EP 46 Is Your Water Safe

Is Your Water Safe? EM Weekly

EP 46 Is Your Water Safe

Just to give you a feel for how colony forming communities work. If you’re drinking water out of your tap, at home, it’s usually between 5 and 110 colony-forming units per milliliter. If you’re drinking from a pond, for example, it’s about 4,000 to 10,000, roughly.


[TODD DEVOE] Hi, this is Todd Devoe, your host of EM Weekly. Today, we’re going to be talking about water. How safe is your water? What I mean by that is, your everyday water that you drink out of your tap is fairly safe, right? It goes through some testing processes and stuff like this. If you have city water, it goes through that process, so you know how safe it is. My sister, for instance, she has a well– she lives in Upstate New York, she has a well on her property. They have to have their water tested because they’re not exactly sure how safe it is, but there’s filters and stuff like this that they purchase to make sure that the water is drinkable and safe to use. What I was thinking here is, how safe is our water that we drink in disasters?

One of the reasons why this came up is I went to a meeting and we’re talking about the disaster water that was being sent to areas in central California, which has dealt with some mudslides, I’m sure you guys all saw it on TV. And the question was, how can we get water to them, and how safe is it? And so, the idea here is, we’re going to send empty trucks up to him, or tankers on there, because it’s really heavy to transport, and how is it getting tested? And there’s a whole bunch of water questions. And I’m working on getting a municipal water expert and emergency water on the show, so hopefully, we can get her on soon. She said “Yes, I’m looking forward to get on the show and talk really more about that aspect of it,” but this came up, and so we’re having this conversation.

One of the things that I thought about was when we were at the International Association of Emergency Managers’ meeting, we met one of the founders of Puravai, the water company. If you saw the video on our Facebook Live, it’s like a white canteen-looking bottle, really thick, and the water is really tasty triple sealed water. And Marcello, he really gets into it here later on, so I’m not going to bore you with the details on my end of it, but the water was good, it was tasty. So much so that we actually ordered water for the school where I work my full-time job. I’m excited about that, again, we’re not going to talk about products that I don’t believe in, so this is water that I do believe in, and it’s been proven to be safe.

And I want to bring him on to talk about the process with the water, why is it safe, and what does it mean to have safe, potable drinking water in a disaster? That’s one of those questions that we all have, that’s one of those questions that we’ll have to answer in some cases here, sooner or later. Katrina had the issue, the questions were there; at Harvey, we talked about it there. When an earthquake happened in Southern California, when the water goes offline, you know, the differences between drinkable water, non-drinkable water, compared to non-usable water, those types of questions that come out. So, what do we do?

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Before I let you go to the interview, though, if you guys have not checked out our website, it’s EMWeekly.com. www.emweekly.com, it’s the website where you can download a bunch of other things that are there besides the podcast, and we have some new writers that we brought onboard to share their knowledge and training that they have in emergency management, so I think that’s exciting. And also, you can check us on our Facebook, we have a Facebook group. In the group, we use some other things throughout the week, regarding polls, and things like this, and questions, and conversations that are going on. In the group this week, we’ve been talking about the Hawaii message that went through, and what’s the impact on emergency management.

So, if you’d like to hear other people’s point of view, check it out, join the group, glad to have you. Also, you can find us on Twitter at EM_Weekly, and you can find us on LinkedIn as well, and Instagram as well. Glad to have you on all those social media platforms, so come and check us out. So, let’s get to Marcello.


[TODD DEVOE] Hey guys, how you doing? Really happy to have one of the founders of Puravai Water. And if you guys remember the video that I did at the IAEM Conference, drinking that bottle of water, yeah, we were actually able to get Marcello (inaudible) on here to talk about his product, what he’s doing in the field there, with making water safe for our people and for our responders, and this is why we have him here on the show. So, Marcello, welcome to EM Weekly.

[MARCELLO] Thanks, great to be here, Todd.

[TODD DEVOE] So, Marcello, why don’t we start off by just tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got involved in the world of emergency management/disaster water, and what you guys are doing.

[MARCELLO] My background, just to give a little history of who I am or where I am from, I have been in the government sector and the private sector for a while. I used to be Director of Entrepreneur Development for the state of Utah, under governor Huntsman. I started probably over 30 businesses, some have gone into the tens of millions, others have fallen apart like most businesses do. I’ve always had a passion for helping people. So, when I was Director of Entrepreneur Development for the state of Utah, I actually set up the Entrepreneur Program, to help entrepreneurs actually succeed, and that was a wonderful experience for me.

But there was always something about– you know, kind of a passion of mine, out of all the different businesses I was starting, I really had this passion about emergency preparedness. And that started back in the late 1990’s, I don’t know if you remember Y2K. Do you remember that at all?

[TODD DEVOE] Oh yeah.

[MARCELLO] Ok. It’s like the whole world was going to end, right? Every computer was going to stop, and everybody was counting down, and New York hits and nothing happens, just a few glitches here and there, but nothing big. But that kind of– you know, that whole little scare thing got me started thinking about emergency preparedness, and I think a lot of other people, you know, after the scare was gone, the emergency preparedness kind of flipped out of wayside, and then 9/11 happened and all of a sudden things go up again. And 2007/2008 happened. And just along that period of time, I got more and more interested, to the point where I started writing books, and studying, and helping other people.

