It starts off as another hike when all of a sudden you come across a spring. Not the stuff under your bed, the beautiful mini-waterfall you’ll most likely take a photo of before you leave. All of a sudden your inner curiosity comes out. What would happen if you drank some of the spring water? Is it possible that you’ll gain superpowers? A hidden knowledge or inner peace? Or would you turn into a human-fish hybrid? It seems that there is only one way to find out, but before you start chugging down spring water let’s find out what spring water could do to your body and if it’s safe.
Sorry, the spring water (probably) won’t turn you into a superhero. Although it’s true that spring water can be potable there are a few factors you should take into account before deciding whether or not you should drink any. Spring water is considered any water that overflows from an aquifer or underground water. Spring water is naturally alkaline and is constantly filtered by rocks and dirt while flowing. Despite some people claiming that alkaline water reduces inflammation and acts as an antioxidant, there are currently no scientific studies that support this. In addition to this, spring water often has a high concentration of vital minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium which can have positive health effects. However, it is often difficult to tell if spring water is contaminated. Sometimes, spring water can contain pathogens such as salmonella and E.Coli that can cause diarrhea and vomiting and may require medical treatment.
There are a few dead giveaways that water in a spring isn’t safe to drink. The first red flag is if the water isn’t flowing and remains stagnant as this can allow harmful bacteria to grow. Next, you should take a look around the water and see if it’s coming from a dangerous source. Often times, waste is dumped into streams and rivers that people drink from just a few miles below. If there is an animal, dead or alive, or any animal tracks near the water it is best to refrain from drinking the water. Finally, water that gives off a strange scent it could has harmful amounts of minerals of it and isn’t potable. On the other hand, if the spring water is bubbling from the rocks it is usually potable.
If you are hard stuck on drinking water from a spring here are a few ways you can filter the spring water. Get as close to the source of the spring water as you can to check for any contaminants. If you have a source of heat put the water over it and boil the water for at least 10 minutes. This will kill off harmful bacteria. Keep in mind however that you should not try to boil water in a plastic bottle because harmful materials in the plastic can melt into the water. In desperate situations, you can use a piece of clothing over a bottle to filter out large debris. After filling up the bottle, wait a few minutes for the remaining particles to sink to the bottom of the water and put the water in a different, clean bottle.
Here you can see a different type of DIY filtration system used to clean dirty water.