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Should I disinfect raw water before filtering it with the Berkey?

Berkey® Water Purifier

How safe is it to use the Black Berkey Elements to filter raw water from freshwater sources (lakes, ponds, rain runoff, rivers, and streams)? What additional precautions, if any, should be taken such as prefiltration and/or water treatment with disinfectants before filtering through a Berkey system?

I am in an area that is contaminated with too many viruses and/or bacteria. Even with filtration, I don’t feel safe drinking the water. What can I do to disinfect the water before filtering it?

The Berkey water purification systems can efficiently purify raw untreated pond, lake and river water. However, always use the cleanest and clearest water possible. As an additional precaution, if using a source of water that you believe might contain extreme viral and bacteriological contamination, it is recommended by the CDC, EPA and other organizations that approximately sixteen drops of plain bleach (sodium hypochlorite) or iodine per gallon be added to treat the source water before purifying. This should kill minute pathogens such as viruses, within 30 minutes. The disinfectant will be removed from the treated water entirely with the Berkey system, including any odor or taste.

The Berkey Biofilm Drops can also be used to safely disinfect water, both for consumption and for long-term water storage.

For more information about disinfecting water, please reference the following links. or

Read the results of Black Berkey Lab Testing