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  1. #1
    Villainous huerro's Avatar
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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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    Senior Member Mr York's Avatar
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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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    Villainous huerro's Avatar
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    Thanks. That's what I thought.

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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.

  5. #5
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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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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  6. #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.
    Last edited by wfin2004; 04-24-08 at 04:37 PM. Reason: edit

  7. #7
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfin2004 View Post
    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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    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.

  9. #9
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msincredible View Post
    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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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huerro View Post
    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.

  11. #11
    Burning Matches. ElJamoquio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kabir424 View Post
    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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  12. #12
    Hazardous Taerom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huerro View Post
    Will freezing water kill the baddies?
    Yes, it will. Now eat your damn ice cubes.

  13. #13
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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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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    Banned Deuce Magruder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfin2004 View Post
    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.

  15. #15
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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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
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  16. #16
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    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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  17. #17
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Boiling it or freezing it won't remove Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO). It's a killer.

    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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  18. #18
    Videre non videri
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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.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kabir424 View Post
    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.

  20. #20
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf View Post
    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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  21. #21
    Ridin' Velomancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x136 View Post
    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.

  22. #22
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    Iodine tablets.

    Ozone.

    Hydrogen peroxide.

    Ethanol - personal favorite.

  23. #23
    carbon positive lifestyle carbonlife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huerro View Post
    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!

  24. #24
    Videre non videri
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Relatively safe? Dude, you're even filteing out most radioactive contaminants with that setup!
    Excess is my middle name!

  25. #25
    fishologist cohophysh's Avatar
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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
    We cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them. A.E.

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