Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

Friday Favorite: The Big Berkey

June 8th, 2012

For a few years now we’ve been using a Big Berkey Water Filter for all of our drinking/cooking water. It’s one of those workhorses in the house that you don’t notice, but you’re so glad it’s there. It’s my Friday Favorite because I got my water test report from our water supplier yesterday.

This filter is great because it filters just about everything out of the water, heavy metals, VOC’s, radon, etc. They are very similar to the filters we used in Colombia growing up to filter our collected rain water for drinking.

In our Big Berkey we use the Black Berkey filtering elements and they remove or reduce the following:
Pathogenic Bacteria and Cysts (E. Coli, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Raoltella Terrigena) – Reduced to > 99.9999%
Viruses (MS2 – Fr Coliphage) – Reduced to > 99.999%
Parasites – Reduced to > 99.9999%
Harmful or unwanted chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides
Chlorine – Removed to Below Detectable Limits
Organic solvents
THM’s (Trihalomethanes – Bromodichloromethane, Bromoform, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane) – Removed to Below Detectable Limits
MTBE’s (Methyl tert-Butyl Ehter) – Removed to Below Detectable Limits
Other VOC’s – Removed to Below Detectable Limits
Radiologicals: Radon 222, Removed to Below Detectable Limits
Nitrates & Nitrites
Heavy metals – Up to 95%
Foul tastes and odor

Our water here is drawn from very shallow sources, and thus there are a lot of contaminates in it. Most of them are reduced to “levels below that which would harm a healthy person” but that doesn’t give me much consolation. Some of them are quite high and above the limit listed as “safe”. I’d rather filter my water so I’m not drinking all these baddies! Since our water also contains arsenic and fluoride we use the additional Fluoride/Arsenic filters in addition to the Black filters. I really don’t want to take any chances with the arsenic.

One of the things I love about the Berkey is that it’s a gravity filter. I fill the top chamber and it filters down into the bottom. It will store about a gallon of water in the bottom reservoir. We also keep a gallon pitcher of filtered water on the counter. That way, whenever I need a lot of water for making soup or pasta I’ve got it ready.

We love our Berkey so much and the great water it provides us that it always travels with us when we hit the open road. There’s nothing better than having good, tasteless, odorless water wherever you are!

Even if you have great water, keeping a good filter in the house for emergencies is a good idea, it can be a small camping type one or a gravity feed one like the Berkey. If there’s ever a natural disaster or a water main break that disrupts or contaminates your water supply you can use it to filter water to drink. I like knowing that it doesn’t matter what happens, I can put the water from my rain barrels or from the lake through my Berkey and have safe drinking water.

Do you have well water or city water? Do you keep a water filter for emergencies?

Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.