The Berkey Water Filter Contaminants Guide – How To Ensure Your Water Is Safe To Drink

by | Sep 13, 2016 | Headline News | 69 comments

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    This resource has been contributed by The Daily Prep


    Berkey Water Filter Top Portion
    If you’re a prepper, you know all about the Berkey water filter. It’s the shiny metal canister that sits on your counter, and filters water using gravity. It has been around for a while and has lots of fans, so it’s easy to find reviews and statistics on it.

    But one thing that’s always left me speechless, is the GIANT list of contaminants that Berkey publishes on their packaging and their website. While it is impressive to see, you would have to be a PhD in water purification to understand what all the contaminants are, and how they affect you.

    Black Berkey BoxContaminants listed on the Black Berkey filter elements box (203 total).

    Ever heard of Dibromochloromethane?

    How about Hexachlorocyclopentadiene?

    Yes, those are real. And they are just 2 of the 203 contaminants listed on the box. Holy smokes!

    So as I stare at that list on the box, what I’m really wondering is:

    1. Where are these contaminants coming from, and
    2. What are the health effects that they are having on us?

    The Water Contaminants Guide

    My designer and I thought it would be a helpful resource to create an illustrated contaminants guide, to help people better understand the sources and effects of our water contaminants.

    We put together this illustrated reference guide, that quickly shows some of the many sources of water contamination, and the related health effects. The good news is–Berkey wipes them out!

    The Berkey Water Filter Contaminants GuideLike this infographic? Use it on your own site, or get more solutions for water security at The Daily Prep.

    For more resources like this infographic visit The Daily Prep


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      1. We are looking to acquire a water filter. Can any Berkey owners advise the product to purchase for a family of 4.

        Thank you

        • JC
          I would go with the Big or the Royall they will do just fine. I would also look into Sawyer systems to go along with it. Like I always say “2 is 1 and 1 is none”.

          Sawyer make a straw also, and does Life Straw. I have both. Both are good, but the Sawyer cleans more water. I find Life Straws easier to use. That is why I have both.


          • Lifestraws for traveling, larger filter for BOL or home.

            • Redoubt, i agree with you, these big Berkeys are great for a static location. For on the go i use the Kadadyn pocket filter. The Kadadyn pocket filter is small, light weight, and will filter over 13000 gallons of water, yes that’s right,it’s not a typo, it’s 13000 gallons before you need to replace the filter.

          • Sarge, you actually made a better choice with the Sawyers. They also a have Water Filter Bottle which I swear by. I’ve tried a Life Straw. It will do for an emergency situation if it’s all you have but remember it’s only good for 264 gallons of water. Sawyers are good for anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000,000 gallons of water depending on which product you have. The Water Filter Bottle has a filter which can be cleaned and never needs replacing. Also has a built-in straw. I keep one in the truck and another as a spare. Can’t go wrong with a Sawyer.

            • WHAT A JOKE! Berkey black filters have a 100% failure rate and the company does NOTHING about it! I had 1 berkey and my wife had 2 of them and EVERY FILTER FAILED! Why would anyone want advice from such a miserable failure of a company??? Try aquarain or zen or sawyer and KNOW your water is safe…..

              • Not sure what happened to my previous post, I laid it out. Forget Berkey, you can get an under the sink reverse osmosis system with a 3 stage filtration system and membrain for like $150 at Home Depot. I used that for 12 years and it worked flawless. Amazing clean water for cooking and drinking.

                I would go head to head with my Katadyn pocket ceramic filter 13,000 gallons, that takes out 99.99 impurities compare to Berkeys 99.95 claims. And yes the filter breaks off in the Berkey and you drink all the contaminates the next gulp.. Unless they fixed the entire problem. Go buy a Reverse Osmosis system for the same money.

                I also have various sawyers, and a few life straws and the Katadyn ceramic pocket filter for $300+ What is clean drinking water worth? Your life that what its worth. I will buy bottled water before I buy a Berkey.

                ~WWTI… When I get my well put in, I will be using a Reverse Osmosis system tied into the plumbing right under the sink with its own spicket.

                • an under the sink reverse osmosis system with a 3 stage filtration system and membrain for like $150 at Home Depot

                  And when the water stops flowing, I still can filter any water source with a Berkey.

