Are you interested to learn what does gravel do in a water filter?
The human body needs water to live and having it at close reach is truly a blessing. It is something many people take for granted since it is easy to switch on a faucet to get water there.
However, your faucet water may come from a source that is not necessarily suitable for drinking, so you need to filter it out to be able to drink from it.
Due to recent developments in water
filtration, families can easily have access to fresh water at an arm’s reach.
There are many types of water filters that families can use for their households and some are more effective than others.
But if you are one of those ingenious types that like to make things with your hands, you can create a DIY filtration system with gravel.
Why is it important to learn about water filtration?
Water is a vital requirement for all living things on planet Earth and without it, life will cease to exist.
It also comprises sixty percent of the human body and is necessary for crucial bodily functions like body temperature regulation, cleansing out toxins, and protecting the joints, spinal cord, and many tissues in the body.
Seventy-one percent of the surface of the Earth is composed of water. It is also essential for many applications like food processing, agriculture, transportation, science, and many more.
Without water, the human body cannot continue living and will soon die, which is why clean water is crucial for development and growth.
Due to scientific discoveries, it was found out that there many risks involved in drinking unfiltered and impure water. Planet Earth’s natural resources were degrading due to climate change, water pollution, overpopulation, and many other man-made catastrophes.
It necessitated the invention water filtration and purification system that made water potable.
The invention of tap water was deemed safe to drink for a time.
But it was discovered that there were also harmful pollutants that affected its quality. In addition, there were other microbiological, chemical, and physical contaminants coming from different water sources that make tap water not safe to drink.
Boiling water has been deemed a suitable solution to get rid of the impurities. But it was also discovered that even twenty minutes of boiling does not remove new kinds of chemicals and pesticides that worm their way towards water sources.
It is why learning about water filtration, in general, is essential for families that emphasize the importance of their water consumption.
Thus, water purification and filtration methods were invented to remove harmful bacteria, chemicals, and other contaminants in the water.
What does gravel do in a water filter?
Gravel is rock fragments and pebbles naturally situated in rivers, lakes, and ocean beds. The constant movement of the water impedes the gravel from settling and combining with other rock formations.
Sand is a finer form of gravel, why was worn down by ceaseless motion.
It was also discovered that gravel can be an effective filtration medium and keep back precipitates that contain contaminants and other sediments.
The size, angularity, and hardness of gravel are the essential features to prevent soil erosion and ensure proper filtration.
Why do you need a DIY gravel filtration system?
This particular type of filter is useful if you are in a survival situation, and you need clean water to drink, and the closest water source is a river, stream, or lake. You can use this technique with materials you can find nearby.
Other developing countries also utilize this kind of filtration system, but in a more elaborate method, which you would not do.
Instead, you will learn this simpler DIY method, which is still as effective in filtering out contaminants and sediments in the water.
It can also serve as a home project to educate your kids about the importance of clean water, which they can also do themselves.
What are the steps in using gravel as a DIY filtration system?
Aside from gravel, charcoal is the next most crucial material in this DIY filter.
Charcoal is created by burning wood, bamboo, or coconut shells. As they are burned, they are exposed to other gases, enabling them to be porous and can bind with other substances.
The use of charcoal in a water filter is like a magnet, thus attracting and entrapping impurities like dust, iron, chlorine, etc., in the water.
A good thing about charcoal as a filtration agent is it does not interact with essential minerals in the water and is retained.
Charcoal is a natural filter and purifier, and even if it is accidentally ingested in small amounts, no harm will happen in the body.
Here are the tools and materials you need
- One liter plastic water bottle (two pieces, empty)
- Fine sand (one and one-half cup)
- Coarse sand (one and one-half cup)
- Small pebbles or stones (one cup)
- A piece of cloth
- Charcoal in powder form or small bits
- Clean water (one and one-half liter)
- Unclean water (one and one-half liter)
- Rubber bands
- Utility knife
- Cotton balls or coffee filter
- Cut the plastic water bottle
The process starts with one empty plastic water bottle and cuts about one-half an inch from the bottom, going up.
Keep the bottleneck as a reference since it will be at the bottom of the filter, the half-inch slit on top, and keep on the bottle cap.
Others that utilize this filtration method will pierce a hole on the bottle cap with a sharp tool like a screwdriver, but for this instance, skip it.
- Use clothe as first filter layer
Get a piece of cloth as big as a bandana (or you can use it since it is a ready-made item). Stuff it through the slit and push it going to the bottleneck.
If you do not have access to a piece of cloth, you can use a coffee filter or a bunch of cotton balls.
- Rinse with water the materials for filtration
Before putting in all the materials used as filters in the empty water bottle, clean them thoroughly with water. It is a crucial step and makes sure they would not give off impurities, along with the water they are filtering out.