And then I ended up purchasing the company called Food Storage Depot., and we got that to number three on the internet for food storage. And at that point, we started getting all these clients from all over the world. We were shipping out to Australia, to Europe, all over the United States, the Navy Seals became one of my clients. Still, to this day, I’m friends with the chief nutritionist of the Navy Seals. She and I go back a forth figuring out how to help out Navy Seals. Just a lot of fun things happened. And as I was growing Food Storage Depot, I noticed that most of the companies out there selling food were actually lying. They were marketing companies trying to be food companies, but they had no clue what they were doing, they were having somebody else package their food for them, they were claiming these 25-year shelf-lives. These crazy shelf lives where their food, if you tested it, it would only last about three or four years.

And then I started noticing that water products were doing the same thing. And a lot of the emergency prep market, there’s amazing marketing money behind it, and a lot of deception. And it started really bothering me. I don’t know about you, but I’m not the type of person who likes to make a dollar off of somebody else’s misfortune.


[MARCELLO] And if I made a trillion dollars, you know, a trillion dollars and one little kid died because of my negligence, or my dishonesty, that’s not worth it to me. Take the trillions, I don’t care, you know? That’s not important to me. And so, I started developing courses, like the seven prep steps, which is one of my courses, it took about 2,000 hours to put together. And I started speaking at different conferences. About a year and a half ago, I was just speaking in one of the main stages, when I tell people, from a manufacturing point of view, how to recognize whether a food company is telling you the truth or not, so that anybody, including my food, anybody can choose and actually put every food to the test using these same principles. So that keeps me honest, right? And everybody else.

So I just finished giving this talk, and I have a ton of people there, and I loved it, it was fun. And I thought, “Let me just walk around, see what kind of booths there are out there, and just talk to some of the different companies”. And when I was walking around, there was this company claiming a 50-year shelf life on canned water, and that’s actually one of my specialties because I own– and I still, my partners and I own the cannedwater.com. I knew a lot about canned water because that’s one of the companies that we were basically building. And I looked at the can and I just said, “That’s not a 50-years shelf life. It’s an aluminum can, right?” And first of all, Pepsi and Coke, they’ve done a great job, an amazing job, of figuring out how to make a can as cheap as possible so people can recycle it within 6 to 12 months, you know? Drink it up and throw it away. And it was an aluminum can, and I thought, “That’s not a 50-year shelf life, I think is less,” and I can give you the particulars in a little bit.

But also, I turned to the people and said, “What’s the shelf life? You say it’s shelf life, what is the colony forming units?” And they had no clue what I was talking about. So, if they didn’t know about bacteria, I knew that there were some problems there.


[MARCELLO] And so, we ended up going a little bit further. I don’t know if you want me to go into depth into that if that kind of answers your question. That’s kind of my journey up to water. That’s where I ended up saying, “Ok, we’re getting to start a company after I actually tested their water”. Do you want me to go into that a little bit? Is that ok?

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah, sure. Let me just ask a quick question, to kind of follow up on the water thing.

[MARCELLO] Yeah, you bet.

[TODD DEVOE] Being on the West Coast, myself, water is a big deal, right. We go through droughts and all this kind of stuff. I know that we’ve gone through a process in Southern California of trying to look at ways of bringing mass water to people. You know, we’re working with the water districts of buying a large– basically, it looks like a gas truck, but it’s full of water, things like that. Storage and stuff like this. You know, so it is a consideration for us and those of us who have responded into some of the larger disasters. Budweiser, for instance, retooled their vehicles to create– instead of beer in their cans, they put water in their cans. It’s kind of a–

[MARCELLO] Exactly.

[TODD DEVOE] I remember one time, Budweiser showed up and we were like, “Yay!” And then it was water, we were really disappointed. You know, so water is definitely one of those things that we think about a lot. And I think long-term water storage, as an emergency manager, are not necessarily for the people, right? I mean, that’s one thing, but I think just even for your emergency operation center, you know, if we’re going seven days without additional resources coming in, we need to store water somehow.

[MARCELLO] Big time.

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah. And I went through the process on one organization that I was working for where we went and bought the blue barrels and put a stabilizer in it, and we still got that out every couple of years or so, and we filled it up, washed them, and cleaned them, and made sure that the bacteria is not growing, testing them and stuff like this. And so, the solution for the blue barrels, though, you’re still going to have to put that into another container, you know, is that container safe? Because now you have the idea of getting a responder sick. I’m not talking about, again, giving water to the public, I’m talking about just for our responders and for the people who are working in the EOC.

When I saw your product, and the cool part that I thought about your problem was the fact that the can, the bottle, is like a canteen, is really thick. And if you guys saw that video, we’re going to share it on the website as well, go back and take a look at that video. I mean, you threw that bottle way up in the air, it landed, didn’t break, nothing. You know, we were able to open it up, look at it, and you know, it’s fresh and it didn’t taste good. You know, the aluminum can ones taste like aluminum can, right? This water did not taste like an aluminum can, it didn’t taste like plastic bottle either, it just tastes like fresh water.

So yeah, so how is your product, you know, that was a long intro to this question. How does in your product, in that hard plastic, canteen-type can bottle, how do you do that, so it doesn’t taste like it’s a bottle, and it’s able to be stored for a long period of time, longer than the blue big barrels, right? Longer than that. And now you don’t have that distribution issue going on. And then secondly, if we have something going on– I’m going to put you on the spot here a little bit. If a disaster occurs today, how long would it take for you guys to ramp up, to be able to produce water and to get it out to areas in a timely manner?

[MARCELLO] That’s a great two questions. So, let me start with the first one. You’re exactly right. I mean, when we’re talking about big, blue barrels, I mean, that’s the right way to do it, right? You get the proper UV rating, like a UV8, which lasts for 8 years in the sun. A dark color, or at least a color that’s not transparent, first generation, 30-year safe, the type of plastic is BPA-free. You know you want HDPE plastic. And that’s interesting because HDPE plastic is exactly what we use, it’s the exact same that the military uses.

And why HDPE plastic? Because HDPE, high-density polyethylene plastic, is the safest food plastic in the world. It’s the most used plastic in the world. It’s the type of plastic that doesn’t leach into your food or water. It’s also the most recycled plastic in the world, which is nice as well. So, when you’re comparing the aluminum cans and HDPE, HDPE is a recycled– you know, at the top of the list when it comes to plastics, just like aluminum cans are. And so, it’s just the right thing to do. Now, if I can back up, I started telling that story about getting to that booth, and I think this will answer a little bit more about your question, I didn’t finish the story.


[MARCELLO] Because I thought it was kind of interesting. But when I got up there, they started saying all these things, you know, behind the booth about this can of water, it was a can of water, and it was aluminum. And they said, “Yeah, it’s the cleanest water out there. You could use it for surgery at hospitals.” First of all, you got to be real careful saying that, because you can go to court for that because there’s actually a process for that, right? And so I said, “Well, that’s interesting.” I looked at the can, and it says, “Less than one part per million of particles.” Now, that has nothing to do with bacteria. Less than one part per million of particles, all that means, is that they put it through a really good filtering system that got rid of all the particles, which is reversed osmosis. And so, you get rid of everything. All the nutrients, good stuff, as well as the bad stuff. It’s just water at the end, that’s all it is.

But it doesn’t say anything about bacteria. Because bacteria isn’t part of the particles. And so, I actually asked them this question. When they were saying, “It’s the cleanest thing in the world!” I said, “Ok, what’s the CFU count?” like I mentioned earlier, right?


[MARCELLO] What’s the CFU count? And they were like, “CFU? What’s that?” Well, there’s a red flag. Because everybody should know what CFU is if they’re doing or dealing with water. So that, you know, that was a 50-year shelf life water. And I said, that’s colony forming units of bacteria, and you can’t have any colony forming units of bacteria, it has to be zero, ok? And with a can like that, my guess is you guys aren’t boiling it after you close it, because the only way you can get it down to zero – up to that point, ok? A year and a half ago, because we found another way, and it took us about a year to figure it out. The only way to do it back then is to put the water inside the can and then boil it inside it to be able to kill everything afterward, because if there’s a little bit of bacteria on that lid, you’re going to grow bacteria throughout the whole can. And so, I know for a fact that you can’t boil those cans, they explode.


[MARCELLO] And so, what they said, is they said, “Well, the army used to do it.” And I said, “Yeah, the army did use to do it, they did it in a tin can, ok?” And they’re like, “Yeah, it was a can.” And I said, “No, it as a tin can. That’s make out of zinc, ok? That doesn’t rust. It lasts for a long time.” Have you ever tried to source tin these days? It’s almost impossible to get tin these days. And if you were to get it, it would be spotty, and it would be very expensive. So, you’re talking about a can of water that’s probably going to cost you anywhere between 20 and 50 dollars per can, if you’re going to do that.

But if you’re going back to the military– this is a long answer for a short question. But it’s fun just to learn. If you were to go back to the military, about 50 years ago, back 60, 70 years ago, we’re talking about World War II, they had to figure out a way to put water in a can, leave enough of a gap that it can freeze, and then also, enough a gap that it can float in water. What they ended up doing is they ended up soldering the bottom of the can, ok? So there is no way the water can leak through that little edge, which we cannot do today, by the way, it gets way too expensive. Water will leak into the edges and start rusting it from the inside out. And then what they would do is they would put a chemical inside the water, they would put the water in there, they would cap it, then they would boil it, so now it becomes a pressure cooker, and they solder the outside, and then they ended up dipping the whole thing in an enamel to protect the inside and outside. So, they did that ahead of time on the inside, but they did it on the outside afterwards.

And so, you have a bullet-proof can, and if you ever tried to taste that stuff 50 years later, you might as well just die. It’s so bad. It doesn’t taste good at all. I mean, obviously, when you throw a water for years, it ends up tasting pretty awful, because the oxygen is out of it. So you want to, you know, oxygenate it by shaking it up and down, or take a little bit out or something.


[MARCELLO] But that stuff, because of the chemicals, the epoxy that they use, all of it just went into the water, and it just tastes horrible. Worse than just deoxidated water. I ended up– you know, as far as them telling me that, yeah, a 50-year shelf life on this canned water, they’re apples and oranges. You’re talking about something you cannot make today. It’s not going to be made, it doesn’t work. So, with the aluminum cans, you can all any of the companies, which I have, by the way. The Pepsi, and everybody else. And yes, what’s the shelf life of an aluminum can? They say, “Well, about 6 to 12 months is what we made it for, you might be able to get a little bit more.” So then you go on to eBay and you start searching out, for example, aluminum cans out there. And put in 20-year shelf life, not even 50. The 20-year shelf life on aluminum cans, you’ll see a ton of people selling them, and they’ll say: “Never opened, but we don’t know how, but all the liquid has gone out of it.”

