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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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    • California's Underground Water Storage Plans Could be Risky

      Note: Yes, the black berkey filters that come standard with our berkey water filter systems do filter out and remove chromium 6 from the water. These berkey test results for chromium 6 can be found here.) With $2.5 billion allocated for water management projects within the state, California is considering alternative water storage options that will render the state more resilient to extreme droughts, which are expected to increase in the future with climate change. Many of the proposed new water storage solutions include underground storage as apposed to water storage in surface dams, which are more prone to water loss through evaporation. However, while having a diverse range of water management options is likely to help buffer the state from water losses during periods of prolonged drought, scientists at Stanford University are concerned about potential groundwater contamination from hazardous chemicals originating from both industrial and natural sources.Drought Affects on Folsom Lake, CaliforniaTheir biggest concern is chromium, which occurs naturally in rocks and soils, and depending on soil chemistry can be in one of two forms: 1) chromium-3, which is harmless; and 2) chromium-6, which is toxic and poses a risk to human health, causing symptoms such as throat-, nose-, eye- and skin irritations, and has also been linked to lung cancer. A new scientific study, which was recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, analyzed an extensive database of groundwater records, including water samples taken from drinking water wells, to map chromium hotspots around the state. While chromium does occur naturally, it is also released into soils by human activities. But, while people are becoming more aware of contamination from human sources — thanks to activists such as Erin Brockovich, who won a class action lawsuit she filed against Pacific Gas & Electric for chromium-6 contamination in 1993 — Scott Fendorf, a soil chemist at Stanford and co-author of the study, says "that's just not the only threat to groundwater. If you're thinking larger, the natural contaminants are really widespread," particularly in California, where the soil chemistry gives rise to chromium-rich rocks, he adds.The researchers tested water from just under 16,000 wells spread across the state, and discovered that all of them had trace levels of chromium-6 present. However, some of the wells had chromium-6 present at levels that exceeded the maximum levels of 10 parts per billion recommended by the state as safe for drinking water. The sources of the chromium-6 contamination originates from several sources, including industrial (e.g. metal plating), agricultural (fertilizers), and natural sources. Chromium-6 is found in rocks located in areas where continental and oceanic plates meet, such as found in California along the San Andreas Fault where the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate come together. Serpentinite, with its distinct green coloration (indicating the presence of chromium-6), is a type of rock that is commonly found in these zones. But Fendorf believes that human activities can aggravate the formation of naturally occurring chromium-6. For example, applying chemicals to remove toxic industrial contaminants from soils — a cleanup method known as in-situ chemical oxidation — can transform the more benign chromium-3 into the much more hazardous chromium-6. According to Fendorf, over-extraction of water from underground aquifers for crop irrigation can also contribute to increased levels of chromium-6. "The water table is made of many stacked layers, alternating between sections of loose, wet gravel and sand and tightly-packed layers of fine clay," Fendorf explains. "The clay acts as a sponge with all this naturally chromium-rich dirty water in it," and when you starting overdrawing, you put pressure on the clays and start pushing dirty water into the main water that you're pumping out." While Fendorf's study shows that the more concentrated pockets of chromium contamination originate from industrial and agricultural sources, the impact of natural chromium affects a much wider area across the state and impacts a much larger proportion of drinking water sources. But even though chromium occurs throughout the state of California, neither state nor federal agencies have agreed on an acceptable safety level for the contaminant in drinking water. In 2014, California — which has historically recommended its own safety thresholds with regard to environmental regulations — set the maximum recommended safety level for chromium-6 in drinking water at 10 parts per billion due to potential risks associated with exposure. However, a 2017 court ruling suspended this recommendation as it failed to take the cost industries and agencies needed to incur to comply with these safety regulations into account. Currently, the EPA has set the safety threshold for chromium-6 at 100 parts per billion, while the states recommendations is half that amount at only 50 parts per billion. While they are currently revising these safety thresholds, you and your family may be exposed to dangerous levels of chromium-6 in your drinking water. Journal Reference Debra M. Hausladen, Annika Alexander-Ozinskas, Cynthia McClain & Scott Ferndorf. Hexavalent Chromium Sources and Distribution in California Groundwater. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2018, 52 (15), pp 8242–8251; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06627

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    • California's Underground Water Storage Plans Could be Risky
    • Hungry Antibiotic Loving Bacteria Could Help Rid Environment of Antibiotic Contaminants