              • I would agree. I would look very closely and choose an Aqua Rain. It is superior in many ways other than the filters which stop bacteria down to .2 microns. Their stainless containers have been extruded and have no folds or welds for the water to dwell in and grow bacteria. I own 2 Aqua Rains and an extra 3rd set of filters. I have used my first filter for between 5 and 6 years with no problems of need for a filter change. DO your homework closely. I understand how popular Berkey’s are. I won’t debate that. I just wanted better quality and the price is quite fair.

              • All of them have major flaws , but this article is a great advert for Berkey ? There is a far better way and far more cost effective that will not plug up like either Berkey or Sawyer. Like everything else most Americans want the big shiny one or the one that has the biggest advertising budget to fool the masses. That makes it better ?

        • Hey Jason,

          As I’ve said, we have the Royal and the Big Berkey.
          RUN… As fast as you can, away from them.

          The issue with the glue on the black elements still is an issue. I will not trust them. To be fair, I have never used the black elements. I found out about it from reading reviews and the problems people were having.

          It’s a nice system for the chambers. But, it sucks that you can’t trust the filters not to fail without warning and you may end up consuming contaminated water.

          The other problem I now have, is the fact that there is no independent lab that has verified their claims. For the price they charge, you would expect them to want this, and then brag about it. 🙁

          Caveat Emptor.

          Y’all play nice now. 🙂

          • We’ve been using the same black filters for six years without any problems at all. Since our county doesn’t add fluoride to the water and the natural fluoride is so small (single digit ppm), we took the fluoride filters out to give us more storage capacity. My son takes the unit apart occasionally to scrub it out like the instructions say. There must have been a bad batch of filters if they are falling apart.

            • Test Post//// Where did my post just disappear to?


            • Homesteader,

              On the web it seems to be a 50/50 chance of getting a bad set. Mine are still in their package. I went with the Doulton filters to use instead of the black. Had to make sure I got the long “tail” set to insure they will screw down.

              There are reports of some short tails that will not screw down in the Royal. I’m just keeping the Big Berkey as an emergency back-up.

              When the funds come again, I’d like to get the Aqua Rain next. They have had solid reviews. Until then, I’ll still be using the Royal.

              Y’all enjoy your evening.

            • By the looks of my labatory toilet, the one I don’t use often, I will definitely use the Berkey for every water need in the kitchen.

          • It’s true that the black filters would come unglued after soaking in the tank; but, that was back in 2013 and before then. Late in 2013 or in early 2014 Berkey solved that problem and not they’re no longer glued but held together by a reliable method. The only way to break them is to drop them — so be careful when handling them especially when they’re wet.

          • hillbilly, you are so right. YES the black filters have the same failure problem, RUN AWAY FROM BERKEY!

            • Aqua Rain !!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Massive advertising works very well here in USSA. They also plug up very easily with less than pristine water , like a creek or lake or whatever? The water out of your faucet, is technically close to pristine in todays world of dirty water. So when it is not available you will have failure and it will be an expensive boat anchor. Neither Berkey or Sawyer process water rapidly either. But they work fine with regular tap water or any source of clean water.

        • Hi Jason,

          Thx for reading and reaching out. For a family of 4 I would recommend the “Royal” size. My wife and I have 2 very small children, and we refil our “big berkey” probably every 2-3 days. When the kids are bigger, it will likely be every day unless we move up to the Royal. Really just depends on how big of an area you have and how often you want to refill it. Google “Berkey Guy” for a really solid Berkey dealer. -Dan

        • We have a Big Berkey for two of us. We should have bought the next larger size because we are such heavy water drinkers plus we use it for all our cooking, canning, and even the dog’s water. For a family of 4, I would recommend one that is rated for about 8 to 10 people. You may find that you’ll drink more water once you get a Berkey because it tastes so much better.

        • A family of four?

          I would recommend the Crown Berkey. It holds six gallons. It’s the biggest one they have to offer.

          I use it with one element and it lasts up to a week before I have to through the process of adding more water again.

          You can get at but better prices can be found on Ebay and Amazon.

