The Prepper Notes

A growing number of people consider that “Prepping” (as Americans put it) is an advisable policy; preparing beforehand for some foreseeable but hopefully-unlikely disaster, so that one’s family can survive that disaster in reasonable shape. Even the British government, not known since WWII for its’ caring attitude to the man in the street, advises us to have two weeks’ worth of food and money in the home.
As it is likely that a Government would be under some pressure to bring back a civilised way of life in a reasonably short time, a family would need to be able to endure a true “Survival Phase” of maybe two weeks or so, but there would then be a phase of a few months, which we might refer to as the “Aftermath Phase” where everyone gets back to their normal state…
…of being kept in the metaphorical dark by TPTB and fed on Panem et Circenses by the government.
Whether this would involve TPTB hoping for a thinning-out of so-called useless eaters, I do not know, but anyone who reads this forum and blog does not come into that category. Everyone has┬átheir favorite list of facilities, preparations and contents for their bug-out bag, but while I’m not actually going into any lists here (there’s plenty on the Internet), I would hope that everyone would have a CS-making kit with them for the “Aftermath Phase”, when disease may be an issue.
Waterborne disease is always going to be a problem if the mains water supply is not available. Most flooding events in the UK have also involved the sewerage system lifting the manholes in the road, causing raw sewage to mix with surface water, contaminating all water sources which are not sealed from the environment.
So, you’ve got your battery powered CS generating gear. I am deeply grateful that mine’s a SilverTron:
SilverTron Store
although a CST4 battery-powered CS generator from GoodVitality would do:
GoodVitality CST4 CS-Making Machine
and you could make your own very basic version, from the instructions here:
Kephra’s Articles – CS Production Part II
You will certainly have your pure Silver electrode(s). They will be .999 fine; DON’T bother paying for .9999 fine; and some 9V PP3 batteries. You will have a small quantity of cinnamon powder, a bottle of Vodka (good for trading or fire-lighting as well as making cinnamon tincture), a bottle of Sodium Hydroxide or Sodium Carbonate and a bottle of Karo Corn Syrup (USA/CAN) or Golden Syrup (UK).
Excellent; now all we need is some unpolluted, clean distilled water in a sealed container…
Um; perhaps I could distill my own water. Now where is my mains distiller? I’ll just plug it in…
How about that bottle of dehydrated water that Mr Snake-oil sold me; he said it only needed to be rehydrated with some distilled …
Damn.
All the answers boil down (excuse the pun) to a supply of water clean enough to use for CS-making. I came to this conclusion a while ago, and made sure that I always keep 250 litres of distilled water on hand in my home. It is very expensive bottled water if used for drinking, but I don’t think I would care, if the time came. It will last me and my wife for about four weeks if we had nothing else, and could be used straight out of the sealed plastic bins to make any version of CS. However, suppose we didn’t have this?
Most homes have a water-tank, but this is “contaminated” with chlorine, so although it can be used for drinking-water, it cannot be used for making CS. I can see at least three other sources of reasonably good water in or around my home, that are fairly pure without needing to be distilled, and which are not likely to be badly contaminated. My rainwater butts collect rainwater from my roof, and the dust (and any radio-active particles) settle out in the first water-butt. The overflow goes into the second water-butt, and this would be perfectly good for drinking-water, straight from the water-butt tap. Better, but available in smaller volumes, melted ice from the freezer would puddle in the bottom of the cabinet if the mains failed. Even better still, my dehumidifiers collect water that is almost distilled-quality, condensed from water vapour in the air. (Homes in the USA might consider collecting the distillate from any air-conditioners, allowing any overflow to run away to the drain. This water is made by the same process as a dehumidifier, and would be of an equivalent purity if kept in a covered tank).
Could these be used for making CS? If it is possible, the end-product would be self-sterilising.
I took 350 mls of rainwater and 350 mls of condensate from my dehumidifier. I tested the water samples with a TDS meter and the rainwater came out at 28 uS, the dehumidifier water tested at 8 uS. I thought this would be too high for use as CS feedwater, and was quite disappointed by the dehumidifier sample. As a dehumidifier makes water by condensing water vapour, I had hoped for a better TDS result.
However, I hooked up the CS machine to make sugar-reduced hot CS (perhaps you will allow the use of hot water for the purpose of this experiment). After electrolysing the dehumidifier water for approximately 11 minutes and the rainwater for about 15 minutes at about 10 mA (I let the rainwater overcook a bit), I took a wooden stirrer (from Starbucks) with a faint smear of Golden Syrup on the end, and immersed it into the hot water.
The rainwater was a bit over-cooked, around 30 ppm, but the colour of both samples was perfect, with zero turbidity and crystal clear deep yellow (for the dehumidifier water) and light brown (for the rainwater).
I MUST STRESS that this is an emergency technique for use when distilled or de-ionised water is not available. You should ALWAYS use distilled or de-ionised water when it is obtainable. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the results, which I will use with confidence.
DSCF0366a