It’s because you have an aluminum can that’s so thin, and it has these seams at the very top, and those seams, when you have pressure from the inside pushing out, those seams are going to break, or they’re going to create micro holes. And the seams around the edges and the top, where the little pull tab is, are really, really thin. And so, if there were not pressure on the inside, it would last a little bit longer. But the strength of an aluminum can is the carbon dioxide or the nitrogen inside the can. If you don’t have that and you try to step on it, it crushes. And so, you have to have pressure from the inside pushing out, and that’s also the weakness, because now it starts pushing water out, and that’s called water vapor transfer rate, ok? That’s where water can get through, like, those little plastic bottles, you know, that everybody buys for emergencies?


[MARCELLO] That you buy from Costco. If you leave them in a warm garage over a year or two, you ever seen what happens to them?

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah, I’ve had that happen to me.

[MARCELLO] Yeah. The water is half gone. That’s what happens to aluminum cans as well.

[TODD DEVOE] And the bottle kind of crinkles a little bit too, right?

[MARCELLO] Oh yeah, it crinkles. Plus, it’s very unsafe, it’s not– the chemicals go into the water, in those types of bottles. Plus, if you store it anywhere on top of concrete or close to any other chemicals, it goes right into the water.


[MARCELLO] So, anybody storing this stuff, if somebody has cleaning supplies by it, or cars are going by, with all the exhaust, you’re getting that stuff in your water. There’s a very, very thin plastic in those bottled waters. But I digressed, let’s go back to the cans.

[TODD DEVOE] We’re going to go to a quick break right now, and we will listen to more from Marcello when we get back.

[TODD DEVOE] Welcome back from the quick break, and thank you guys for listening to EM Weekly.

[MARCELLO] When I talked to this company that was the master reseller for that company, the canned water company, I asked them that question, “What’s the CFU count?” And they said, “We don’t know.” And I said, “Well, why don’t you grab a case that’s been packaged two or three months ago, that’s not even away for 50 years; why don’t you send it over to one of the top labs in the world, which is out of Florida, let’s not mess around, these guys are going to burn it with alcohol in the top, in a clean room. I mean, they’re going to do all the precautions to make sure there’s no contamination because they do it for the CDC and a whole bunch of others. And why don’t we see?

And they said, “Good idea.” I mean, all we’re doing is trusting the company who put it out, and they say it’s clean, so let’s test it. So, they did, and they sent to them, and just to give you a feel for how colony forming units work. If you’re drinking water out of your tap at home, it’s usually between 5 and 110 colony forming units per milliliter. If you’re drinking from a pond, for example, it’s about 4,000 to 10,000, roughly, ok? And so, just to give you a feel, they tested– they randomly picked about eight cans from the case, and they tested them. I ended up talking to the owner of that company and I said, “What were your thoughts?” And he said, “Well, I was really excited to drink that water, it’s pretty cool, water in a can.” But as soon as we tested it, he said, “I wouldn’t drink this if my life depended on it, because it did. You know, it would.” And he said, “the cans came out, on average, 3,330, ok? There was one that was about 1,250 and another one that was 9,400 and something if I remember right. And all of them were contaminated.”

Now, that’s interesting, because let’s go back to the process. Remember they said, one part per million of particles? Well, if you put it through a reversed osmosis, you just created hungry water. You take everything out of the H2O, and that water is hungry. It will just attach to anything. And so, you put it inside an aluminum can that has a little bit of bacteria in there because it wasn’t sterilized ahead of time, or the lid wasn’t sterilized completely, or the machine that put on the lid wasn’t sterilized, and somehow it got bacteria in there, ok? That bacteria is just going to grow and grow after two months, ok? It was crazy.

On that run, by the way, they didn’t see the bacteria on day one or day two. They said, “Looks clean to us!” The bacteria exploded on day three, and I asked them, “Why is that?” He thinks it was dormant, whether it’s because of the nitrogen or whatever. It was dormant, but the bacteria was there, and it was growing. And it turned the petri dish completely orange, completely. And the report said, “Overgrown bacteria”. And so, they couldn’t believe it, so they actually did a whole bunch of other cans to see if they’re testing it right, and it came out just as bad or worse.

So, since that time, a number of other companies have gone out and tested it as well. Some of the biggest companies in the industry, actually. The ones that do it for the Red Cross, some of the biggest companies doing water that were reselling that canned water ended up testing the water as well, and supposedly, the process was supposed to be fixed after they got reported.

And what they’re finding is that one out of every three or four cans now has contaminants in it. And one of them, with one of the reports we got from the people– I think it was the Red Cross people, if I remember it right – they found 10,400 outside the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, who were working with them to supply them water. They have all the testing equipment, they tested the canned water, and it was up in the 5,000…

[TODD DEVOE] Wait, wait, wait. Sorry about that, you just said something.


[TODD DEVOE] So, you guys are supplying water to the Los Angeles DWP?

[MARCELLO] We’re working with a bunch of different organizations.

[TODD DEVOE] That’s amazing.

[MARCELLO] Yeah. So, we’re working with them. They’ve been great, they tested our water alongside with the canned water, and they’re wonderful to work with. It’s just a wonderful organization. They’re on top of things, tremendously. And I love, I love, I love, I love. I mean, this is a credit to the people of Los Angeles, by the way, because they didn’t take my word for it. I said it’s clean! Look at my tests! They didn’t take my word for it. They ended up saying, “Yeah, you said it, but we’re going to go test it.” And they ended up testing it. Now, how many companies do that? Everybody believes in marketing, you know? But they actually went and tested it, and they tested the canned water as well. And so, the people who live in the Los Angeles area, you’ve got an amazing, amazing company representing you, just to let you know. They don’t mess around, ok? So, I just wanted to applaud them for doing such a good job.