        • I own the Berkey Royale, and am happy with it. I’ve been told that it won’t filter out viruses–as most filters cannot. The only one I’m told that will is the Katadyn, which kills viruses because the filter element is impregnated with silver. Might want to do more research before investing $300 or so…

        • I own a Berkey. Filter all of our drinking and cooking water with it. Get the biggest you can afford with extra filters. Plus another means to filter water like a Sawyer which are inexpensive and easily transportable.

          • And can I suggest extra spigots??
            Mine messed up and I got a new one in a few days.

        • The Berkey filter is good, but the cheap plastic tap wears out and starts to leak. They really need to change it to a decent metal tap.

          • Berkey has a metal tap as an accessory. We have one on ours and it works great.

        • I have read MANY bad reviews regarding these water filters. Please do your own heavy research before buying anything you would depend on in a disaster!

          • I got one of the Berkey Royales that came with the defective filters. The glue had separated,and so water could (hypothetically) bypass the filter element and NOT filter out anything. The Berkey Guy replaced the filter elements for me, and everything has been fine since then. There may be better systems on the market–don’t know to judge such things, but I feel like they took care of me, and I’ve no complaints with the filtration system…

        • Big Berkley works fine for my family of 3 we fill it every other day

          • Wow! There’s only 2 of us and we have to fill our Big Berkey 3 to 4 times a day. Sometimes I wish we’d had gotten a bigger one.

      2. The dipshit forgot to list the independent lab that verifies all these shitty claims from Berkley and the report that the black elements have been fixed.(glue issues) 🙁

        REALLY, Mac???

        • I might add that I do have 2 Berkeys, a Big berkey, and a Royal Berkey. I bought the first before I knew about the glue issue and bought the Doulton water filters (white) for the Royal.
          The Big berkey was a gift and is 2 small for the Doulton’s. 🙁

          Oh the lesson we learn after our money is gone from our hands.

        • Just do a Google search for ‘Berkey filter lab tests’, you’ll find several lab reports. Berkey is not exaggerating.

      3. I’m sure that Sawyer can’t hold a candle to a Berkley (but there aren’t many kitchens in the BOL’s that have a counter to put it on). heheh…

        We use them as well as two inline filters plus a UV “light filter” that catches ANYTHING the filters may have missed.

        *Remember that even urine is drinkable as long as you distill it first. Hey, first post too? incredible…

        • A coffee filter works better than a failed berkey.

          • Yes it does. Most folks do not realize that turbidity and floaters will plug up nearly every filter out there very quickly. But hey, its your money ! There are numerous easy and more cost effective ways to get clean purified water that is far more portable as well. But a herd of sheep will always go back to the same place and get hosed. Nothing new at all in USSA today !

      4. I meant to add to the first poster (after I saw it), that since Berkley CLAIMS these ‘trace’ toxins are in the waters, then what hell use is Sawyer, Life-Straw, etc if they do not keep out the very same? (You’d come down ill …so I’m leery of their “claims” …on the flip side, they ARE ‘superior’ filters for home use. Never tried anything by them out in the wild, and I wouldn’t since what I do works nicely …perhaps not the very best, but I’m still here and never got the Hershey Squirts out there. 🙂

      5. Water Filtration Systems are not 100% – but … it is better than not having one at all.

        My ground water, I’m very much satisfied with – other areas (notably city area’s) where there is or has been manufacturing present – I would be very much concerned with.

        • Satori gave a link a couple of years ago for a filter system that was very inexpensive, made from white buckets and everything is pre drilled. Unfortunately, i have a new phone and lost my link to that site. Perhaps you can repost, Satori??? I bought 3, i think it would be beneficial to repost.

          • Ceramic Water Filter

            h ttp://

            kit available for $61.50
            or buy your own components and do it yourself

            • has them too. Youd have to do your own drilling but it was fun to do. Last forever too.

        • If I had to rely on questionable water, I would run it through a pre-filter to remove any floaters, then pump it through a Katadyn or similar – into a Berkey! And after that I might still sip it through a Sawyer Mini or a Lifestraw! Dehydration or water borne gastrointestinal illness will kill you before anything else (except hypothermia).

      6. Ok nothing is perfect!
        That is why I will use my home made filter first, 3″ Water PVC pipe, Charcoal, Sand, (swimming pool sand), X6 . Sand and charcoal in coffee filter. Also where the water goes in is a swimming pool chlorine, Then it goes into my Berkey. Then though my Sawyer or my life straw, depending on what I’m using the water for.

