Introduction: DIY Berkey Water Purifier

Here we will show how we make our own water purifiers from used food grade plastic buckets, and Berkey water purification elements.

Materials Needed:

2 food grade Buckets w/ lids (these buckets are naturally BPA free)
a Berkey filter twin pack (we like the black, but the white ceramic are also very good)
a faucet kit

3/4" drill bit
7/16" drill bit

Step 1: Selecting the Buckets

We highly recommend food grade (BPA free) buckets. These can be obtained online, or picked up used at restaurants. We like the used ones due to the recycling and low embodied energy benefits. Any stackable bucket with lids from 3 gallon to 6 gallon, round or square can be used.

Step 2: Prime the Filters

The filters need to be primed before first use, or if the filters are left uncovered and dry out. Instructions come with the filter cartridges on priming, as well as a small "priming button".


Step 3: Top Bucket Modifications

Two 7/16" holes are drilled through the bottom of the top bucket and the lid of the bottom bucket. Insert the two (primed) Berkey filters into the top bucket with the rubber grommet between the bucket and the filter. Tighten the nuts on the filter shafts with the lid between the nuts and the bottom of the top bucket.

Step 4: Modifying the Bottom Bucket

Drill a 3/4" hole near the bottom of the bottom bucket, high enough so the spigot clears the bottom of the bucket. Two inches is usually sufficient. Install the spigot kit, with washers on both sides and nut on the inside. You don't want the spigot to be below the bottom of the bucket, but you want it as low as possible.

Step 5: Finished

Stack the buckets (seal the bottom bucket lid), fill the top bucket with water, cover lightly (don't seal) and enjoy!  Filters can be lightly "scraped" with a brillo pad when water flow decreases, and each filter element is good for approximately 3000 gallons. Multiple elements (1-6, depending on size of bucket) can be installed for increased flow. 

Comments

author
pilecast (author)2017-08-16

For a filter to be called a Purifier it has to kill/remove viruses. I have not found anything here about this product that says that. There are too many filter products on the market that call themselves Purifiers when they are not by definition.

author
sspence (author)pilecast2017-08-17

The certification document from berkey clearly specifies virus and bacteria removal levels. This, by definition, and certification, is a purifier.

author
data_2 (author)2016-09-02

Hi sspence,

I finally put my
together, using the white buckets I have a hard time seeing the water level. One improvement
I do differently is using clear or Simi clear buckets to see the water level I hope others will benefit from this.

author
DennisT55 (author)data_22016-09-19

One way is to put a hole as low as you can and put a clear tube(glass is best) that is secured vertical on the side of the bucket.

author
data_2 (author)DennisT552016-09-27

Nice one. what adhesive did you use?

author
JudyAA (author)2016-04-04

I still haven't bought the filters and am not familiar with the product, except from I have read here and there. So, perhaps this is a dumb question. Would it be possible to easily add the arsenic and fluoride PF-2 filters? Thanks.

author
sspence (author)JudyAA2016-04-05

Yes, they just screw on to the ends of the main filter elements.

author
DanielF168 made it! (author)2016-02-28

Easiest setup. DO THIS! The difference is visible; the benefits, tangible!

IMAG5085.jpg
author
amclendon (author)2015-04-10

I did something like this with food-grade 5-gallon buckets to take along on scout camping trips. Another way to increase throughput is to pressurize the top container. I cut a hole in the top bucket lid and hacked a garden-sprayer to pump in air.

author
TingisBob (author)2014-09-10

You can use a ceramic filter on the end of a tube large enough to fit over the filter's outlet, start a syphon and allow the water to syphon from one bucket to the other. Used this system for years in Africa. Btw, the filter can be turned up side down (iow the outlet pointing up) and it works fine. As the quantity of DHm needed increases, more filters can be added each with it's own tube.

author
Momo5556 (author)2014-09-09

Ido you think you could make one with a water bottle and rocks? That will be great ! Love your idea thanks

author
sspence (author)Momo55562014-09-09

Would not be very effective.

author
boardboyd (author)2010-05-26

 The Berkley Filters are only NSF 53 rated, so cysts like Giardia and Cryptosporidium (beaver fever), VOC's. They look like carbon filters so I would venture that they remove chlorine residual fairly well (if you want that removed). There is no mention of pore size in the quick look up I did so I would say that the microbial (different than cysts when talking about pathogens) may be suspect, or they just neglected to publish it.

If you're going to try and make surface water potable you should do a double barrier method of disinfection, usually with the second barrier being residual to ensure the containers you store the water in does not breed any pathogens from other vectors of contamination. 

author
sspence (author)boardboyd2010-05-26

 The black berkey filters are rated for removing cysts like Giardia and CS, as well as VOC's and most everything else including bacteria. Second level purification not necessary.

author
boardboyd (author)sspence2010-05-26

 I think you have misunderstood the my reasoning behind secondary disinfection (pathogen only); it is usually used as there are other vectors of contamination such as the following:

- contaminated secondary holding surfaces that are not disinfected that come in contact with the treated water i.e. the second container you have, if it is not cleaned and sanitized prior to being used may have pathogens on the surface that can multiply if given the right conditions

- contamination through introducing untreated water to stored treated water (spills, leaks)

These are even bigger issues if you are going to let the water sit in the secondary storage for any length of time, not a big issue if the water is going to be consumed right after treatment.

author
tukas (author)2010-05-24

Hey Steve!   You are sure a busy guy!   Still am working on that motor project.  Keep up the good work!!!!

author
sspence (author)tukas2010-05-25

 Thanks. Hope your project works out.

author
dchall8 (author)2010-04-19

What does the filter do?  Does it simply make tap water taste better or can you run pond water through it to make it drinkable?  Does the filter take out biologicals? 

author
sspence (author)dchall82010-04-19

It's more than a filter, it's a purifier. It will take out almost all biologicals and chemicals (.99999), making most any water potable. See http://www.green-trust.org/diyrainwater/Black_Berkey.pdf

author
Hoopajoo (author)2010-04-18

Do you have a source you can link us to for the Berkley filters?

author
sspence (author)Hoopajoo2010-04-18

 http://www.green-trust.org/products/

$99 / twin pack

author
underwhelmed (author)Hoopajoo2010-04-18

http://www.berkeyfilters.com/black-berkey.htm

author
dosadi (author)2010-04-18

Nice instructable.

Is there a reason for using two filters?  

author
sspence (author)dosadi2010-04-18

 The more filters, the faster the throughput.

About This Instructable

127,013views

161favorites

License:

Bio: Professionally, I'm an IT Engineer (Executive Level) and Electronics Tech. I'm a Amateur Radio Operator (KK4HFJ). I lived off grid, with Solar (PV ... More »
More by sspence:DIY I2C LCD Display with InputsRaspberry Pi & the Neo 6M GPSEarthquake / Vibration Sensor
Add instructable to: