Military Water Treatment

We missed the last couple of work days last week to attend a graduation ceremony for my nephew, John.  He is now a Marine!  Congratulations, and Semper Fidelis!

A few years ago, we came across a rather interesting portable water treatment device being used by the U.S. military, as well as in civilian applications.   The device is called the MIOX pen.  You can check it out at:

http://www.miox.com/miox-solutions/MSR-MIOX-Purifier-Pen.aspx

The web site does a great sales job, but tends to skip over the real science behind the device.  The MIOX term stands for “MIxed OXidants.”  The device actually uses a proven technology where sodium chloride (table salt) is converted into sodium hypochlorite (bleach) using electricity.  In this device, the electricity comes from a battery, making the unit completely portable.  It’s supposed to yield 200 liters of purified water without needing any replacement salt or batteries — pretty impressive, especially since the device is about the size of a cigar.

The “mixed oxidants” are purported to be many other chemicals other than bleach.  Just using bleach would not be very interesting, would it?  It would be — and is in this case, too — very effective, however.  I’m sure that there are traces of other oxidants that are produced, but it has to be dominantly bleach, given the chemicals and the process.  But the free chlorine from bleach will do a number on pathogens.

Still, it is a rather neat way to make sure our soldiers and marines — and us civilians, too — get drinking water that is free from pathogens, no matter how far we are from a surface water treatment plant.

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