So, going back. And this was fun for me to talk about, because when I talked to the master distributor for this company, they ended up saying, “Well, you know, let’s figure out how to get a canned water out there that has no bacteria in it.” And I said, “Well, if we’re going to do that, we’re going to have to retort it, which is boiling it inside the can. But when we boil it inside the can, now you have a whole bunch of other problems, like atmosphere pressure problems, where you ship it from sea level to mountain and it just crushes; or plane problems, it can’t go in a plane. Or rusting problems from the inside out. And I talked to can manufacturer after can manufacturer, all the big ones, Crown, you name it, I just went around talking to them, meeting with them, going to their establishments, different establishments. And all of them said the same thing: “That can is not going to last more than 5 to 10 years.” It was better than the aluminum can, which is supposed to last only two years, right?


[MARCELLO] But still, five to ten years, cans are not going to work. And we can’t do tin, it’s too expensive. One of my teammates, actually, one of the owners of our company, was in a meeting, and he had an idea, and it just sparked in his mind. You know, the military canteens. They’re thick HDPE plastic, it doesn’t– there’s no water vapor transfer rate you have to worry about. Bacteria can’t get in, water can’t get out. You can throw that thing on the ground, it’s not going to break– and we had to actually work on that for a while, because the plasticity of the lids, at first, you’d drop it on top of the lid and that thing broke the first time. And we had to work on the plasticity to the point where you can drop it on the lid, you know, three, four, five times and most of the times it stays just perfectly fine.

In fact, there’s a YouTube video guy, an emergency guy, and I talked to them and I said, “Hey, could I send the canned water and our water, and just see if you can do a comparison?” And he said, “Yeah, go ahead. But I’m warning you, if you send anything to me, and I don’t like your product, I’m going to make you pay for shipping to get it out of my house.” And I said, “Not a problem at all.” So I sent it to him. It’s funny, he ended up taking our water, and he ended up throwing it in the air and it didn’t break. So he threw it higher in the air and it didn’t break. So he grabbed it like a football, and he just started throwing it on the ground, and it still didn’t break. And that’s what we’ve built, we build the longest-lasting, toughest water out there, in a reusable canteen. Nobody has that! Nobody has a reusable canteen, ok? Nobody has something that is that durable.

And when we put down 20-year shelf life on that water, we feel like we’re under promising, instead of overpromising. Because obviously, that HDPE plastic is not going to break down in 20 years.


[MARCELLO] We triple seal it, we put an induction seam underneath that cap. We put an induction seam under there, which induction, what that is, is if you were to glue a seam on top of the bottle, for example. That glue, over 78 degrees, is going to fall apart over time, ok? That’s why filters, for example, people boil their filters, get them clean, right? Well, they’re doing themselves a disservice, because as soon as they boil that filter, they just melted the glue, and now, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, whatever, it’s going to get through. And so, with that in mind, we’re thinking the only leak point we have on this HDPE bottle canteen is that top part right there.

What are we going to do to make sure bacteria can’t get in? And so, we thought, we need to use a metal film, aligned with plastic, that we melt to the top, that you have to peel off, break the seam. That’s what we did. So, there’s no glues involved. Now it’s plastic, metal, on to plastic, melted. So, we went the extra mile on that. So, we had the– I mean, it literally took about a year to figure out how to do all this. How to figure out how to take water, filter it, and get it to a point where we can actually keep the bacteria from growing in it. And you know, you don’t want to use harsh chemicals like chlorine or anything like that. Because first of all, it tastes horrible, right?


[MARCELLO] But also, it can break down the plastics. And so, it was a lot of trial and error. We messed up a ton of times, spent a lot of money. And then finally, we figured it out. You know how you have those little brainstorms, and then all of a sudden, one day, building on idea, after idea, after idea; failure after failure after failure. And like Thomas Edison, bing! A light goes on. We’re like, “Wait a minute. I think we can do this.”

So we have a process that’s unique, and it’s secret. And to answer your second question, we can’t tell you. We’d have to kill you. So, sorry. It’s like that commercial of the (inaudible) or something like that, “Ancient Chinese secret”. Remember that?

[TODD DEVOE] That just ages us to about 50 years, you realize that, right?

[MARCELLO] I know, I’m about 50 years old, so. So anyways, so we ended up figuring out how to do it, and we got the process down, we’re hitting 100% no bacteria over and over, we test every batch. We don’t do the one-day test, where you can get away with bacteria in your water if you test it for one day. We do a full five-day test, ok? Or a 15-day test. We go for the full measure to prove that there’s no bacteria in there, even dormant bacteria. And when you have no bacteria in the water, obviously, there’s no shelf life, ok? Because nothing can grow. It’s like the 50-year shelf life water from World War II.

So, you know, you have a plastic that’s not going to break down, you have a water that tastes great, by the way, and it tastes wonderful years later. The process we use is a pretty cool process, that it doesn’t taste like plastic – you tasted it.


[MARCELLO] How did it taste to you?

[TODD DEVOE] Oh, it was beautiful. I mean, it tastes like fresh water.


[TODD DEVOE] And just to go back to the bottle. The bottle itself is a nice sized bottle, it’s something that you can dispense out to the troops, they can put it into their cargo pocket if they have one. The lid is like, the canteen lid. And it has a seal across the outside, like a plastic seal? And the tab that Marcello is talking about is like if you bought, say, orange juice from one of those plastic orange juice bottles at the grocery store, and you open it up and it has that little plastic tab on that. That’s the exact same type of thing, it pops off. And the water tastes great, it really does.

