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Old 04-02-2013   #1
scoyoc's Avatar
Moab, Utah
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 11
Is it possibe to filter water on the San Juan?

I'm headed down the SJ in mid-May. Some in the party want to bring a Katadyn so they don't have to haul all their water. I don't think it's possible to filter water on the SJ. Thoughts and opinions please.

Keep on, keepin' on!!
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Old 04-02-2013   #2
MikeThulin1972's Avatar
Conifer, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 135
Should be similar to water on green... As London as you have a good filter and time it shouldn't be a problem... Just have to put water in a bucket or sink and let it settle totally then pump the clearer water...

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Old 04-02-2013   #3
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
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Originally Posted by MikeThulin1972 View Post
Should be similar to water on green... As London as you have a good filter and time it shouldn't be a problem... Just have to put water in a bucket or sink and let it settle totally then pump the clearer water...
Way more silt than the Green. Let it settle out, and you still may clog your filter. I wouldn't count on the filter vs taking enough water.
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Old 04-03-2013   #4
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 390
I have had good results using alum (used for making pickles, find it in the spice section of most gorcery stores) to settle water on the San Juan. If you get the chemistry right you can get a 5 gal. bucket to settle to clear in about 15 minutes. Our group likes to bring potable water for drinking and a small filter for backup. We use the settled water treated with bleach for dishwashing and bathing.

There is a LOT of silt in the water, untreated it would clog a water filter in no time.

Here are detailed instructions for using alum....
Water Treatment for Rafters

I did not need to adjust the PH for the San Juan, just added the alum solution,(about 1/2 tsp per 5 gal bucket if I recall.) The ratio has to be just right, so experiment a bit. Disolve the alum in 8oz of water first, doesn't work well if you just add the powder directly.

Without alum the water had to sit at least overnight and didn't come out as nearly as clear. Note: critters like to crawl into the buckets overnight. Any uncovered buckets had a floating dead mouse by morning, so bring some lids! If your filter clogs or fails during the trip you better have a backup plan, I wouldn't want to drink water out of the San Juan untreated.
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Old 04-03-2013   #5
JonasJ's Avatar
Woodland Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 48
I have used alum before with marginal results. PUR makes a water purification powder it works like magic. Found it at walmart. What the commercial dosen't show is pouring off the clean water and the snot like stuff left in the bottom of the bucket. Used it before in the Green and worked like the commercial. Will filter 2.5 gallons of water per packet. Oh ya and it is ready to drink no filtering required.
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Old 04-03-2013   #6
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443 can refill water jugs at the hotel by the bridge in Mexican Hat.
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Old 04-03-2013   #7
John the welder's Avatar
Delta, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1971
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 161
Think about what's up stream that filters won't take out.
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Old 04-03-2013   #8
stuntsheriff's Avatar
jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 164
its just a little gear oil
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Old 04-03-2013   #9
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 103
Just off the SJ

Just got off the SJ and successfully "made" water for 8 people on the trip using Todd's instructions (Water Treatment for Rafters). Water levels were 400-600 cfs and silt load was low (compared to some photos I've seen).

pH tested at between 6-7 and I used a bit less than 1/2 tsp alum per 5-gallons of water and it settled in about an hour. I poured off the clear water to another bucket, treated with bleach for 2-8 hours, and ran through a carbon filter. Tasted good and I haven't died yet.

The carbon filter is in a whole-house filter housing that I plumbed to a 2.5 gallon bucket and it just gravity fed - its purpose is only to remove the chlorine and VOCs. The setup all packs into a 5-gallon bucket that I snap a lid on and throw in the boat.

I added the alum to a small bottle, filled with clear water and shook to make sure the alum was dissolved completely.
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Old 04-03-2013   #10
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
Filtered or not, I'd be boiling that water. I mean, people FLOAT on that river. And who knows where they've been!

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