        When I can I will run it though my home made filter then my Berkey then boil it if possible, then use it.


        • Sarge, I am sure you’re aware of staying away from the pool tabs that have the tiny green specks 10-4?

          We like both Sawyer (bag system type) and Life-Straws (and just like your DIY filter you can make yourself a UV filter as well with no need for a scientist to assist in building it). (Plans are all over the web for many different kinds of DIY’s or commercial-units of course).

          The downside is that many companies leave out preppers entirely, forcing you into needing a power source (120v) before it’ll work right.

          If we were forced out of our BOL by whatever, we’d most likely on need a boil (as there isn’t much to be found in these mountain waters). Where you are? Dang …I believe I’d be distilling my heart out AND boiling (and STILL using a ‘berk’ and Sawyer. lol… I hate desert aquifers /// long story.

          • “E”
            Thanks, and yes no GREENIES. With our group we have one person in charge of the water that is there job. They also have help, and each of them knows the other job.

          • Equorial, you made the right choice with the Sawyers. The region where my BOL is located has no water issues, but the family and I still filter water anyway. Better to be safe than sorry. I’m neutral on the Berkeys since I’ve never tried one. I hear pros and cons about them all the time but I’ve always been afraid to risk any $$$ on one.

        • I have the same view as Sgt–I will do all necessary and prudent before running through the Berkey if I know it comes from the pond near me.
          coffee filters, pool shock, boil, etc.

      7. FTW: I hear you loud and clear. Our sources are one of three choices. Artesian well (always running over a tad), or two mountain springs (both ‘tapped into) as well. NONE of them tested as needing any filtration – but accidents DO happen and we hate surprises …which is why we filter the hell outta all of it just in case then zap it with UV (no virus save one can take UV that I am aware of that is ‘water-borne’).

        If I were in the city, I suppose I’d drink trucked in Springwater because there’s no way I’m drinking the crap they’ve added to municipal waters. New Orleans gets 99% of their water from the Mississippi …and what goes in has about everything in it, yet what comes out (at the facility), is pure H2O (that is then fed into ‘leaded lines’ that were laid ages ago except for the newer sections ‘above’ places like The French Quarter and other in “old side” (if there’s anything left of it after the hurricane bathed the place down).

        In these times we live, those water plants are as large a target as our grid, as it would be pure devastation before a tainted water-supply was discovered in time (by then I’d imagine 100’s of thousands would be afflicted with ‘whatever’ was used.

        One irritant we sometimes have is that after a period of heavy rains (over a week or so), it appears that there are ‘cave-ins’ somewhere in the vein that feeds the well, and it goes ‘turbid’ (laden with muddy-water). When that happens we just leave it be until it cleans up (about 10 – 20 days) and feed off the springs (they never have gotten turbid, but everything is subject to change I suppose).

        As for yesterday, we ‘combed and searched and monitored until satisfied that NOTHING AT ALL seemed to be amiss (from the normal amiss) and so have returned to business as usual. The wife found an article that Hitlery had ‘croaked’ which is why her double was seen speaking to the young girl (according to the source). We’ve seen no double thus far.

        I thought it extremely odd that there are no ‘health reports” about Hillary to be found anywhere, pertaining to her progress or recession or anything. Kinda odd to me…

        • Artesian Wells are the choice to have … but … not everybody has that in their area. I know of two in a 5-6 mile radius … but I am good to go with a hand pump well … if needed a pond .. and three swamps to extract water … as long as my “well” don’t get poisoned” … I’m good to go.

      8. Unless present in large amounts, none of the inorganic compounds listed above will be enough to harm you in the short term. The micro-organisms, however, in any amount, can kill you in a heartbeat. Typhoid, cholera, dysentery, it’s a long list.

        If you don’t have a filter system, you’d better be boiling all of your water, and if you do have a filter system, you’d better be boiling your water. Face it, without medical facilities and antibiotics, getting anything from your water is going to be a killer.

        Your being sick in an SHTF environment, let alone dying, can mean doom for your entire family.

        Certainly makes boiling your water a little bit easier to take.

