbreak, or some mass marketing by those that created the water filters, or a bit of both, but I don't know. It seems even those who lived through the transition have no idea.

When I started backpacking, it was just something you did, I suppose because they said you should in Backpacker magazine. But at the same time we just washed our pots in streams without soap, so I'm not sure we were really avoiding any risk.

I only have one data point of a person who doesn't filter water, and it's likely the same person who was mentioned earlier, and as far as I know, he's never been sick. He probably wouldn't continue the practice if he had been. Only drinking from sources that "look" good is said to be not a good practice, but it's worked for him. Ideally if you can find a spring, you have little to worry about, but not everyone is going to go hunting and digging up springs. With a filter, I just dunk into any lake, stream or puddle without a second thought. Often when canoe camping, the water you were just paddling on is the easiest source. But that is probably the most susceptible to pollution seen as how a large portion of those clear streams, and peoples lawns, etc are running off into it. There are certain lakes I would not drink from, but mostly due to algae, not any worry of Giardia. It's the smell and taste.
montcalm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 05:30 PM   #11
dundee
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,543
Quote:
Originally Posted by montcalm View Post

Guessing there must have been some outbreak, or some mass marketing by those that created the water filters, or a bit of both, but I don't know. It seems even those who lived through the transition have no idea.
From what I've read, when Giardia first came to the ADKs, backpackers and their dogs (the biggest spreader of Giardia) brought it from Mexico (it's Montezuma's Revenge) to the western US. From there it spread east. Hiking is big these days with people traveling all over.
dundee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 05:56 PM   #12
Wldrns
Member
 
Wldrns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,816
I'm a staff instructor (for 25+ years) for a BSA trek leader/wilderness guide training school. We have always taught our guide students to treat water with one of the 3 safe methods (chemical, boil, or filter). Certainly there could be a liability issue for BSA if anything went wrong with our instruction and the trek leader's safe application in the wilderness with youth. We've used PolarPure (iodine treatment) for years, which long ago became and remains my own personal favorite goto method.
Having said that, I had often paddled with one of the old time 1979 originators of the training program who always simply dipped his cup in the water for a drink, but he was careful to only do that in large lakes well away from shore. He had never been known to get sick from the practice.
__________________
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
Wldrns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 06:21 PM   #13
Trail Boss
Member
 
Trail Boss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 900
Quote:
Originally Posted by montcalm View Post
... I mean people used to drink from those moose poop infected streams all the time with no issue. ...
... this is based on what peer-reviewed study?

Quote:
Originally Posted by montcalm View Post
I really don't know what started the whole craze.
A "craze"? What, like the Emerald Ash Borers craze?

Like many so-called "new" things, they're just old things but from somewhere else on the planet. Or something old that mutates and evolves into something new (and deadly to humans).

Quote:
It wasn't that long ago that people didn't filter water, like my father's generation. I don't think they were obsessive boilers either but I don't know for sure. Pretty sure people just didn't worry about it.
There's something to be said for developing a tolerance to 'local bugs' but those bugs can and do evolve into new strains. What was benign a human generation ago, has had time to potentially mutate over a bajillion of its own generations into something that would sicken or kill grandpa (even if he could magically revert to the vigor of his youth). Life around us doesn't remain static and, in its quest to survive and thrive, can become a threat to human health.

Or it just gets transported from elsewhere and becomes (from our perspective) an 'invasive species'. Hanta virus used to be something rodents carried in southern climes but is now present in northern (US) areas. How did it get here? Migrating mice or infected ones accidentally, or unknowingly, transported north? Whichever way, Hanta is here and, although one shouldn't lose sleep over it, being aware of it (and how you contract it) can be handy.
__________________
Looking for views!
Trail Boss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 06:38 PM   #14
montcalm
Mobster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
... this is based on what peer-reviewed study?
No study - just the way things were. Moose have always pooped in streams as long as they have been around and humans used to drink from said streams without filtration. You want some names... I dunno? Noah John Rondeau? Verplank Colvin? Theodore Roosevelt?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
A "craze"? What, like the Emerald Ash Borers craze?
Yeah - you know, the "beaver fever" craze! That's what we were always told. It's the beavers... And don't eat the yellow snow... who knows how these things get passed along?
montcalm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 06:38 PM   #15
Woodly
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SNY
Posts: 146
Traveling humans moved/carried most of the so called 'bugs' around and still do, think giardia [and many others],...but also animals which may or may not be infected but just carriers move it and poop it out...as in the photo above, right in the stream, beavers are another example.
A doctor recently told me that, immigrants are bringing all kinds of things to our country and many of us aren't immune when they are'. Sounds prejudicial except when you consider he is an immigrant and was talking professionally.
Most wild water I drank in years of back country hiking I tried to get running off a mossy cliff and often it was strained. I never was ill but any other water I treated or boiled.
Why take a chance?
Woodly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 06:49 PM   #16
Woodly
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SNY
Posts: 146
Montcalm, you may be right in some of what you just posted, but I'm pretty sure when Noah and others like him drank wild water Giardia wasn't here as, wasn't it brought over from Asia in the 50s/60s from mountain climbers who weren't to discreet in their toilet habits?
It was from the 'new diseases' brought in that better sanitary habits around our waterways were developed from need.
I recall all too many times just open excrement and tp on the trails, next to the streams and worse. [over flowing out houses, etc,].
Even nowadays when folks know better they often continue to do their business on the trail or next a leanto, especially in winter and it wasn't 5 years ago I climbed East and S. Dix and there was truly 100s of piles of crap on each summit and it looked like a bus had stopped on each and everyone got off and took a dump. It was one of the most disgusting things I ever saw...and all that ran down hill when it rained.
3 summers ago I stopped at the Nippletop/Colvin jct and couldn't believe the mess or the smell. I never did understand how someone could go hiking for miles and then be so lazy to crap on the trail.

Last edited by Woodly; 02-02-2018 at 06:51 PM.. Reason: additional
Woodly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 07:07 PM   #17
montcalm
Mobster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 963
I get that, I was just joking around... I think the moose poop, although not very appetizing, is probably not gonna make you sick.

As was stated earlier, humans brought it, and now humans and dogs are probably the most probable vectors.
montcalm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 07:41 PM   #18
Woodly
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SNY
Posts: 146
LOL, You likely are right on the moose poop, someone somewhere is probably making tea with it! Sick thought but probably true
Woodly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 07:56 PM   #19
dundee
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,543
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodly View Post
...Giardia wasn't here as, wasn't it brought over from Asia in the 50s/60s from mountain climbers who weren't to discreet in their toilet habits?
No, from Mexico. It's Montezuma's Revenge.
dundee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2018, 08:24 PM   #20
Woodly
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SNY
Posts: 146
Probably from everywhere and Mexico, after reading a couple articles on Wikipedia and elsewhere.
Fortunately I've never had it and I hope none of you get it.
Woodly is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

DISCLAIMER: Use of these forums, and information found herein, is at your own risk. Use of this site by members and non-members alike is only granted by the adkhighpeak.com administration provided the terms and conditions found in the FULL DISCLAIMER have been read. Continued use of this site implies that you have read, understood and agree to the terms and conditions of this site. Any questions can be directed to the Administrator of this site.