Is Your Water Safe[MARCELLO] And you got that right. I mean, the thing about a disaster is that you have possible contaminants in the air, possible contaminants in water. I’m sorry, possible contaminants, if there were flooding, for example, in water. So, that’s what’s beautiful about our bottle. It’s a liter size, which– when we’re talking to some of the government entities, they are saying: “Can we get a little bit bigger than a 12 ounce?” And we said, “Yeah, let’s do a liter.” Because a liter is one day’s worth of drinking water. Not bathing, not cooking. This is one day’s worth of drinking water. On the low-end, you should drink at least one liter of water a day. So now, when we’re handing out this bottle, “Here’s one day’s worth of drinking water.” And by the way, when you open that bottle up, with all the contaminants in the air, or it it’s flooding, contaminants in the water, with the oils and gases, and everything else that gets into the floods. When you open that thing up, a beautiful part is that cap is protecting where you put your mouth up to the water. Every other pouch, can, all that stuff has that problem.


[MARCELLO] You have contaminants, so you don’t know what you’re going to put on your lips. This doesn’t. This is protected completely by a plastic seal, then a cap underneath that plastic seal, and then an induction seam underneath that cap. And so, when you drink it up, then all of a sudden you put the cap back on. And emergency truck comes by, they’re refilling water- guess what? You refill your little canteen and you carry it with you. And then you refill it again, and you carry it with you. Where the pouches would have been torn open, the cans would have been useless. The box is gone, you know? This is used over and over and over.

[TODD DEVOE] And that bottle is thick enough to wash and to reuse, unlike the little plastic bottles which crush and they’re useless. The one that you gave me at the IEM, I drank it, and it was delicious. And I brought it back to my office, and I had it sitting on one of my desks. I’m sitting there, looking at it, going, “I don’t want to throw it away, because it’s so useful.” I’m kind of sitting there like, “Man, this is awesome.” So, it is a really nice– I mean, this is a weird thing for me to talk about, like a product like this, but the bottle is nice. It’s a reusable bottle, and–

[MARCELLO] And it’s thick too.

[TODD DEVOE] It is nice and thick. So yeah, cool.

[MARCELLO] Very, very thick. One of the things, is we’re working– obviously, we just launched the company after a year, a year and a half of putting it together, testing it out. We launched it, you know, earlier this year. And the beautiful part about it is we’re working with all these organizations, especially hospitals, right now. I don’t know, there are seventeen verticals, and I don’t know if you know this, Medicare Medicaid created a program called “Shelter and Place,” where all hospitals have to have water in place in case of an emergency.

In fact, most organizations, most businesses should follow those practices, where there’s a 72-hour kit and some supply of water. So, usually, you want one to three liters. And with the hospitals, they usually do, I think, three liters per bed per day, and they usually try to get about 3 to 5 days’ worth of water, at least. And so, that’s just drinking water, that’s not the big containers that they’re going to use, for washing wounds, for whatever else they’re going to use it.

But talking to these hospitals, the way they’re doing it right now is they’re bringing in pallets, and pallets, and pallets of bottled water. And that bottled water has to be rotated every year, and it’s a pain to get rid of that. You know, it’s a pain to do it; put it in, get rid of it, put it in, get rid of it. And so, they understand that after about three to five years, if they just get a Puravai water bottle, it pays for itself. And when you consider that inflation, you know, water is not going to get cheaper, right? It’s going to get more expensive over time.

When you think about 20 years down the road, when you finally say, “We better drink this water or get rid of it if we haven’t used it for an emergency yet,” 20 years later, that’s some pretty cheap water at that point because of inflation.

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah, it’s true.

[MARCELLO] And so, they’re looking at this and saying, “We got to rethink this. The pouches tear, the boxes break, the cans don’t last, they leak. The bottles leak. The chemicals get into the small bottles, the regular drinking bottles.” This is the solution that they’re going, “Ok, this will last. This works. This makes sense. We can hand these out, people can take care of themselves at that point.” And so, it’s been really fun to have people do a cost-based analysis and just figure out– you know, it’s just fun watching it, it’s what I’m trying to say. That makes sense?

[TODD DEVOE] It sure does. How durable is this water to, say, if you were able to work with the United Nations or these organizations, the Peace Corps, or something like that, where they’re going over to areas where water is contaminated, to be able to get this water distributed? Is it something that could easily be done, or are you guys still in the process of ramping up to hold the supplies?

[MARCELLO] So, yes, it’s definitely a process that can be done. My recommendation is that we set up a– you know, if we were doing it for other countries, which we’ve already had people calling from the Red Crescent, out of Turkey, so– I didn’t know there was a Red Crescent. So, there’s the Red Cross here and there’s the Red Crescent there. And so, other countries have been saying, “Hey, can you do this for us as well?” And my recommendation would be, and we haven’t gotten to that point, we’re too new, it would be to set up a bottling plant out there, use out technology–

[TODD DEVOE] Gotcha.

[MARCELLO] And do it in the place. Because it gets pretty expensive to ship water, right?


[MARCELLO] Unless there’s a huge shipping container. Yeah, a shipping container. And that’s fine, because those are built to handle lots of weight and lots of water, and that’s fine. But as far as supplying lots of water right now, we are ramping up. We’re getting more and more orders right now, it’s about a 4-6-week time. We’re having to expand our production, so we will be able to handle more and more over time. But right now, it’s about 4-6 weeks, when people place an order. We want to get that down to, hopefully, by the next six months, down to about one to two weeks, and have this supply on-camp at all times for emergencies.

