Lead in NYC Water, or Why a Berkey Water Filter Isn’t Just For Survivalists

image by w warby

New York City means three things to me:  Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, and great food, so when I read today’s NYC headline, “Tap Water Shows Elevated Lead Levels,” my eyebrows raised.  Aren’t  large urban areas supposed to have sophisticated water purification systems?

The increased levels of lead in New York’s water aren’t dangerous, although officials are recommending residents allow their taps to run for thirty seconds or more before using it, but the situation reminds me that so-called “survival” supplies and preparations aren’t just for kooks who live in hidey-holes out in the woods.  Many of those kooks have had a Berkey water filter system in their cabins for years because they know a Berkey Water Filter is one of the most reliable ways to make water safe.  Maybe it’s time someone spread the word to big city residents that basic survival precautions are a smart move for them, too, starting with a good water system.

When water safety is an issue, you want to be very sure of three primary considerations.

  1. What will this filter remove from tainted water?
  2. How much water will it purify before I need to purchase a new filter?
  3. Will I get enough pure water for my daily needs?

Berkey systems have been considered a survival must-have for decades because they set the standard in those three areas.  Mike Adams of Natural News writes,

With a Berkey water filter, you simply put the water into the top chamber and gravity pulls it through the media filters that capture bacteria, parasites, herbicides, pesticides, solvents, nitrates, nitrites, lead, mercury, chlorine, VOCs, and even fluoride.

New York residents, or anyone with a concern about the safety of their city water supply, can rest assured knowing that their Berkey is hard at work, making their water safe.  It should also be noted that the filtering system removes any nasty smells or odors from water.

Mike continues,

The more popular faucet filters, for example, only filter a hundred gallons of water (or so) before requiring replacement. Personally, I like to have water filters that can handle several thousand gallons of water at a very low effective cost per gallon.

Yes, a Berkey system is capable of filtering that much water.  It’s amazing.  Plus, it has the advantage of being gravity-fed, which means that no outside power source is needed.  A Berkey, Sun Oven, and Wonderwash together would have you set up for just about every emergency, no matter where you live, and that includes New York City!

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

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  1. Dagny says

    Great point — especially with the aging infrastructure in our cities. DC's water system suffered a cryptosporidium scare in the 1990s and a lead problem a few years ago when the water treatment process was altered and had an unforeseen negative impact on water quality as it affected aging pipes.

    Not like we can just walk to a nearby creek when a water crisis hits. I'll look into the Berkey

    • TheSurvivalMom says

      Not very many of us have property with a gravity-fed well or other natural sources of water. We rely on city water and assume it's safe to drink since it's supposed to meet all those government standards. A lot of city systems, though, don't meet those standards, but we never hear about it.

  2. GoneWithTheWind says

    We have the ability to detect incredibly small amounts of any chemical. If you have a well or get water from a surface source then you undoubtedly have heavy metals and nasty organic things. There is no "pure". Do you use sea salt? Well, get used to consuming mercury, lead arsenic and other nasty stuff in greater quantities then would be allowed in drinking water. The question to ask is why was this a big story? Was it just a whim of a newspaper editor or were the politicians setting the city and state up for higher taxes? What was the motive? I worked for a utility in the Northwest where we took our water from a pristine river. It was so pure we didn't need to treat it (we did treat it of course). But the water had detectable amounts of arsenic and lead. Why? Because pure water wants to dissolve elements & chemicals and the land (the dirt and rocks) that water flows through and past is ful of elements and chemicals. There is NO pure water except in the lab at great expense.

  3. says

    I agree that New Yorker's need to pay as much, if not much more attention to prepping and self-reliance due to the inherent dangers of living on a highly populated island. Water will be the number one concern for us, and will be for any major city that suffers a short- or long-term disaster. I agree so much, that I am trying to do something about it with my blog and book on NYC Survival and self-reliance. Thank you for your site, and wonderful community!

  4. conservativepup says

    Not to mention the possibility of sabotage of a city's water system, I would think that would be a prime target. Seems to me that ESPECIALLY city/town folk would want to keep a good filter at the ready.

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