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Old 04-24-08, 02:36 PM   #1
huerro
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Will freezing water kill the baddies?

Riddle me this foosters...

I know that boiling water for 10 minutes is the preferred non-chemical way of making it potable, but will freezing it make it safe to drink too? Will it kill all those little nasties or will they reanimate when you defrost it?
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Old 04-24-08, 02:49 PM   #2
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Cold does not kill bacteria, they just go dormant waiting for warmer temps. So what ever you do, don't rely on freezing to make things safe, it will never work. Heat, filtration, or chemical treatment are the three known ways I know of to make water safe. Well, UV light does too I hear.
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Old 04-24-08, 03:13 PM   #3
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Thanks. That's what I thought.
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Old 04-24-08, 03:28 PM   #4
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+1 on that. Freezing just causes bacteria to go dormant, and does not affect viruses in any way.

I'd go for boiling, UV light, filtration (make SURE the filter can pull out giardia and other nasties), and as a last resort, chlorine tablets.

Remember though, none of these will help if its chemicals in the water such as benzene.
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Old 04-24-08, 04:01 PM   #5
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Freezing will only kill some of the bacteria, and it will have little effect on many viruses. It will not effect spores and helminth eggs.

The freezing kills organisms largely through shear stress of water crystallization doing cellular damage, not as a result of the temperature. We store organisms in liquid nitrogen (-154*C vapor phase) and they wake up just fine when we thaw them. The key is not allowing the intracellular water to crystallize (4%-7% vol/vol DMSO final cryopreservation medium.)
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Old 04-24-08, 04:37 PM   #6
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When I was a teenager, my cousin had a pet turtle in a washtub outside. It was froze solid in a block of ice all winter. Come spring and a thaw, the turtle was swimming like nothing happened. Freezing doesn't kill anything except us humans.

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Old 04-24-08, 04:57 PM   #7
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When I was a teenager, my cousin had a pet turtle in a washtub outside. It was froze solid in a block of ice all winter. Come spring and a thaw, the turtle was swimming like nothing happened. Freezing doesn't kill anything except us humans.
Except...when I was younger I did a little experiment with liquid nitrogen. I wanted to see if a frozen insect would come back to life when it thawed out.

It got so brittle with the liq N2 that it just fell apart. I felt kind of bad.
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Old 04-24-08, 04:59 PM   #8
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Absolute zero will kill bacteria. That is usually what I use to purify my water. I take my handy dandy absolute zero machine with me on backpacking trips.
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Old 04-24-08, 05:32 PM   #9
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Except...when I was younger I did a little experiment with liquid nitrogen.


If I could have gotten my (hopefully gloved!) hands on liquid nitrogen as a kid, there's no telling the havoc I would have wreaked. It would have been like that "Will It Blend" series of videos, except it'd be "Will It Freeze And Shatter", and there's be no internet to put it on.
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Old 04-24-08, 06:21 PM   #10
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Riddle me this foosters...

I know that boiling water for 10 minutes is the preferred non-chemical way of making it potable, but will freezing it make it safe to drink too? Will it kill all those little nasties or will they reanimate when you defrost it?
Actually boiling can fail, especially in one of the common situations where it is used, camping in the mountians. Go to Yellowstone and look at the algae nice and happy in boiling pools.
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Old 04-24-08, 06:33 PM   #11
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Absolute zero will kill bacteria. That is usually what I use to purify my water. I take my handy dandy absolute zero machine with me on backpacking trips.
Any chance I can borrow this machine? I'm going to Oslo in December.
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Old 04-24-08, 06:35 PM   #12
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Will freezing water kill the baddies?
Yes, it will. Now eat your damn ice cubes.
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Old 04-24-08, 06:36 PM   #13
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Just keep the absolute zero machine away from the perpetual motion machine. No good can come of that meeting.
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Old 04-24-08, 07:44 PM   #14
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When I was a teenager, my cousin had a pet turtle in a washtub outside. It was froze solid in a block of ice all winter. Come spring and a thaw, the turtle was swimming like nothing happened. Freezing doesn't kill anything except us humans.
that is the coolest story ever. ricky once put a turtle in a microwave oven and im not saying what happened after that.

crap, if you ever went down into mexico and drank a bunch of cocolas with ice in it, only to crap your brains out when you get back, youll know that it aint a good ideal to drink ice down there.
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Old 04-24-08, 09:15 PM   #15
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If all else fails, you can go to Freeze Dried H2O, just add water.

http://www.his.com/~pshapiro/freeze.dried.html
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Old 04-24-08, 10:29 PM   #16
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Actually boiling can fail, especially in one of the common situations where it is used, camping in the mountians. Go to Yellowstone and look at the algae nice and happy in boiling pools.
Under the average circumstances, boiling will sterilize your water. No pathogens (I can think of) that can survive boiling temperatures are living in temperate lake water. Thermophilic organisms usually require the high heat to survive: Weird bugs that live in undersea hot vents, and in volcanic craters, and boiling hot springs... you don't see those things living in the same ponds you pull drinking water from when camping.
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Old 04-25-08, 12:26 AM   #17
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Boiling it or freezing it won't remove Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO). It's a killer.

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DHMO is a constituent of many known toxic substances, diseases and disease-causing agents, environmental hazards and can even be lethal to humans in quantities as small as a thimbleful.
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Old 04-25-08, 05:32 AM   #18
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Reverse osmosis + boiling + activated carbon filtering, and you're relatively safe, at least if you get the water from a stream away from industrial areas.
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Old 04-25-08, 10:20 AM   #19
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Absolute zero will kill bacteria. That is usually what I use to purify my water. I take my handy dandy absolute zero machine with me on backpacking trips.
I just keep a quart of liquid hydrogen in my bottle cage. It's not as good as frozen solid hydrogen but it's the best I've been able to manage.
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Old 04-25-08, 11:17 AM   #20
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Reverse osmosis + boiling + activated carbon filtering, and you're relatively safe, at least if you get the water from a stream away from industrial areas.
Relatively safe? Dude, you're even filteing out most radioactive contaminants with that setup!


When I'm out camping, I've filtered water from some really grungy looking swamps and stagnant pools. A fiberscreen pre-filter + ceramic micro-pore filter works just fine.
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Old 04-25-08, 11:31 AM   #21
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Just keep the absolute zero machine away from the perpetual motion machine. No good can come of that meeting.
Of course we all know that it depends on how they interact. Absolute motion can be quite exciting... but I agree perpetual zero should be avoided at all costs.
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Old 04-25-08, 12:11 PM   #22
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Iodine tablets.

Ozone.

Hydrogen peroxide.

Ethanol - personal favorite.
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Old 04-25-08, 01:10 PM   #23
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I know that boiling water for 10 minutes is the preferred non-chemical way of making it potable, but will freezing it make it safe to drink too? Will it kill all those little nasties or will they reanimate when you defrost it?
Puhlease, germs are a myth, a conspiracy of the military-industrial complex designed to get you to buy "anti-bacterial" soap and water filters, and to convince you that the "terrorists" are trying to hit us with "biological weapons" in the water supply, or subway air ducts. It's all designed to sell you things and support military spending. Don't let the rich old white men control your mind!

If the water is clear, it's clean. Enjoy!
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Old 04-25-08, 01:30 PM   #24
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Relatively safe? Dude, you're even filteing out most radioactive contaminants with that setup!
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Old 04-25-08, 01:44 PM   #25
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Clifton is right, there are a group of bacteria labelled extremophiles....they live in the most extreme conditions, polar ice caps, thermal vents, rumens, your stomach etc. The ones that survive the cold are called psycrophiles
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