As campers and hikers know, even the refreshing clean, cold water of mountain streams may contain may contain Giardia or other ‘bugs’ that can make you sick. But water is a necessity; and sometimes we have to use whatever water is available.
The DayZero UV-H2O-Box provides a way to more safely drink water you find wherever you happen to be – whether car camping or seeking adventure in your RV.
Ultraviolet light is a robust water sterilization system that kills 99.99% of bacteria, parasites and viruses in suspicious water. It is used worldwide in municipal water systems to treat the tap water you drink.
With the UV-H2O-Box we bring this technology to a small (very tough) device that you can take with you in your car, your RV or however you travel into parts unknown.
Our water box disinfects 1 gallon of water in 1 minute using a built-in, hand-cranked generator, or – when available – it can run on 12V DC power from a car or truck, or power from any ordinary AC electrical outlet.
In the Pacific Northwest we call it our “earthquake kit”. In Houston or New Orleans or Puerto Rico, you may think of it as what you need to get through a hurricane or flood. If you are in the Midwest, it would go in your tornado cellar. Wherever you live, it’s a good idea to be prepared to get by on your own for a while when disaster strikes.
Picture this scenario: a magnitude 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake strikes the Pacific Northwest. Electric lines are down and water mains are broken. Restoring normal services takes many days, weeks or even months (as in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria). What water is available isn’t safe to drink.
The UV-H2O-Box model WB-GX incorporates a hand-cranked generator to light a 14 Watt germicidal lamp, using UV-C radiation to treat water from any source for microbiological contaminants. Turning the crank for one minute treats one gallon of water. UV water treatment is used at industrial scale in many municipal water systems; the UV-H2O-Box applies the same method at the household scale. If the lights come back on before normal water service is restored, the UV-H2O-Box can also be powered by an AC adapter. The UV-H2O-Box can’t take the mud out of muddy water, but once you’ve filtered out the dirt you can see, the UV-H2O-Box will sanitize the microbiological contaminants that you can’t see.
Often when a public water system becomes contaminated, city officials issue a “Boil Water Advisory”. Treating tap water with the UV-H2O-Box is a convenient, energy-efficient alternative to boiling.
Houston, Texas, told its citizens to boil their water in February 2020. So did Emporia, Kansas. In Washington D.C., the water utility issued a “Boil Water Advisory” in June 2018 and again in November 2019. The Oregon Health Authority lists 7 Boil Water advisories in Oregon in 2019 alone.
Even when there isn’t a Boil Water Advisory in effect, Portland (Oregon) city water is risky for people with weakened immune systems. Cryptosporidium was found at low levels in Portland city water several years ago. As a result, the Portland Water Bureau now tests for Cryptosporidium almost daily, and has begun a project to treat our city water to remove Cryptosporidium. But the project won’t be completed until 2027! The Water Bureau’s website contains this passage:
“…the Portland Water [Bureau] does not currently treat for Cryptosporidium, but is required to do so under the drinking water regulations. Portland is working to install filtration by 2027 under a compliance schedule with Oregon Health Authority. In the meantime, Portland Water Bureau is implementing interim measures such as watershed protection and additional monitoring to protect public health. Consultation with public health officials has concluded that at this time, customers do not need to take any additional precautions.
Exposure to Cryptosporidium can cause cryptosporidiosis, a serious illness. Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach pain. People with healthy immune systems recover without medical treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with severely weakened immune systems are at risk for more serious disease. Symptoms may be more severe and could lead to serious life-threatening illness. Examples of people with weakened immune systems include those with AIDS, those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system, and cancer and transplant patients who are taking certain immunosuppressive drugs.
The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that a small percentage of the population could experience gastrointestinal illness from Cryptosporidium and advises that customers who are immunocompromised and receive their drinking water from the Bull Run Watershed consult with their health care professional about the safety of drinking the tap water.”
A careful reading shows that although local officials consider Portland city water to be safe, the CDC and EPA advise immunocompromised customers to consult their doctors.
The UV-H2O-Box model WB-X uses power from an AC adapter or automobile 12 Volt power outlet (the cigarette lighter outlet). It treats one gallon of water in one minute, with UV-C radiation as in municipal systems.
Water system infrastructure falls short in many cities in the developing world. Even when centralized treatment is provided, intermittent service and leaky distribution systems compromise the water quality before it reaches customers.
The urban population is growing fast. The UN predicts a nearly four-fold increase in urban population in the least developed countries from 2010 to 2050. Kofi Annan stated “the locus of global poverty is moving to cities, a process now recognized as the urbanization of poverty”.
Even now, six hundred million people (nearly one in ten of all the people on the planet) rely on boiling their water to make it safe to drink. Most use charcoal or wood as fuel, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. That number will increase with the urbanization of poverty, unless a practial alternative to boiling is found and deployed widely. But it is highly unlikely that municipal water treatment services will be able even to catch up, let alone keep up, with urban population growth in rapidly developing countries.
The UV-H2O-Box (“water box”) gives individual households in those places a way to disinfect their water, after they get it from unreliable and often contaminated city pipes, but before they use it. The family member who looks after the family’s health and nutrition can also make their drinking water safe, without using chemicals or creating smoke. The water box uses germicidal ultraviolet light to kill microbiological contaminants, and is a substitute for boiling and other point-of-use treatment methods. In addition, the family water box is a time-of-need solution; the water doesn’t have to be treated in advance or allowed to cool before using.
Right now, boiling is very widely used, but it is also time-consuming, polluting, and wasteful of resources. Smoke inhalation from biomass stoves kills more people every year than malaria. Other household water treatment options such as chlorine tablets and ceramic or biosand filters have their own inherent weaknesses, resulting in limited adoption. Skipping treatment altogether is even worse; over a million children die every year from water-borne disease. The water box provides a practical water treatment alternative for single families, enabling them to take charge of the safety of their daily water.
Our goal is to provide a better alternative to the 600,000,000 people who rely on boiled water every day. Every one of the current boxes we sell brings us closer to that goal.