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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).

System

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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    • Buyer Beware: Not all Water Filters are Created Equal for Microcystin Removal

      Water filters that are designed to remove harmful contaminants from drinking water are not necessarily all created equal, a new study has revealed. Researchers from The Ohio State University assessed the ability of three popular water filter pitchers to remove microcystins from drinking water. Microcystins are toxins which accumulate in water during harmful algal blooms and pose both an environmental and public health risk. The ability to remove these toxins varied depending on the type of water filter, and while one excelled, two allowed the harmful toxins to pass through the filter to effectively pose a health risk to whoever consumed the drinking water. (Side note: For information on how the Berkey water filter performs removing this algae, please see Berkey's official statement on Algae Bloom and Microcystin Removal.)Toxic microcystin bacteria float, along with a dead fish, on the surface of this lake.The study, which was recently published in Water Science Technology: Water Supply, found that the first water purifier, which consisted primarily of coconut-based active carbon, filtered the water the fastest but only removed a maximum of 50% of the microcycstin toxins from the water as it passed through the filter. However, the purifier with the slowest action, whose filter was constructed out of a blend of activated carbon, removed the microcystins to undetectable levels."Because drinking-water treatment plants also use activated carbon, I figured that these home filters might also remove some microcystins, but I wasn't expecting results this good and such big differences among the pitchers," said Justin Chaffin, the study's lead author and a senior researcher and research coordinator at Ohio State's Stone Laboratory, a research hub located at Lake Erie serving scientists researching issues that affect the Great Lakes.The Danger of Microcystins Harmful cynobacterial blooms pose a health risk to consumers who drink water contaminated with the toxins. Microcystins are one of the most commonly found toxins that occur following harmful algal blooms, and pose a substantial risk to wildlife, pets and humans. Exposure to these toxins can result in anything from a mild rash on the skin to more serious health issues or even death due to kidney or liver damage. In 2014, microcystin contamination of the drinking water supply to Toledo, Ohio, left over 400,000 residents without water for days on end."Since then, many residents drink bottled water and others rely on these filtration pitchers as backup, in case the water treatment plants miss a return of the microcystins," even though there have been no similar threats since then, said Chaffin. "At public events, residents kept asking me 'Does my water pitcher remove microcystins?' and my answer was always, 'I don't know'".So, in order to get answers to these questions, Chaffin set about designing a study that would test the effectiveness of water pitchers at removing these toxins. Although no brand names are mentioned in the study, the researchers divulge that they are commonly available in retail stores and range in price from around $15 to $50. Anyone interested in learning more can analyze the study results a little closer to compare features of the filters to help make an informed decision when purchasing a water filter, Chaffin suggested, alluding to the fact that you get what you pay for.Common water pitcher filters. Image courtesy of www.yourbestdigs.com  "In general, the cheaper the pitcher, the worse job it did filtering out the toxins," Chaffin said. Pitcher Testing Results - Removal of Microcystin Using contaminated water collected from Lake Erie, the researchers diluted microcystins to various concentration levels before running the samples through the three common water purifying pitchers. They found that the purifier with filter media consisting of a blend of different activated carbon types, and which filtered the water the slowest, consistently proved more effective at removing the toxins from the water. The water purifiers work on the principle that contaminants bind to the activated carbon as the water passes through the filter. The researchers found that when microcystin concentrations were 3.3 micrograms per liter — equivalent to the microcystin levels reported during the do-not-drink advisory at Toledo in 2014 — microcystin levels were reduced by all water pitchers, but were only undetectable in the purifier that took the longest to filter the water. "Contact time really seems to matter. If you run the water through really fast, the microcystins and other organic molecules don't have time to bind to the carbon molecule and stick to the filter," Chaffin explained. Filter time varied between pitchers, with the most effective at removing the toxins taking over six minutes to filter a liter of water, the second best taking nearly four minutes to filter a liter of water, while the least effective purifier took just under two minutes to filter a liter. The purifier that was least effective had a filter constructed entirely out of cocunut-based active carbon, while the more effective purifiers filters consisted of a blend of different types of activated carbon. To test whether the toxins remained bound to the filters the researchers ran purified deionized water through each of the water filters, then tested the water for the presence of microcystins. They found none, suggesting that once removed, the toxins remain bound to the filter. However, Chaffin recommends that water filter pitchers be used as a safety net by consumers who are concerned that microcystins may pass through water treatment facilities undetected rather than to purify water when a do-not-drink advisory has been issued and bottled water is recommended."But when there isn't a warning, these filters are much cheaper and better for the environment in the long run than bottled water," said Chaffin. "You aren't creating mountains of empty bottles."Water Pitchers Vs Berkey - Microcystin Removal The study found that water pitcher filters with filter media consisting of a blend of different activated carbon types, and which filtered the water the slowest, consistently proved more effective at removing the toxins from the water. This data further supports Berkeys official statement on microystin removal. The Black Berkey contact time is considered one of the longest, if not the longest in the filtration industry. Also, the Black Berkey filters use a combination of approx 6 different types of filter ingredients, which allow the filters to last for approx 6000 gallons per set of 2. In comparison, many of these water pitcher filters in this test need to be replaced every 100 gallons. Finally, the black berkeys match or outperform the chemical and contaminant removal rates of water pitcher filters across the board.Journal Reference Justin D. Chaffin, Erica L. Fox, Callie A. Nauman and Kristen N. Slodysko. The ability of household pitcher-style water purifiers to remove microcystins depends on filtration rate and activated carbon source. Water Science & Technology: Water Supply, (2018) In Press.

