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How do Black Berkey® Elements work?

Berkey® Water Purifier
USABF how black berkeys work scaled

Have you ever wondered about the technology that makes the Black Berkey® Elements the most trusted name in gravity filtration? The Black Berkey® Elements are manufactured by New Millennium Concepts, Ltd..

Several methods are used to produce the Black Berkey® purification elements. These methods include microfiltration, adsorption, and flow rate.


The Berkey® first line of defense is its proprietary formulation of more than six different media types, all constructed into a very compact matrix containing millions of microscopic pores. Because these pores are so small, they produce a “tortuous path” that pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, herbicides, pesticides, organic solvents, VOC’s, detergents, cloudiness, silt, sediment and sedimentary minerals, foul tastes and odors must travel through. These pollutants physically cannot pass through the pores and become trapped, eliminating them from your drinking water. The capturing of these contaminants is what we call microfiltration.

The following video explains microfiltration.


Secondly, the media formulation of the Black Berkey® Elements possesses unique adsorption and absorption properties. Adsorption (ad-sorption) works to create an ionic barrier similar to surface tension. This barrier is perfectly suited to the micro-porous water filter because it effectively allows the tiny pores to block water contaminants that are smaller than the pore size itself. This blocking process is how the Berkey® water filter is able to remove submicron viruses that other brands of water filters cannot, without the use of obnoxious chemicals like iodine or chlorine. Next, the heavy metals ions (mineral molecules) such as cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, aluminum, and other dangerous heavy metals are extracted from the water through an ion exchange process where they are attracted to and transformed by electrically bonding to the media.

The video below provides a better understanding of adsorption.

Flow Rate

Lastly and most notably, Berkey® systems are known for the effectiveness in removing contaminants from water because of their extremely long “contact period” with the source water.

Other filtration systems rely almost exclusively on water pressure that forces water molecules through the elements at 60-90 PSI. These water molecules come into contact with the filter media for a mere fraction of a second.

By comparison, water molecules passing through the structure of the Black Berkey® Elements mimic the natural water cycle process; they are drawn gently by gravity and stay in contact with the media for a long period of time.

This allows the filter media to be more efficient in capturing contaminants. This advanced technology was developed, refined, and proven through years of diligent, investigative research, and testing performed by water purification specialists, researchers, and engineers. The flow rate or time of exposure through the Black Berkey® purification elements has been calculated to yield the greatest volume of removal of viruses, toxic chemicals, and bacteria.