Remember how excited I was when I first brought Big Berkey home?

Think about how much water we drink. . . and where it comes from!

If you’re drinking tap, or bottled water (many brands of which are just tap or old water full of chemicals!) chances are it’s contaminated with:

  • parasites
  • chlorine
  • fluoride 
  • dioxins

 . . . not to mention hormones and crap from all those birth-control-peeing women and people who dispose of their medications down the drain.


Megan, from Megan’s Little Houseagreed and now has a Big Berkey, too. After trying it out she asked some important questions, some of which I’ve been asked already by a few other people, so here are the answers in a follow-up post.

Question: You mentioned the best kind of water isn’t distilled or water purified by reverse-osmosis, but water with trace minerals in water. What do I need to add to the water to make sure I am getting the essential minerals?

Answer: Nada! Nothing! That’s why Big Berkey is better than reverse-osmosis or distilled water which removes even the trace minerals (magnesium, calcium) and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride). Water filtered through reverse osmosis tends to be neutral and is okay if minerals are supplemented (you can buy these in drops from health stores).

The ideal water for the human body should be slightly alkaline and this requires the presence of minerals like magnesium and calcium.

Question: Is it supposed to take a long time to filter in the beginning?

Answer: In our experience, the first time took forever! But after that it went pretty smoothly. If it stops filtering or isn’t filtering, here’s what I found:

Typically the problem you are experiencing is due to high water tension, which prevents the air from being purged from the micro pores of the new purification elements. Included with your Black Berkey® elements is a priming button and instructions for use. Please remove and prime your purification elements, reinstall them and that should fix the problem.

Question: What’s the white flaky stuff floating in the filtered water tank?

Answer: I actually hadn’t looked inside. . . boy was I shocked and grossed out at first! But it didn’t make sense! I could tell the water tasted better! Here’s what my husband found when he googled it to put us all at our ease.

With respect to the little white floaters in the water, it is not bacteria but rather a problem that sometimes occurs with hard (heavily mineralized) water. When water is filtered through your system, the Black Berkey® purification elements actually increase the PH of the water. This is healthful as Pathogenic bacteria and viruses thrive in acidic environments and conversely have difficulty surviving in alkaline environments. This is also true inside your body. When the PH level of the purified water is raised, the acidity of the water goes down and the water is no longer able to hold as many minerals in solution. When this happens the minerals begin to precipitate out over time and depending on the mineral composition they will either sink to the bottom or float to the top. This process is known as flocculation and the precipitated minerals are usually referred to as “white floaters”. The bottom line is that this is nothing to be concerned about, the white floaters are minerals that were already in your water; they are now simply visible whereas they were previously invisible due to their suspension in an ionic form.
Question: Should I get the Fluoride filter for the Berkey?
Answer:YES! It is an unhealthy, toxic industrial chemical!

  • inactivates 62 enzymes (Judd)
  • increases the aging process (Yiamouyiannis)
  • increases the incidence of cancer and tumor growth (Waldbott/Yiamouyiannis)
  • disrupts the immune system (Waldbott)
  • causes genetic damage (Tsutsui, et al)
  • interrupts DNA repair-enzyme activity (Waldbott)
  • increased arthritis and
  • is a systemic poison. 

Read more about the dangers of flouride here

Questions: How can I test it’s properly working?

Answer: This is awesome: put a drop of red food coloring in the water. . . and it should filter crystal clear! That’s how powerful these filters are- it filters out something as  microscopic as that!

The Big Berkey® system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove red food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance.
You can read more about how cool Big Berkey is and all it does in this post.
You can find more troubleshooting and basic questions via the Berkey site here.
Here are some other interesting articles about water (I know, they are all the same source. . . but Mercola is good about citing other evidence, opposing viewpoints, and sources).

P.S. We got our Big Berkey through Amazon.