Everyone knows that a person cannot survive more than ten days without water. That is why in various schools of extreme survival and young scout camps so much attention is paid to the ways of obtaining water in the wilderness. For example, for hunters or fishermen, the question of proper behavior in a swampy area is relevant. Is it possible to drink water from the swamp, and what precautions should be taken not to pick up some infectious disease? This topic has a lot of interesting nuances, which will not hurt even those who shortly is not going on a distant hike.
Two kinds of wetlands
The conversation about whether you can drink water from a swamp should begin with the fact that all reservoirs of this kind can be divided into two large groups:
Bogs of the first type are formed mainly in areas rich in peat, which is a complex mixture of various organic compounds. The main distinguishing feature of young bogs is the actively proceeding process of decomposition and transformation of underwater rocks. Such places often have viscous swamps, silted pits, where movie characters like to die, and gas discharges emitted by vegetation decomposing at the bottom. Such bogs can be up to 2 or more meters deep, and on topographic maps, they are often marked as impassable.
Old bogs are objects of a completely different type. Decomposition and formation processes have long been completed here, so the bottom, as a rule, is solid and the danger of drowning is minimal. They are just marshy areas of the territory, most of which are covered with standing water. Usually, there is a large variety of vegetation, unlike young marshes, which look more like a liquid desert.
An experienced pathfinder will easily distinguish a young bog from an old one. To do this, it is enough to lift a small amount of bottom rock to the surface. If it resembles ordinary, only very wet soil, it is the formed soil of the old bog. If the studied peat looks like fresh horse manure, in which fragments of half-rotten vegetation are found, it means that decomposition processes are still going on in the depths of this body of water, which, of course, is reflected in the composition of water and its quality.
Characteristics of swamp water
So, whether you can drink water from a bog depends on which bog you find yourself in. The composition of water from mature ponds is not much different from water from ordinary rivers or forest streams. Moreover, in some respects, it is even superior to open water. For example, mice and other rodents are extremely rare in swamps, so the probability of contracting leptospirosis or other diseases carried by these animals is extremely low here. In addition, moss and sphagnum grow in large quantities in bogs, which have a strong bactericidal effect – the substances released by these plants kill many germs and pathogenic bacteria.
As for young bogs, the situation is the opposite. Firstly, the water in such reservoirs is almost always turbid, with a brown tint and a lot of sediment, which cannot be removed by simple sedimentation. Secondly, as a result of active rotting and decomposition of benthic vegetation, organic matter enters the water, which is very harmful to the human body.
It turns out that the water from the old marshes is quite suitable for drinking, although, of course, additional treatment, in this case, will not be superfluous. But if you find yourself in young “living” bogs, it is better to have at least a small supply of water.
Methods of treatment
There are several ways to treat water taken from the swamp, after which it can be consumed without much fear – the risk of contamination will be minimal. It is best to use a variety of filters, especially since modern industry produces them in a fairly wide range. The most effective in this situation are jug-type devices with a filtering element based on activated carbon. Special disinfecting tablets also give a good result – they take up little space in the backpack, and the degree of purification provides very high.
You should also pay attention to the fact that swamp water contains a large amount of iron – sometimes its concentration is several times higher than acceptable standards. The problem can be solved with the most common manganese dioxide. It is sufficient to add a few crystals to the water and jelly-like sediment is formed in the vessel, which is easily filtered out using gauze.
You should not neglect elementary boiling. An additional advantage of this method is that it can improve the taste of marsh water. For this purpose, fresh marsh berry, birch bark, or finely cut spruce twigs are added to the kettle.
So, is it possible to drink water from the marsh? If we are talking about an established natural body of water, which is characterized by bogs and abundant vegetation, the water in them, as a rule, is not at all worse than in rivers and lakes. The only exceptions are those bogs, in the swampy depths of which the processes of fermentation and decomposition of bottom peat are still going on. In such places, water contains a lot of organics, which is not always good for our bodies.
Bogs are densely overgrown, and livestock and people do not graze there. Of course, there are wild animals, of the large wild boars and beavers. The water temperature is now 4 degrees.
What microorganisms dangerous to humans may be contained in such water?
The most notorious aquatic contagion:
Shigellae (bacterial dysentery) have the form of sticks without flagella, with rounded ends measuring 2-3 by 0.5-0.7 microns. They do not form spores or capsules. Shigella is poorly resistant to physical, chemical, and biological environmental factors. In water, soil, food, objects, utensils, vegetables, fruits, and shigella live for 5-14 days. At 60°C shigellae die in 10-20 minutes, at 100°C – instantly. Direct sunlight kills Shigella within 30 minutes. In the absence of sunlight, high humidity, and moderate temperature, shigellae remain viable in the soil for up to 3 months. In gastric juice, shigellae can survive for only a few minutes. In stool samples, shigellae are killed by an acidic environment and antagonist bacteria after 6-10 hours. In dried or frozen feces, shigellae are viable for several months.
Apparently in remote swamps, where there are no people, the chances of catching one are very low.
Dysentery amoeba. Amoeba cysts are resistant to the external environment. Survives in water for several months. But multiplies only in the human colon. Accordingly, it is not found in a deserted swamp.
Intestinal giardia can be more dangerous. One place says that beavers can get it, too. Given the number of beavers in the swamps near the City.
But the Great Soviet Encyclopedia says that beavers have their type of giardia and it can not be transmitted to humans. I don’t know: who to believe here?
Liver suckers – parasitizes not only humans but also sheep and cows. It requires a temperature of 20-30 degrees in the water for larval development.
Fowler’s Naegleria is similar. You need water of 20-30 degrees. Now it is unlikely to find such in a swamp near City.
Is there any danger to humans parasite that lives in the water at temperatures below 10 degrees, and does not need people and pets to reproduce?