So, you saw the emergencies that happened in Texas, in Puerto Rico and Florida, and our water went out there.

[TODD DEVOE] Ok, cool.

[MARCELLO] Our water was out there, and I thought that was great. You know, we were able to help people out. I’d like to see that in FEMA’s hands. I’d like to see some of the organizations actually buy this water ahead of time and put it in strategic locations so that we don’t have to wait five days before it gets shipped out there. That’s what I’d love to see. And obviously, there’s two types of water in emergency, right? There’s immediate water, where you can’t wait for PepsiCo, whoever is going to can or bottle the water, to get it out to you, or Costco, or Sam’s Club. There’s immediate water, that is us. Puravai. Ok? That gets handed out right there on the spot, gets refilled over and over.

And then there’s the other water that gets shipped in because all the bottled water got taken and drunk really quickly, right? From the stores. And so, I’m hoping that a lot of the establishments out there start thinking ahead of time, and think, “Ok, what can we do to put water in strategic locations so that we do not have the problems we’re having?” And when the other water comes in, at least people were taken care of for three to five days. So, that’s who we are. We’re the first water. We’re the first emergency water until you can restock, if that makes sense.

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah, for sure. You know, Dr. Lucy Jones talks about when the large-scale earthquake does occur on San Andres’ Fault, and that’s what the Great Shakeout is built upon. She was saying that, you’re talking about six months without water, because the supplies are going to be jacked up. So, you know, I mean, we can’t hold six months’ worth of water supply, but at least we can get enough water here in the area until we can get tankers and stuff like that inside.

So, you know, water, like I said in the beginning of the show, for me, it’s one of those things I think about a lot. I’ve done a lot of reading. The Cadillac Desert is one of the premiere books, specifically talking about water shortages in the South West. And there’s some other documentaries and stuff that are based upon water shortages, and we see this today. We see that there’s a lot of contaminated areas of drinking water. As a matter of fact, I forget the name of the cities, I’ll look it up, I suppose, and put it up here. But there is a city in Central California – two cities, I believe – that ran out of water. People are having to ship water in, and buy water, you know, via Costco or whatever, and the bottles to drink and bathe in.

[MARCELLO] Oh, yeah. Isn’t that over by Porterville, or Visalia or something–

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah, Visalia, I think it was.

[MARCELLO] I don’t think it was Visalia, but I think it was south or southeast of Visalia. I think close to Porterville, if I remember right.

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah, that’s exactly the area I’m talking about. I mean, so the water issue, it’s something that, as emergency managers, we really need to be thinking about, and planning for. And whether it’s for being able to get water for everybody, which is going to be really hard to do, but at a minimum, we have to supply our staff and our first responders, so they can go out and support the public until we can get some additional supplies in. And I think that Marcello’s product here is something that you guys should take a look at. And just to be clear, you know, we’re not connected with them at all, there’s no money coming back to us through this interview.

That’s a product that I saw at the International Association of Emergency Managers, I got to meet Marcello, I think he’s a solid guy, I think his product is a solid product, and this is why I invited him to come on to the show to talk about what he’s doing. And obviously, you can tell, he’s very, very, very intelligent about what water is and how this is processed. So, I really think that you guys should at least take a look at what they have. So, Marcello, how can somebody get in touch with you regarding your product?

[MARCELLO] I’ll give my– my guess is that you’ve got some pretty good people on the show, I don’t think I have to worry about it, but I’m going to give you my personal line out, and anybody can reach out to me. And what we’ll do too, is if anybody just mentions they heard from the EM Weekly, we’ll just make sure that we give them our– they won’t pay retail prices, they’re going to pay some pretty good prices. So, we’ll give them our good discounts for water.

[TODD DEVOE] Oh, great.

[MARCELLO] So, just have them– you know, just say, “Hey, I heard Todd’s show, EM Weekly,” and I’ll (inaudible) to that. And by the way, I love your integrity. I love that you wouldn’t even let me give you any money, so I always like to help people out who are promoting us, and I thought that was really cool, that you’re saying, “No, we have a radio show, we want to keep the integrity of the show.” And so, I always like to give back, I always like to help people who help other people, and I feel like you’re helping our company. And as an entrepreneur, I want to thank you for that, first of all.

And second of all, if you need to get a hold of me, if you want to get a hold of me, I’m going to give you my email, and I’m also going to give you my cell phone number, and don’t– you know, don’t pass it around so people text me all day long and things like that. But just get a hold of me, text me or call me, just let me know that you heard from this show. And my email is Marcello, kind of like in Italy, right? Marcello. So, it’s Marcello@puravai.com. And by the way, that’s the name, Puravai, “Pura”, right? In Spanish, it means pure. And “vai”, one of our owners is Polynesian, and from his country, “vai” means water. So we have “pure water.”

[TODD DEVOE] Very good.

[MARCELLO] That’s what it is. Purevai. So, it’s Marcello@puravai.com, and my cell phone number is 801-808-8458. And feel free to reach out to me, and I’ll help you out where I can. I’m always excited to meet new people and help organizations out.

[TODD DEVOE] That’s awesome. So, I’m going to have the toughest question of the day for you.

[MARCELLO] Go for it.

[TODD DEVOE] What book or publication do you recommend to somebody in either emergency management, or leadership, or maybe just on water, do you recommend for people to read?

