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A Seattle-based company called Mountain Safety Research has teamed up with MIOX of Albuquerque, N.M. with funding help from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to create a small, lightweight device designed to easily purify water on the go. A consumer version of the technology will be available this fall.
The MSR MIOX Purifier uses electricity to convert table salt into a disinfectant that can render harmless many toxins and impurities as powerful as E. coli and crytposporidium.
The device uses a camera battery to provide the electricity. Users pour a small amount of water into the purifier, shake it, and then press a button. The process that follows inside the purifier uses electrolysis to created a mixed-oxidant solution. The user then pours this solution into a canteen or other container of questionable water, and within 30 minutes the company claims that water will be safe to drink, though it may take longer if the water contains stronger organisms. Purity indicator strips are included to show that the water is safe after the wait period.
About the size and shape of a small flashlight, the system weighs less than 4 ounces. It can treat about 50 liters of water with one salt pellet and 200 liters on one set of batteries. It also meets the EPA standards requiring that 99.9% of all viruses be inactivated.
The U.S. Navy has been testing a military version of the purifier with its SEAL special operations combat teams. Their conclusion was that the water that came from the MIOX filter tasted better than the water treated with the standard iodine tablets they had been using.
The purifier is set to launch at selected retailers carrying MSR's outdoor survival products sometime this fall, and it will carry a retail price of about $130.