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    • Buyer Beware: Not all Water Filters are Created Equal for Microcystin Removal
    • Beavers Dam Good at Cleaning Water

      Beavers dam building antics can help keep rivers clean and reduce the amount of valuable soil that is lost from farms with runoff, a new study has revealed. For the study, scientists from the University of Exeter analyzed the impact a family of captive beavers had on cleaning up a river. The beavers where confined in a 2.5 hectare enclosure on a stretch of river and used in a trial river cleanup coordinated by the Devon Wildlife Trust. The study demonstrates that the beavers significantly reduced the flow of nutrients and soil from nearby farmland into the river system. Just a single beaver family removed significant levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from water as it flowed through enclosure.The beaver family have been living within the fenced off site on a West Devon river since 2011, have constructed 13 dams which has stemmed the flow of water, creating several deep ponds along what used to be a shallow stream. The scientists measured the nitrogen, phosphorus and suspended sediment levels in the water as it flowed into the site, and again as it flowed out after passing through the beaver's dams and ponds. They then compared the before and after measurements, and also measured how much nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment was trapped by the beavers dams in each pond. They found that the beaver's dams had trapped more than 100 tonnes of sediment, of which 70% consisted of soil originating from intensively farmed grassland fields further upstream. They found that the trapped sediment contained high levels of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) that pose both an environmental and health threat in high concentrations."It is of serious concern that we observe such high rates of soil loss from agricultural land, which are well in excess of soil formation rates," said Professor Brazier. " However, we are heartened to discover that beaver dams can go a long way to mitigate this soil loss and also trap pollutants which lead to the degradation of our water bodies. Were beaver dams to be commonplace in the landscape we would no doubt see these effects delivering multiple benefits across whole ecosystems, as they do elsewhere around the world."A 2009 study estimated that soil loss from agricultural land in the United Kingdom equated to a financial cost of forty five million pounds, largely due to the negative impacts of nutrient and sediment pollution further downstream. Clearly beavers can play are positive role in keeping our waterways clean and healthy. The Devon Wildlife Trust has been running beaver trials in fenced off enclosures on local rivers for seven years, and in 2015 also began running a similar project using a wild population of beavers living on River Otter in East Devon. According to Peter Burgess, Director of Conservation and Development at the Devon Wildlife Trust, their partnership with the researchers from Exeter University is shedding light on the important contribution beavers can make in keeping freshwater systems healthy and sustainable for the benefit of both wildlife and humans. He finds it 'truly inspiring' to have their observations confirmed by robust scientific research. Journal Reference Alan Puttock, Hugh A. Graham, Donna Carless, Richard E. Brazier. Sediment and Nutrient Storage in a Beaver Engineered Wetland. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/esp.4398

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    • Beavers Dam Good at Cleaning Water
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customer testimonials

  • Customer service in the USA is a dream! It's been a pleasure shopping with you.
    Jeltje Gordon Lennox Geneva, Switzerland
  • The Big Berkey is such a blessing. We have owned ours now for almost a year and don't know how we did without it.
    Amber Dallas, Texas
  • The folks at berkey have been nothing but great in helping me purchase my Berkey and then answering some questions once got it
    Sandy Schmidt Edison, New Jersey