Water sources become contaminated from decades of acid rain and from industrial and agricultural runoff and sewage contamination during rainy seasons and snow meltoff. Fortunately the past few years have seen a decrease in pollution of all kinds due to the slowing down of industry, decreased use of petroleum-based materials, such as gasoline, motor oils, pesticides, etc., and most recently the complete halting of the domestic sewage system, reducing E. coli contamination in the lake. As well, thanks to the efforts of organizations such as the Lakewide Management Plan for the Great Leakes, plus the Environmental Protection Agency, phosphorous and mercury contamination since the end of the last century dwindled to nearly negligible levels. Despite these facts and the recent cessation of local sources of water contamination, the effects of pollution from this and the previous century will continue to contaminate rain and water bodies for countless years to come.
As of 2040 the waters of Lake Ontario, the Don, Rouge and Humber rivers, and the Etobicoke and Mimco creeks, are acidic but have been deemed safe for bathing, washing and irrigation. However their water must be treated before human consumption (see section 2:b:ii).
2:b:i) TESTING WATER
The safest and most effective ways to test for potentially harmful water impurities is by using a chemical test kit. These test kits contain materials and chemicals found in science labs. Check the Community section of this guide to source chemists kits necessary for checking for nitrates, iron, phospates and pH.
2:b:ii) PURIFYING WATE WITH FILTRATION AND BOILING
SLOW SAND FILTER
Begin by digging a pit 3 to 5 feet deep. Line the ditch with plastic sheeting leaving an overhang around the top edge of the pit. At the bottom of the lined pit, set up a series of perforated drain pipes connected to a small tank for a hose to rise to ground level ending at a hand pump. Place a layer of gravel and rocks over th drain pipes and then fill the pit with clean sand. (To wash sand, place a few buckets of sand in a wheelbarrow and fill with water; swirl the sand-water mixture around, then pour off the muddy water.) To use the sand filter, feed water to the sand pit until topped with water or water runs out. Wait for the water to filter down to the pipes before pumping. Boil water after filtering.
After some time, a gelatinous layer forms on the upper layer of the sand filter. Although this layer is composed mostly of friendly bacteria, it must be cleaned off and replaced with clean sand regularly.
Each household must boil their sand-filtered water before using. Boiling kills such microorganisms as protozoa, bacteria and viruses, but cannot remove chemical or radioactive pollutants.
Bring water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute to purify. Cool and store in clean closed containers for up to one week. If freezing, allow enough room at the tops of the containers for water to expand without bursting. Never drink directly from containers, to prevent contamination of germs or dirt into the containers.
Read the next section, Water Conservation, Storage & Heating...