Silver & water

Question: I am frequently traveling and, hence, I am always using silver metal containers with me to store drinking water. I believe this is a traditional type of disinfection method for potable water. Recently, I have come across a water purifier containing silver impregnated carbon as a filter media. Can you explain the advantage of such a purifier over the traditional ways to store water in silver containers?


Answer: Silver is an excellent biocide and containers made of silver and/or containing silver coins have been used for years to keep the bacterial concentration of stored water in check. Because of the relatively low concentration of silver as compared to carbon in silver impregnated carbons, I don’t believe that it would be as effective as your silver containers. On the other hand, iodinated resins have proven to be very effective at disinfecting bacterially contaminated water supplies. There are manufacturers of iodinated systems for just this purpose. There are also a number of manufacturers of portable purification devices, such as those for camping, that have specific micron ratings for effectively removing contaminants down to the low-micron levels, Pür and Mountain Safety Research (MSR), to name a couple.

Maintaining the fleet

Question: Good day. I work in the fleet maintenance shop for North County Transit District in Oceanside, Calif. We are having problems with the water we use in our vehicle cooling systems and are looking for a way to produce clean water as close to distilled purity as we can get. Do you have any suggestions or ideas as to where I might find some information on this subject? We have 164 buses each with either a 20 or 25 gallon cooling system. These are heavy-duty engines. Thank you.

Don R. Curry
Oceanside, Calif.

Answer: Assuming that you require your water be as free from dissolved salts as possible, my suggestion is to consider deionization, reverse osmosis or commercial distillation. There are economical systems available for all three of these technologies. Depending on flow rate quality and other specific requirements, one technology may prove to be superior to the others. Bear in mind that using the system to provide spot-free wash water for your vehicles provides additional benefits that may affect your choice of technologies and/or the size of the system required. There are a number of articles in the archives of that may assist you in your choice. Otherwise, we found the following two websites related to water quality and vehicle cooling systems: and


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