Ocean Water Process

by Barry Carter

A colleague and his friend collected slightly over 250 gallons of ocean water from a beach south of Astoria, Oregon on April 8th. This water was put into 55 gallon HDPE barrels using buckets to scoop from two to three feet of surf water. Both gentlemen were wearing wet suits. About half of the barrels were filled in the truck. The other half were filled in the water and rolled to the truck. They were rolled into the back of the truck using a ramp. This took most of the strength of these two gentlemen.

55 gallons of ocean water in plastic drum in back of pickup

The barrels had previously been used for hydrogen peroxide and some remained in them when the ocean water was added. This might have helped to disinfect the water.

My colleague brought the 250 gallons of ocean water to my house at about 6 pm on April 10th, 2000. We filtered all of the water through an under sink type of filter using a Culligan D-10 carbon impregnated paper cartridge rated at  5 micron (nominal) hole size.

The upper filter is the one we used

The water was pumped through the filter using a 12 volt Sure-Flo pump and then passed through a Morgan Vortrap before flowing into empty, clean 55 gallon barrels.

Sure-Flo 12 volt pump

Filter, Morgan Vortrap and both catch containers

The inner vortex water was directed into an HDPE plastic jug through the center of a speaker magnet in order to prevent ORMUS gasses from escaping the jug. The flow from the trap was approximately as illustrated below.

A small, steady stream of trap water

It took us about four hours to filter all of the water. After filtering about 180 gallons of the water the flow became sluggish and the trap quit working. At about 200 gallons the pump got hot and started cutting out due to the thermal overheat switch. We checked for kinks in our hoses and found none. We concluded that the filter was clogged, so we changed the filter and everything started working well again.

Since our water was collected on the beach it was quite murky and had lots of sand in it. We would expect a filter used in the open ocean to last a lot longer. The water coming out of the filter and out of the Vortrap was quite clear and looked clean. A 5 micron filter is not fine enough to filter out all micro-organisms, though.

We collected a little over 9 gallons of trap water from all of the 250 gallons of ocean water. We tried two different setups for the filter and Vortrap. Our first setup had the clean water barrel on its side as illustrated below.

Setup showing back of truck, pump, filter, Vortrap and two catch containers

Our second setup worked better as it allowed us to completely fill the catch barrel. It also should produce better trap water as the good stuff has to go up against gravity to get into its catch container. The second setup is illustrated below.

Second setup showing filter, Vortrap and both catch containers

I put fifty gallons of the filtered ocean water in a 55 gallon HDPE drum which had the top cut out of it. I mixed one can of Red Devil lye (510 grams) with one gallon of distilled water and slowly dripped this lye water into the ocean water while stirring the ocean water with the electric stirrer described at:


This brought the pH of the ocean water up to 10.6 but it dropped to around 10.0 over night. I continued to add lye water on a daily basis till I got the ocean water to hold at 10.6. Fifty gallons of ocean water precipitated out to about ten gallons of precipitate over night.

Ocean water precipitate at the bottom of 55 gallon HDPE barrel

After this precipitate was washed I took one liter of it and vacuum filtered it. The filtrate was about the consistency of warm butter and weighed about 53 grams. If I had filtered all of the precipitate from the 50 gallons I probably would have gotten about 9.5 kilograms of filtrate.

I dried the filtrate for a couple hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit in a toaster oven and got 8.7 grams of dry powder. If I had dried all of the precipitate from the 50 gallons I would have gotten about 1.56 kilograms of dry powder.