Berkey Filter Systems

Choose Your Berkey System

There are 7 Berkey water filter systems to choose from below.  The Berkey Light, the Travel Berkey, and the Go Berkey Kit are considered indoor/outdoor systems, while the other 4 are considered indoor systems. Review the dimensions, holding capacity, and flow rates below to help guide you to the perfect system to fit your needs. Or, you can read this article if need help choosing the correct Berkey Filter System! All systems function with the bare minimum of 2 black berkey filters (list of contaminants removed here).


Recommended #

of People

Holding Capacity

in Gallons*

Max Number

of Filter Elements*

Flow Rate**

(gallons/hr - full expansion)

Travel Berkey1-31.522.75
Big Berkey1-42.2547
Berkey Light2-52.7547.5
Royal Berkey2-63.2548
Imperial Berkey4-8+4.5616.5
Crown Berkey6-12+6826
* Holding capacities and flow rates are approximated.
** Full Expansion flow rate is a disaster rating and based upon keeping upper chamber full with water consistently.

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    • Rainwater & Stormwater Harvesting for Climate Resilience

      Past weather records and future climate projections show that freshwater resources are extremely vulnerable to climate change. As global temperatures are expected to rise further still, together with a shift in rainfall patterns, both water availability and water quality are likely to be adversely affected. A Note on Berkey: When if comes to harvesting and filtering rain water, we caution that that the Berkey may not be tested for all the ground and/or roofing materials the water may be coming in contact with.  As a result, we recommend the end-user make an effort determine this potential water contact and compare this to what the Berkey has been tested to remove. Changes in rainfall patterns will significantly alter stream flow rates. Lower rainfall will cause runoff events to occur less frequently, and the amount of water that runs off surfaces into streams on these occasions will be much less. In addition, some areas may experience more frequent or extended periods of drought, resulting in drier soils and a reduced annual stream flow in those catchments. Sporadic flooding events may increase peak flow rates, while changes in wet season may alter the timing of peak flow. All the above factors will adversely impact the availability and quality of water, as well as the reliability of the water supply for meeting the water demands of various sectors that depend on that supply for their livelihood or survival. Clearly we need to make a plan if we hope to survive in the future ahead. So what are our options?Harvesting ground water.Essentially there are two main sources of runoff that can be harvested for reuse: runoff from roofs (roof water), and runoff from ground surfaces (storm water). There are subtle differences in both the quality and microbial composition of these sources, as well as they way in which they are harvested. Rainwater harvested from roof tops is typically decentralized, where individual homeowners take responsibility for managing the collection, storage and treatment of rainwater collected off the roofs of the structures on their property. By comparison, the collection, storage and treatment of storm water in large surface or underground reservoirs for reuse takes a centralized approach. Harvesting rainwater can reduce a household's water consumption by as much as a third, particularly if this water is used inside the home rather than purely for outdoor use — that's a substantial water saving that also equates to significant financial savings when the household water bill arrives. If every home were to harvest rainwater, overall consumption would be significantly reduced, alleviating pressure on stressed water resources. Untreated rainwater poses a very low health risk when used for non-potable purposes. While health studies suggest the health risks of ingesting untreated rainwater are low, harmful pathogens or chemicals can potentially be washed- or leached off roof surfaces to contaminate the water. It is therefore advisable to filter or treat harvested rainwater appropriately before using it for drinking. A major constraint in centralized storm water harvesting is the availability of suitably large spaces to store large volumes of water collected from sporadic rainfall events. This is particularly problematic in densely populated urban areas where vacant real estate is scarce and consequently in high demand, and where large spaces typically have large price tags. An alternative is to utilize existing underground aquifers to store storm water that has been appropriately treated. Or to put it another way, to recharge existing groundwater supplies with treated storm water — a practice referred to as 'managed aquifer recharge' (MAR). Essentially, it involves channeling treated storm water or wastewater into natural underground aquifers, which speeds up the rate at which groundwater supplies are recharged. This groundwater is then available for reuse as and when needed. As storm water harvesting is a relatively new concept, there are very few scientifically based guidelines on storm water reuse and good practice to protect public health. Considering that all manner of pollutants can wash off roads and pavements to enter the stormwater system, some form of treatment is necessary to ensure public health and safety. The World Heath Organization (WHO) currently has guidelines available for the safe reuse of treated wastewater, but this does not yet include storm water harvesting and reuse. It is imperative that safety guidelines for storm water harvesting are developed and made available so that this relatively untapped and under-utilized resource can be more fully exploited to supplement urban water supplies.

