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Activated Charcoal for Water Purification

“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!" 
Samuel T. Coleridge - The Rime of the Ancient Mariner 
"Activated Charcoal is a simple remedy in its own right, but it is also a remedy of remedies. Activated Charcoal is doctor to some of the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. Back in the late 70s I worked in Puerto Rico at a small health retreat. Thankfully the lack of good water was not one of our worries out in the hills of Galateo. At the foot of our Mt. Galaad, we had a spring of the freshest, tastiest water anywhere. But that was not the case everywhere on the island.

On one occasion my wife and I visited a friend in a distant city notorious for its dreadful water. We had forgotten to bring our own water with us. Driven by heat and thirst, I was at last forced to ask our host for some of his. I was directed to a beaker in the fridge. The water was clearly gray! “Attitude” kicked in. My friend, however, assured me it was okay. Since he was an electrical engineer for the city, I had to believe him. I do not exaggerate. The water was as pure-tasting as our mountain spring water. In another beaker, from which the gray water was poured, was a large unappealing chunk of charcoal. Today, twenty-six years later, homes everywhere display an array of shiny chrome activated charcoal water filters. ( p.26)
This page will post some of the experiments and observations some of our visitors have experienced with charcoal/activated charcoal as a water purifier.
Poisoned Well
Yes, charcoal is a wonderful God-sent remedy for people everywhere. Recently we had an email from a woman in Benin, West Africa.
"I received the book as a gift and I have read the whole thing and found out many uses for it. I have been using and teaching the use of powdered charcoal in Benin W. Africa for the past eight years, but this book clicked in my brain to help me fix the water in my well. Something had fallen in and died and the smell was bad... I had thought about using powered charcoal in it but decided that would be very messy, but then in the book it talked about someone who wanted sweet tasting water and they put in a chunk of charcoal... Then I remembered I had a huge bag of charcoal chunks outside, so I went and threw in several large handfuls of charcoal and within ten minutes the smell was noticeably better, and by evening it didn't smell at all.
I have many stories about powered charcoal (I call it that because it is homemade and not activated) using it on badly infected wounds, for hepatitis, for inflamed pericardium, for many internal uses and poisonings, and the such. No room to tell it all here."
Benin W. Africa
July, 2007
We contacted Suzy and she gladly shared several touching stories. Please click here to read more.
Home Water Distiller/Purifier
Harvey has been experimenting with home water distilling and purchased some of our Activated Charcoal Powder. Here is his initial results:
Hi Guys: ... I am concerned as to how much flash over I may have of contaminates coming out of Houston tap water and going past my still when I make distilled water, i.e., I am worried that even my distilled water may contain chemical contaminants that could be quite harmful.

I have run a quick test that is effective mechanically but have no idea as to its effect chemically.  I have taken a gallon of my distilled water, dumped in a half teaspoon of your activated charcoal. shook it good and let it set for an hour. I then poured it through a standard white paper coffee filter that seems to remove the charcoal leaving behind clear water.

If you think the charcoal is effective in pulling the flash over chemicals that may have crossed my distillation process, then this method should work to clean the water ahead of consumption. You don't have to worry about bacteria buildup in the filter as you just discard a half teaspoon of activated charcoal per gallon of water and keep on trucking..."
August, 2007
We cannot comment on the "flash over" contamination that Harver refers to, but research shows that activated charcoal does adsorb thousands of different Natural and Man-made Toxins. We would suggest using Granular Activated Charcoal to filter water (some other liquids) instead of Activated Charcoal Powder. Remember to rinse the granular charcoal before using it in any filtering equipment to remove any charcoal dust.
The Fruit Juice industry uses an Activated Charcoal Powder (ACP) in the liquid phase to remove color and some odors (Please Contact Us for more information).