Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bio Sand Filter

Even though I was a little bored this weekend and looking for things to do and after the sawdust log press idea was up and working I started on the Bio Sand Filter.

But first off I want to tell you about this. Remember a month or so ago I built a Solar Distiller and no matter what I did, the thing would not work? I finally gave up, excepting that it kicked my butt and it has been sitting there taunting me ever since.
You know I can't let it end like that. I refuse to let something kick me when I am down. I took the solar distiller apart weekend before last, redesigned it a little, then rebuilt it. You know what, the stupid thing works. Not enough to call momma about, but it works. Now it makes about a gallon of clean distilled water a week as long as the sun is out. Not bad for a two foot by two foot piece of glass.

The Bio Sand Filter will be a work in progress. I cannot fully set it up and get it working due to winter coming in. They don't work that well in freezing temps unless it is in an enclosed area or insulated to the max with some added source of heat. The living organisms need warm temperatures and oxygen to survive. So for the time being and since I was bored, I decided to go ahead and start building it.

The picture above is of the finished look. The five gallon bucket is mounted on the top of the 55 gallon drum. You can also see the outflow to the right.

Inside the five gallon bucket is a pipe with holes in it. This will filter out anything big and any heavy solids. Rain water will be poured into the bucket five gallons at a time or at a constant low flow.
On the underside of the lid and bucket combo a system of pipes and holes defuse the water as it's being poured into the top so the water will not disturb the living colony in the first few inches of the sand. This will let the water gradually enter the sand filter.
If more flow is needed then more perforated  pipe can be added. 

In the bottom of the barrel the collection system is made up of pipe with holes in it as well. This will be covered with pee gravel to about six inches and then sand up to two inches below the overflow.
All materials have to be washed and washed again before put into use.
A two inch layer of water will always be on top of the sand to keep the colony of bacteria eating organisms alive.

How this works is after the initial cleaning by flowing water thought it until it runs clear, three weeks or so the organisms will be alive and well. The unsafe water gets poured into to top, filters down through the sand and clean drinking water comes out the side. Fresh oxygenated water needs to be added weekly to keep everything alive and running right.
The flow on this filter will be determined after the set up and three week growth period. It should, without any problems, produce around 10 gallons of good water a day if not more.
Before I decide to drink any water this device filters, I will take samples from the source and from the outflow of the filter and take them to a lab. Even though I know this will work, I do not want to take any chances.

Around March I plan start the filter up. The idea is to have a float valve inside the top bucked and the rain water from the big tanks gravity feed the float. this will keep a constant flow of water and keep me in a constant supply of clean drinking water. This way I can increase or decrease my flow rate when needed.

I am not sure yet but I will probably still add a cap full of bleach to each gallon before storing. I will have to do some experimenting with that to see if it is needed.

That's all I got for now.  Check back and you see what my boring Sunday had in store.           


  1. very cool love the idea have a question tho the pipe in the bucket has little holes in it to filter out the big stuff what happens if it gets stuff around it and stops it up why couldn't you make a screen wire thingy to put down over it that you could take off and clean the bigger stuff off of it so the water flows better

    1. Anony, like I said, this is a work in progress and yes the pipe in the five gallon bucket will have that small window screen wrapped around it to make it easy to remove and clean leaving the stand pipe free and clear. I just forgot to show it.

  2. You missed your calling, or maybe not, MDR. I don't know what you're goal is with the college classes, but you should think about being a science teacher. You are like McGyver, Mr Gadget and Bill Nye the Science Guy all rolled into one. You have great ideas!


    1. HB, LOL, no I don't think I have the brain power to be a science teacher. Maybe practical science or classes on Stuff you can use but what they want you to learn in school is stuff you never use. Well then again....

  3. Very nice. I can't say that I quite understood how it worked but I'll keep watching.

    1. Thanks Becky, the best way I can explain it is, the bad water goes in the top, the good bugs in the sand eat the bad bugs in the water and the good water is pushed down through the sand and up through the pipe coming out the side ready to be consumed.