Can I purify rain water by boiling it?

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Kgomotso Selokane

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Can I purify rain water by boiling it?
« on: 19/01/2011 18:30:03 »
Kgomotso Selokane  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Can I purify rain water by boiling it? Will it be safe to drink?
 
Kgomotso Selokane

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 19/01/2011 18:30:03 by _system »

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Offline Bored chemist

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Can I purify rain water by boiling it?
« Reply #1 on: 19/01/2011 19:37:23 »
It depends what you mean by  "purify".
If you boil rainwater you won't remove most of the impurities that are present (apart from a few gases- and they won't matter).
But, if you boil it for a while then you will kill most microbes in it and make it safer to drink.
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Offline CliffordK

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Can I purify rain water by boiling it?
« Reply #2 on: 19/01/2011 20:32:53 »
In most locales, rainwater should be one of the safest sources of water.

If you get adequate rainflow, many people like to design a collection method that dumps the initial water (whatever dirt and grime that is on your roof) and only collects the water in a heavy rain.

Boiling or chemical purification should be adequate unless you have a serious risk of chemical contamination from a nearby factory.

Sodium hypochlorite bleach is cheap.  There are recipes on the web for its use.