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    • Rainwater & Stormwater Harvesting for Climate Resilience
    • Can Berkey Remove Microplastics From Water?

      Microplastics have been found in surface waters across the world, but scientists have only recently begun to examine the extent of these tiny plastic contaminants in groundwater sources. So, does a Berkey remove microplastics? A recent study has just found microplastic fibers in fractured limestone aquifers — groundwater systems that serve as a source of 25% of the world's drinking water. Quick Answer: The Black Berkey elements have been tested to remove viruses to the nanometer range which suggests that contaminants much larger in size, such as plastic fibers should also be removed. However, since actual testing of plastic fibers has not yet been conducted, we cannot officially make that claim.Does Berkey Remove Microplastics? A zoomed in picture of a microplastic found in drinking water. The study, which was recently published in the scientific journal Groundwater, found microplastic fibers, as well as an array of medicinal and other common household pollutants, in two Illinoisan aquifer systems."Plastic in the environment breaks down into microscopic particles that can end up in the guts and gills of marine life, exposing the animals to chemicals in the plastic," explained John Scott, a research scientist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and co-author of the study. "As the plastics break down, they act like sponges that soak up contaminants and microbes and can ultimately work their way into our food supply." Water seeps through fissures and cracks in limestone, and may also carry sewage and runoff containing contaminants from roadways, agricultural land and landfills into underground aquifers, Scott explained. For the study, the scientists analyzed 17 groundwater samples collected from springs and wells supplied by highly fractured limestone aquifers — 11 of which were located in close proximity to the St. Louis metropole, while 6 were located in outlying rural areas of northwestern Illinois. Sixteen of the seventeen samples analyzed were contaminated with microplastic fibers. According to the study, the sample with the highest concentration — containing 15.2 microplastic fibers per liter — came from a spring situated near St. Louis. However, according to Scott, because no risk assessment studies have been undertaken and microplastic levels in drinking water are not regulated, determining the health implications of those concentrations presents somewhat of a challenge. On comparing the concentrations of microplastics in groundwater samples with that of surface waters nearby, the researchers found that the concentrations were similar to levels found in streams and rivers in and around Chicago.Does Berkey Water Filter Remove Microplastics? A Diagram of how Microplastics are created.Upon examining the samples the scientists identified various personal health and other common household contaminants as well as microplastic fibers, suggesting that microplastics may originate from household onsite wastewater treatment systems. Polyester fibers are shed when clothing is washed, and make their way into the septic system with laundry water. From there they can potentially leach through soils with wastewater effluent, ultimately ending up in the groundwater, particularly in aquifers such as these where surface water tends to interact more readily with groundwater This study is the first of its kind and is only the tip of the iceberg, says Scott, who anticipates that microplastic contamination of both surface and groundwater systems will continue to be an issue for many years ahead. "Even if we quit plastics cold turkey today, we will still deal with this issue for years because plastic never really goes away," Scott said. "It is estimated that 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste have been produced since the 1940s, and 79 percent of that is now in landfills or the natural environment. To me, it is such a weird concept that these materials are intended for single use, yet they are designed to last forever." The problem is that these tiny microscopic plastic contaminants don't just last forever in the environment, they get into our food and water supplies, and ultimately into our bodies where they can potentially pose a health risk. So Does Berkey Remove Microplastics?Since the Black Berkey elements can reduce viruses down to the nanometer scale, in the tested range of 24-26 nanometers. 24-26 nanometers is .024 to .026 microns…in other words, much smaller than the plastic particles being found in water. The Berkey elements have been tested to remove viruses to the nanometer range which suggests that contaminants much larger in size, such as plastic fibers should also be removed. However, since actual testing of plastic fibers has not yet been conducted, we cannot officially make that claim. Journal Reference Samuel V Panno, et al. Microplastic Contamination in Karst Groundwater Systems. Groundwater. January 2019. doi: 10.1111/gwat.12862

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    • Can Berkey Remove Microplastics From Water?
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