        • Smokey, damn right about boiling water. Boiling water is ALWAYS an option. I don’t care what anyone else says. A Coleman 2-burner butane campstove and 2 steel pots are enough to do the job. Boil for NO LESS THAN 10 minutes. I’ve done both filtering and boiling. Doesn’t hurt to use both methods. Also, keep plenty of butane on hand for the campstove.

          • Brave,

            I’ve always been curious.
            How much energy do y’all have stocked?
            ie: propane, kerosene, diesel, wind, solar, hell… even cords of wood.

            Right after food, water, ammo, stuff like that, energy is just as important to make life easier. Without it, you won’t be boiling much water.

            As I said, just curious.

            • You can’t have too much fuel, when SHTF is around you’re going to need a fire going pretty much all day and night for cooking, boiling water, and heating, for much of the year.

              If folks think a SHTF garden is going to be labor intensive, so is obtaining fuel in any form.

      9. A fine presentation. Thank you for the time and effort you put in to compile it.

      10. Anyone with experience with AquaCera Filters? Thinking about getting some

      11. Berkey’s are too expensive. I’m looking up Sawyers

      12. Berkey has had lingering problems for a while. Safer to have back ups. Water is to important to chance.

      13. EPA Proposes New Water Rules for Nuclear Emergencies

        h ttp://

        “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”

        LMAO !!!

      14. Water Purifier Bucket Adapter Kit

        ht tps://

        great low cost option

        and most people probably know this
        but unless the water you are filtering is clear

        prefilter it first,run it through several layers of fine cloth
        or another option is to let a bucket of water sit overnight so the sediment settles to the bottom and then skim the water off the top

        the river that runs through this area has so much sediment at times it would clog a filter in a heart beat,that’s any filter

      15. other options

        h ttp://

        h ttp://

      16. another option

      17. So I’m very curious, many here say they bought this or that filter system.

        How many of you have it set up in your house and use it 24/7 for drinking and cooking water?

        Yes I have life straws and they do sit in a go bag. I have bottled water that we use and cycle for freshness. I also have multiple filters that process all my drinking and cooking water.

        One thing I took away from Flint, MI was that municipal water systems are required to notify you of significant contamination events within 3 months, yum! Thus my water is filtered 24/7.

        • We use a Zen filter (rated just below a non leaking berkey by natural news) for all our drinking water. We have well water with no flouride so thats not an issue. I also have an aquarain and a pro-pur. Zen is the least expensive and very highly rated. Look on ebay for deals.

        • PTPO – We’ve had a Big Berkey for six years, use it constantly and have had zero problems. We use the water from it for drinking, cooking, canning and even for the dog. There’s only two of us but we refill it three or four times a day. We were water drinkers before we got the Berkey but now we drink even more than before simply because it tastes better. Our county puts so much chlorine in the water that it smells like a swimming pool. Without filtering, our water has less than 100 ppm of particulates. After filtering, zero. For county water, it is exceptionally clean minus the chlorine. Being in the mountains probably helps. They don’t even add fluoride which we’re extremely happy about. Once a quarter, we get a water report from the county. In all the places we’ve lived, this is the first one that does that.

          We also have Sawyer filter bottles for when we are away from home. That way we can use water from nearly any source for a refill. And we have Katadyn filters in our get home bags.

        • ME–I have been using a Berkey Light for about 5 years.
          My water is not fit to drink judging by my lavatory toilet.
          I cook with the Berkey water and fill it about once every morning.
          I cook every day so you can guage how often a two person family needs to fill it.
          I also keep a gallon of chilled, filtered water in the fridge in case of excessive use for a day.

          • I also received 3 free Berkey Sports bottles when purchasing long ago; two are in the BOBs and one in my husband’s truck.

      18. If you are dependent on ‘city water’ you better have a back up or a lot of storage. City air is full of all kinds of crap, but rainwater may be better than what comes through your pipes. You can’t just set up a collection system – or use roof runoff – because all manner of crap will settle out onto your roof or collection system. Get or build several mini collectors that you can set out – when it is raining – and collect the rainfall. Once it stops, fold them up and bring them back in.

        • Grandpa had a cistern as a child, it was his chore during a good rain to wait 20 minutes for the rain to wash the bird crap off the slate roof. Then throw the valve that put the clean rain water into the tank. Screw up and the whole family could die.

          No pool shock chlorine available in those days.

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