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Water purification on the Noatak River in Alaska

Will ultra violet purification work? I’m concerned about glacial silt in the river and wondering if I should bring a water filter rather than the ultra violet light.

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@MGB 

Thanks for reaching out!

I lived in the interior of Alaska (Fairbanks) for 6 years and had a lot of great trips on, or near, some of the abundant rivers there. While I never made it to the Noatak, I did trips near the Chena, Tanana, Yukon, Nenana, Delta rivers, and even a few down near the Kenai river. If you are wanting to use a UV purifier, you will need to have a very good pre-filtration system. The glacial silt, sediment, and debris in Alaskan rivers is abundant and makes for water so murky your UV purifier will struggle to reach all the water.

In addition to pre-filtering, you may want to set up a system (it could be as simple as a bucket) by which you can pull water from the river and let it sit for a few hours to allow some of the heavier sediment to settle before filtering/purifying. Even if you choose to leave the UV purifier and go with a filter, you'll want to make sure you are well versed in cleaning and/or back-flushing the filter as it will clog regularly due to the sediment. We have an Expert Advice article, How to Choose a Water Filter or Purifier, that also has some useful information that you may find helpful.

Hopefully this helps, thanks!

 

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