I am looking to setup dish and hand washing stations for a group of folks in a fairly-wild woodland, in a car-camping summertime setting, for 2-5 days (depending on the occasion). Is stream water fit for cleaning hands, dishes, waste bins/buckets? Water used for cooking or drinking will be well-boiled or from a known-potable source.
I'm hoping the answer to the overarching question will satisfy these sub-questions:
- Can stream water be used for washing dishes, cups, and hands, or does it need to first be filtered/purified?
- What if that stream water is used in combination with biodegradable plant-based camp soap?
- Does vinegar or bleach need to be added to the container full of washing water to make it safe?
- Does temperature matter? If so, how much and what is preferable?
Emphasis on avoiding illness for a group of people with diverse outdoor experience/background.
This might be a tricky question because it probably depends so much on the river/water source. In this particular case, the stream I'm considering is one that flows well and pretty cold year-round, located in the Adirondack Park of New York. It's not in total wilderness but in a pretty remote area anyway.
I and others don't consider it potable without treatment, but I wouldn't expect to die from drinking it and wouldn't be surprised if I was perfectly unharmed by drinking from it for a weekend...though for that matter, I wouldn't be surprised if I was pretty harmed by doing so - yet to do any water quality test on it.