Friday, July 15, 2011

Prickly pear water purification

Cactus Gum Can Purify Water Cheaply and Effectively

Well, that's a new one on me. Had to share for my friends and neighbors in Terlingua :)


Dani said...

Abby - excellent - thank you :)

Even though I'm not in Terlingua I reckon I could use this tip LOL

tffnguy said...

No doubt the water down here needs a LOT of filtration. I figure it would take 640 acres worth of cactus to get all the crud out of one glass of water here. ;)

Good info though. Getting all the thorns off of them would be a real chore though.

Jake said...

The mucilage doesn't actually act as a filter as stated in the article, but rather as a flocculent precipitate. Flocculent precipitates bind with other matter suspended in water. Together they become too heavy to stay suspended so they sink to the bottom. The same method is used to clear cloudy swimming pools. Thanks for sharing the tip Abby!

Abby said...

Right, Jake. I Googled the actual scientific article and muddled through those big unwieldy words; unfortunately, they don't tell us the do-it-yourself version of this method. If the cactus goo needs all that refinement and pH balancing, it's not much use in the "real world," is it?

Jake said...

You are right Abby, it is not very practicle. The water out here is very hard because of the various dissolved solids. Boiling is still one of the easiest ways to soften it and kill bacteria. When it is boiled the solids precipitate from suspension and accumulate at the bottom of the pot. Distilling is another good way to make very soft water. I'm working on a solar distiller design for this very purpose. Presently I use a ceramic filter (found here). It needs to be cleaned frequently, but makes the desert water much more palatable.