      Antibiotic drugs can be a lifesaver for anyone suffering from a bacterial infection such as meningitis or pneumonia. Antibiotics kill bacteria, and thus help fight infection. But some types of bacteria can develop a resistance to these drugs, while others not only become resistant but also utilize antibiotics as a source of food. Until now, scientists have not fully understood how drug resistant bacteria manage to safely consume antibiotics, but a study that was published in the scientific journal Nature Chemical Biology earlier this year reveals important steps in this process. The study's findings could help establish new methods to remove antibiotics from soil and water, thus ridding the environment of antibiotic contaminants which promote drug resistance, undermining our ability to cure bacterial infections effectively. "Ten years ago we stumbled onto the fact that bacteria can eat antibiotics, and everyone was shocked by it," said senior author Gautam Dantas, an associate professor of pathology and immunology, of molecular microbiology, and of biomedical engineering at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. "But now it's beginning to make sense. It's just carbon, and wherever there's carbon, somebody will figure out how to eat it. Now that we understand how these bacteria do it, we can start thinking of ways to use this ability to get rid of antibiotics where they are causing harm."Antibiotics in the environment contribute to drug resistance. But researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have figured out how some soil bacteria turn the drugs into food. The information could lead to new ways to clean up antibiotic-contaminated soil and waterways.When these resistant bacteria get into soil, waterways and ultimately drinking water sources, they can cause antibiotic resistance in people who are exposed to them. Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly common problem that adversely affects medical treatment of infectious diseases, eroding the advances made in medical care since antibiotics were discovered, and ultimately putting people's lives at risk. Modern day agricultural and industrial practices which saturate the environment with antibiotic drugs are fueling the growth of antibiotic resistance. In China and India, the two largest producers of antibiotic drugs, pharmaceutical companies often discharge antibiotic-laden wastewater into local waterbodies. Back home in the US, farmers routinely feed antibiotics to their livestock to help them grow healthy and strong, resulting in animal waste that is laded with these drugs. Because bacterial communities readily exchange genetic material, when soil and water become polluted with antibiotics, bacteria living in these habitats respond by sharing their antibiotic resistant genes with their neighbors.The researchers wanted to gain a clearer understanding of how some bacteria in the environment are not only resistant to antibiotics, but also feed on the drugs. They examined four types of soil bacteria that were distantly related and which flourished on a diet consisting solely of penicillin — the first antibiotic ever discovered, which until recently was widely used but is prescribed less often now due to antibiotic resistance. They found three sets of genes that were activated when the bacteria consumed penicillin, but which became inactive when the bacteria consumed sugar. The three genetic sets correspond to the three steps the bacteria take to convert what should be a lethal drug into a nutritious meal. According to the authors, "all of the bacteria start by neutralizing the dangerous part of the antibiotic. Once the toxin is disarmed, they snip off a tasty portion and eat it." Gaining a clearer understanding of the steps the bacteria take to convert antibiotics into a source of food may help scientists bioengineer bacteria and put them to work ridding soil and waterbodies that are contaminated with antibiotics in an effort to combat the rise in drug resistance. Because soil dwelling bacteria that typically consume antibiotics are not so easy to work with, the researchers suggest that with some genetic tweaking, "a more tractable species such as E. coli potentially could be engineered to feed on antibiotics in polluted land or water.""With some smart engineering, we may be able to modify bacteria to break down antibiotics in the environment," said Terence Crofts, a post-doctoral researcher and primary author of the study.While bacteria are effective at removing antibiotics from soil, their rate of consumption is slow. Consequently, if we have any hope of eradicating antibiotics from hotspots such as sites located near sewage plants' or pharmaceutical manufacturers' discharge outlets, any bioengineering project with this goal in mind would need to encourage the bacteria to consume antibiotics faster."You couldn't just douse a field with these soil bacteria today and expect them to clean everything up," Dantas said. "But now we know how they do it. It is much easier to improve on something that you already have than to try to design a system from scratch."Journal Reference T.S. Crofts, et al. Shared strategies for β-lactam catabolism in the soil microbiome. Nature Chemical Biology. Vol.14, 556-564; (2018)

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    • Hungry Antibiotic Loving Bacteria Could Help Rid Environment of Antibiotic Contaminants
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