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Water Today Title May 30, 2024
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PortaWell® is a portable, high-volume water filtration system that filters 40-to-60 gallons of water per hour effortlessly using a small 12-volt battery

“We like to think of PortaWell as a Swiss-army-knife appliance that can be adapted by the user to accommodate varying conditions when harvesting water and treating it to make safe for human consumption.”

--Jon Maughan, PortaWell

WATERTODAY reached out to Jon Maughan at PortaWell® to answer our questions.

By Suzanne Forcese

WT: Please give us an overview of The PortaWell®.

Maughan: The PortaWell®, Portable Water Filter System, is a great tool and solution for water preparedness for both short and long-term emergency situations. We believe the PortaWell solves many of the challenges of providing sufficient clean water during emergencies for individuals, families, and even small communities.

The versatility and practical applications of The PortaWell system also makes it ideal for off-grid living, RV trips, camping, hunting -- even humanitarian needs.

WT: Tornadoes, grid failures, flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, or a local emergency can immediately interrupt routine drinkable water needs. Why is emergency water preparedness a complex topic?

Maughan: Clean water in an emergency is a complex topic because there are so many things to consider regarding harmful contaminants or even bad taste. In the emergency preparedness/self-reliance community many people have food storage for as long as two years, but when it comes to water storage, most do not have a workable solution.

WT: Looking at portable water filtration systems on the market, what are the issues that the self-reliance community -- whether in an emergency or off-grid situations – is faced with?

Maughan: Storing water has its challenges due to the weight and space requirements as well as the need to keep it clean with rotation or treatments.

Available options on the market include water filtration devices that rely on gravity fed or hand pump mechanisms. While effective, these filtration devices present several challenges. Many systems are not very portable or even practical.

Many systems on the market are proprietary, which means replacement parts have a limited life span and are expensive to replace or if the company goes out of business in the future and stops making the filter, the device becomes useless.

Another issue with many systems is a small and slow capacity to generate potable water.

WT: How does the PortaWell system work?

Maughan: Our system is simple — we use standard components that can be found in a local hardware store and the rest are easy to have on hand for replacement such as an extra pump or filter housing.

The PortaWell® is easy to operate. When in operation the unit will have a hose that will be placed in the dirty water. As water is pumped, it passes through a series of filters and then it exits the unit in a container with fresh water.

The PortaWell® solution is purposely designed with the following in mind:

  • Unlimited Capacity (assumes proper maintenance and replacement of filters from use)
  • Uses commonly available filters – there are options for sediment, biologics, organics, and heavy metals.
  • Flexible to meet various surface water circumstances.
  • Designed to be affordable.

WT: How much clean water can the system produce?

Maughan: The PortaWell cleans up to a gallon of water a minute.

WT: How is it powered?

Maughan: It’s very simply powered by a 12-volt battery that can plug into a car, ATV, solar power generator, or 120V outlet (with an adapter).

WT: When you refer to the ‘portable’ feature, just how easy is it to carry the unit?

Maughan: The complete solution fits in a choice of a 5- or 3-gallon bucket and weighs less than 10 pounds.

WT: How does the filtering system work? Are the filters proprietary?

Maughan: The PortaWell ® appliance can accept many different filter types for the removal/reduction of a wide variety of contaminants specific to a user's local water conditions. These filters are not manufactured by PortaWell®. Instead, the filters are commercially available filters and manufactured by companies who undergo rigorous testing by respected entities.

One might use the PortaWell ® system if the water source is quite cloudy with silt, algae, or other organic debris.

First, let the water sit in a container for up to 24 hours to settle out most of the particulate—this extends the life of the filters.

Then, use the following filter combination with the PortaWell® expansion unit:

First Stage – Sediment Filter to reduce /remove the sediments.

Second Stage – Ceramic Filter to filter out pathogens (i.e., Giardia)

Third Stage – Nano Ceram Filter to remove particles and biologics down to 0.2 micron which includes pathogenic bacteria, spores, and cysts.

Fourth Stage – Activated Carbon Filter to absorb the organics (herbicides/pesticides), algae toxins, and chlorine taste.

You can do this same sequence with just two stages if you filter the water twice.

If the water is suspected of significant chemical contamination including heavy metals and/or radioactive particulate, there are other specialized filters available from reputable manufacturers that fit the PortaWell.

WT: Are there water sources that consumers should avoid?

Maughan: We at PortaWell pride ourselves in complete transparency about our product. Not all surface water sources are ideal for treatment with PortaWell or any portable water treatment system for that matter.

Water that is heavily polluted with industrial waste, agricultural or urban run-off, or algae blooms should be avoided if possible.

It is important that the user become familiarized with the likely contaminants in the potential water surface source and choose the filter combinations as well as any pretreatment options to make that water safe to consume.

WT: The PortaWell website offers excellent educational information on the system.

Maughan: We at PortaWell maintain and are constantly updating a learning center on our website to provide tips and tricks for effective and efficient PortaWell usage on different water sources. We care about our customers and believe that our PortaWell can save lives by providing a safe and sustainable means to produce quality drinking water during a long-term emergency.

PortaWell is manufactured in North America by a family-owned business that prides itself on a quality product, excellent customer service, and at an affordable price. We answer our phone and reply to our customer’s email inquiries.

PortaWell® provides a sustainable solution for providing safe water for human consumption during exigent circumstances when tap or bottled water is no longer available or safe to drink. With a few extra supplies, and as long as you have a suitable surface water source and sunshine, you can have sufficient life-saving water for drinking, food prep, and personal hygiene.


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