Water Disinfection

The simplest and most effective method to disinfect water is boiling, provided the disinfected water is safely stored so contamination does not occur.

Boiling will not improve water taste or color but will kill all the germs.

There are commercially available methods for water disinfection and each has its advantages and disadvantages. There is no one superior to the other as the choice is largely affected by personal preferences.

High quality portable water filters are widely available. They are simple to use and improve the taste of the water, however, they may not remove viruses. Thus, filtration methods are best combined with halogens.

Halogens, like chlorine and iodine are widely available, inexpensive, and easy to use to treat large water quantities.

Again, they have the disadvantage of imparting taste and color.

Cryptosporidium cysts (oocysts) are resistant to halogens.

Iodine can be systemically absorbed causing side effects.

Portable ultraviolet devices are also available but are expensive and require clear water to work properly. If you plan to purchase one of those, make sure you get a reliable device.

Chlorine dioxide is one method with very little disadvantages, if the product is used immediately after unpacking (should not be exposed to light or air for long time before intended use). Available as liquid or tablets, chlorine dioxide has no effect on water taste or color and kills most water pathogens. The small size and effectiveness make this method one of the best for water disinfection.

For more information, please visit:

http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/food-water