Hi everyone. I'll be going on a backpacking trip soon, and the closest water source is a very small, shallow lake that is pretty stagnant. I have an MSR sweetwater purifier system and I'm wondering if that (the filter and the sodium hypochlorite) will make the water from this lake safe to drink. The lake is bloodsucker lake near the desolation wilderness if anyone is familiar with it. Thanks.
I have used the MSR Sweetwater to obtain useable water from some pretty dubious sources including one with a dead coyote floating in it. Water sources are scarce in the Arizona mountains so one uses what is there.
My procedure is to pre-filter questionable water through several layers of bandana fabric to remove larger particles and organisms. I then pump the water through the filter: this can often require one or more filter brushings and cleanings per liter. Once the water has been through the filter, I will then add a double dose of a chlorine dioxide treatment such as Micro-Pur to deal with any viruses that may be present. The chemical treatment also helps to rid the water of foul odors and tastes that will pass readily through the filter.
I give the filter a final brushing and filtered-water rinse before putting it away. The repeated brushing shortens the life of the filter element but that's the price one pays to treat poor water sources. One advantage of the Sweetwater is that it can be easily and repeatedly cleaned in the field.
I doubt that the lake you mentioned would require the "full Monty" I describe above. I would just start by doing a normal filtering perhaps with the silt-stopper in the intake line. One-celled algae and Protozoa in stagnant water can easily plug an unprotected filter element making frequent cleaning necessary. Then, if the water has an unpleasant taste, add ClO2 to reduce that. I would only use the more aggressive methods when needed.
I having a hard time figuring out were you are camping that you need to get water from Bloodsucker Lake. You will only be half a mile or so from Lyons Creek, which will still have water, at least in some of the deeper pools.
Is Bloodsucker your final destination? If so, you might want to consider extending your hike a bit. Bloodsucker in only a couple of miles from the Lyons Lake trailhead, and Lake Sylvia is only another 1.5 miles or so--with wonderful water and fishing, too.
There is a big campground at Wright's Lake--that's only 2 miles in the other direction
I can vouch for Lyons Creek being dry as a bone back in late July. It rained last weekend, but I'll guess not enough to re-establish flow. As to Bloodsucker Lake yeah, it's turbid but I think can be safely treated and/or filtered for drinking.
WARNING, WARNING, WARNING: deer season begins in Eldorado National Forest this weekend and frankly, I'd avoid it, especially opening weekend. "Wilderness" does not mean no hunting.
ETA: Bloodsucker is outside of the Desolation boundry, and it did rain enough that fire restrictions have been lifted.
I went up there and ended up getting water from Lyons creek instead of the lake. I didn't see any other people out there other than a few hunters camped right off of Wright's Lake rd. Thanks for the replies everyone.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I use a Pur charcoal filter in a squeeze bottle to pre-filter water. It's fast, does a great job removing sediment, removes most all of the nasty tastes, and they're pretty cheap. The water bottle I use very light and it flattens out when not filled so it packs small. I got them for $1 at a "Dollar Store" and the Pur filters are around 2 for $5-$6.
Originally Posted By Pika
I have used the MSR Sweetwater to obtain useable water from some pretty dubious sources including one with a dead coyote floating in it