- Preparing the charcoal
Get another clothe piece and disperse the charcoal on it. You can take the used charcoal in a grill or fire pit, which will make an excellent filtering medium.
Break the charcoal into smaller pieces, and you can use a hammer or a large rock to smash them.
Once done, cover the pieces with the cloth and tie them. Slip it in the small opening and push it downwards to the neck of the bottle.
- Put in sand
At this stage, you will be building different layers of filters after putting in the charcoal layer. You will start with finer stuff and progressively become coarser.
The next is putting in the sand, preferably playground sand, due to its fine texture. Make sure to put it on top of the charcoal filter.
You do not have to enwrap it with cloth anymore before putting it in but make sure it is enough to cover the charcoal.
- Add coarser sand
The next filter layer is paver ort polymeric sand, which is coarser than playground sand.
Put it in the slit and make sure it entirely covers the previous finer sand.
- Put in gravel
The last two layers are made of gravel, and the first will be the finer one then the next is the coarser one.
You only need a few handfuls of gravel, about one or two inches of coverage, since it may not fit the small slit on the bottle.
- Make sure all the contents are secure
At this point, you have put in every filtering medium inside the water bottle, so you have to make sure everything is secure in place.
Get another piece of cloth and spread it at the bottom portion of the water bottle. Use a piece of wire, cable, string, or rubber band to bind everything together.
- Let the unclean water pass through
At this stage, you will be checking if what you have made will work. Put a cup underneath the bottle and pour water from the top.
Remove the bottle cap and wait for the water to course through the different filtering mediums and into the cup.
You now have properly filtered water to drink coming from the DIY water filter you have made.
What are the different types of water filters?
There are five kinds of filters that each treat a different water issue. Many filters combine two or more types to get a more comprehensive filtration system and better water to drink.
Each type of filter is limited in the removal of impurities, which is why many filtration systems combine two or more filters to attain a potable drinking level.
The role of water filters is to get rid of impurities in water like hardness, sediments, bacteria, etc. Some water sources even give off foul tastes and smells, which filters can remove.
Some filter types even make water taste better and are even used in making brewed coffee.
Since the DIY filter you have just learned to make uses carbon as one of its primary filtration media, it belongs to this filter type.
Absorption filters use carbon as their way of entrapping water-borne pollutants. Carbon has a massive inner surface that has many pockets for trapping chemical contaminants like chlorine.
Many water filters used in homes have GAC or granular activated carbon, which dilutes unpleasant odors and tastes by absorption.
Other more expensive filters have carbon blocks that are also effective in removing impurities.
The carbon used for filters comes from various substances like coconut shells or wood.
Mechanical filtration is a process that gets rid of dirt, sediments, or any other particles by utilizing a barrier.
It can be in a form of a mesh that filters out larger debris, or a ceramic filter that has fine filtration to remove disease-causing microorganisms.
Ion exchange filters
Ion exchange filters remove hard minerals in water and exchange them with hydrogen or sodium ions.
The process is done by utilizing an ion exchange resin in the form of small beads. These have sodium ions that need to be recharged regularly to make them useful still.
However, sodium ions are not mostly used in water filters for drinking due to their salt content. Ion exchange that uses hydrogen is the option preferred for drinking water filters.
Sequestration filters work by chemically isolating particular substances like calcium and magnesium, which are the causes of corrosion and limescale.
However, this type of filter is not suitable for all applications since most harmful minerals are not completely eradicated.
Reverse osmosis filters
Reverse osmosis filters work by getting rid of dissolved inorganic solids by letting them go through a semi-permeable membrane.
The process is done under pressure so that the water goes through the membrane, and most of the impurities remain.
The reverse osmosis works well in combination with other filtration methods like mechanical and absorption filters.
How long will your water filter last?
Store-bought water filters have a six to one-year lifespan. As they become clogged over time, they will lose their effectiveness in filtering out chemicals and pollutants present in the water.
The same thing will happen to your DIY gravel filter. However, the advantage is you can dispose of it and readily make a new one with all new gravel, charcoal, plastic water bottle, etc.
Other factors that affect the lifespan of your water filter
If your water source is low in quality, your water filter will amass pollutants at a quicker rate.
In some cases, plumbing plays a crucial role in water quality. If it is too degraded, it will give off more harmful minerals.
A large family will naturally consume lots of water compared to a single household, thus increasing the water filter use.
After reading this article and garnering essential information about water filters in general and how to make one by yourself, you will hopefully gain an insight into the importance of clean water.
The above-mentioned DIY gravel filtration method is not a foolproof procedure. Many things can still go wrong, and mistakes can be made since you are only doing this on your own with no outside expert help.
However, it will be applicable in a survival scenario wherein you only have access to limited materials. If it happens to you, then you can fashion one immediately and save your life.