[MARCELLO] That’s a good question. I don’t think– I’ve been doing this for so long, it’s like, I think I just learned a ton on my own. I remember I was telling you about the 7 prep steps course. I built that more for families, so any family can go and learn. And one of the reasons why it took so long is because I had so much information, and I was trying to figure, how do you take all this information and condense it, so that anybody can, you know, not spend a year trying to understand it? So, they can get through it quickly?

And that’s where the 7 prep steps was born. You probably heard that story about the writer, the famous writer who ended up writing his friend a letter, right? And he said to his friend, “I’m so sorry, if I had more time, the letter would have been shorter.” And that’s exactly what I did. I took all this complex information, and how can I simplify it to the point where anybody can understand it and it’s very simple to get through the information? That’s what’s in the 7 prep steps book. It’s a workbook, it takes people through seven preparedness steps. And you know, just the first part of it, the first half of the book, is risk assessment. You mentioned something interesting, I don’t know if we have a few more minutes that I can talk for a little bit more.


[MARCELLO] But you mentioned something really interesting about California having the big earthquake, right? The thing that people don’t understand is they think, well, after the shake and everything, everything will be good. But if it’s a big enough earthquake, guess what happens? It breaks the water mains all over the place. And you do not have running water. And if you do have running water and the electricity is out, that water is not going to be running for very much longer.


[MARCELLO] And so, a lot of people don’t understand, when you have thousands and thousands of water mains broken in an area, that’s not going to get fixed overnight. It’s not going to be a week or two, ok? It’s going to be months. Six to twelve months to get that fixed. The same problem where I’m at, in Utah, we actually have one of the biggest fault lines in the world here, the most common fault line. It happens like clockwork, and we’re overdue. So probably in the next 40, 50 years, we’re going to have that problem. And the fault line goes across some of the biggest water mains in this area. So I know, personally, that I’m going to have to have at least 4 to 6 months of water in my big tanks that I store water in, and then a whole bunch of little drinking water in my small tanks, which is the Puravai.

And so, and the thing is that’s not uncommon. I mean, we’re talking– just to give you, not to burst the bubble of California. What they call it in California, the big one?

[TODD DEVOE] San Andres?

[MARCELLO] Yeah. You say they’re waiting for the big one, is it the big one?

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah, the big one, the San Andres fault. Yeah.

[MARCELLO] Yeah, they say the word is the big one, right?


[MARCELLO] The earthquake. Well, I don’t know if you know this, but Oregon, Washington; if California is the big one, than Oregon, Washington is the really big one.


[MARCELLO] And a lot of people don’t know that.

[TODD DEVOE] Yes, this is true.

[MARCELLO] Because you’ve got the Cascadia subduction zone right there, 15 miles off the coast of Oregon, Washington. And that thing is set to go off probably within the next 50 years or so. And you have, you know, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and all of those are on the New Madrid Missouri fault line. And when that goes off, it’s going to cause some pretty crazy things. But all over the United States, we have these problems. And earthquakes is just one of the many problems. We didn’t mention tornados, we didn’t mention hurricanes, we didn’t mention so many other things that people need to be prepared for. I mean, everything, you name it.

Anytime there’s any type of riot or crazy social unrest, people run to the stores and empty everything out.

[TODD DEVOE] Snow storms, right? I mean, the large snow storms back East.

[MARCELLO] Snow storms, totally. You name it. Because that can, you know, frozen pipes, blackouts for months– not months, but weeks. You know, you’re going to have a hard time getting water sometimes. There’s a lot of things out there, and water, you’re right, is one of the most important things you can have on hand. And you’ve heard the adage, you can go three seconds without hope, three minutes without air, three days without water, three weeks without food, right? And when you think about it, water is more important than food, and obviously, air is more important than water.

But for some reason, when there’s a big emergency or a big crisis, people can still breathe, that’s nice. So, the next thing on the list is obviously water, that’s the next thing that’s most important, just to keep us going.

[TODD DEVOE] Well, very well, Marcello, thank you so much for being here. I don’t want to take too much more of your time up. Like I said, I just want to say, everybody, check them out. Everything that Marcello just told us about his contact information, we’ll put down on the show notes. So, if you don’t have a pencil with you right now, don’t worry about it, we’ll have it down there for you to click on and go to, and check out the stuff.

We’re going to upload the video that we’re going to have, that we made when we were at the International Association of Emergency Managers Conference. Anything else that you’d like to add, Marcello, before you go?

[MARCELLO] No, just a pleasure to be on your show. You know, thank you for even thinking about us, it’s an honor, Todd. Thank you, and I hope for those of you listening, I hope in some way I can serve you. Anyway, even if you never purchase anything from us, I’d love to help you however I can. If we can help you with Puravai water, I’d love to.


LinkedIn:  linkedin.com/in/marcellosurjopolos

Website: https://puravai.com/home12787606

Twitter:  @msurjopolos‏

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/marcello

Email: marcello@puravai.com


Titan HST https://www.titanhst.com/

The Blue Cell http://www.thebluecell.com




About Brian 8 Articles
Eat, Sleep, Shoot, Repeat! Executive Producer of EM Weekly and Staff Photographer

1 Comment

  1. The topic of clean water is a very important one. I myself have never been provided bottled water as such in the military unfortunately. We always have to drink out of “water buffalos” which are at times not the cleanest and are treated with iodine and bleach in order to provide potable water. With that being said, it makes me happy to see that someone has gone to such a distance to come up with a truely sustainable source of water for first responders.

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