12

Will the boiling of the water itself be enough to decontaminate water taken from such standing water reservoir as that: pond in Kampinos forest

This water looks horrible, and probably drinking it raw would cause serial diarrhea, however, is boiling of this water enough to be safe to drink? What would be required to make it safe to drink?

Beside from killing bacteria and possible parasites, the problem are the toxins, especially from carcass, like those from staphylococcus, that, according to articles like Detection of Bacterial Toxins in Food are heat resistant. Does it mean, that no matter how long the water is boiled, the toxin will stay?

Of course, I'd filter this water using a screen (e.g. my shirt) before pouring it into mess tin. Iodine would also be useful. But what else can I do to minimize the danger of poisoning?

  • 5
    I'd be interested to hear what about the water is unsafe, aside from pathogens, and whether a method exists to "destroy the toxins," whatever they may be. – Greg.Ley Jun 20 '12 at 21:50
12

Once you open it up to toxins, the answer is clearly no, boiling is not enough. There are many examples:

If you are trying to clear up truly noxious water, try this method: https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/351/127

11

Boiling eliminates only a certain class of contaminants that can make you ill. Specifically living bacteria and other microorganisms (protozoa, amoeba). It does not purify, or decontaminate the water completely.

Certain bacterial and algal toxins can survive boiling and make you sick, and as Russell pointed out, there are also inorganic contaminants that will definitely survive the boiling process.

Distillation on the other hand, will produce water that is safe to drink in most cases.

  • Bacterial toxins are mostly proteins, which can be destroyed by prolonged boiling (especially at above-atmospheric pressure, which allows water to boil at a considerably higher temperature than normal), which denatures proteins, which generally destroys their ability to do things. – Sean Nov 8 at 2:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.