contaminants should I worry about?
are several possible contaminants that
you need to consider when making a
selection for emergency water: bacteria,
protozoa, viruses and chemicals are all
possible contaminants that make water
unsafe to drink. Debris and color in the
water may not be harmful by themselves.
But if they carry bacteria, the water
becomes unsafe. Aesthetic components
such as taste, odor, and hardness are
not at all harmful to health, but they
may be a consideration in the storage or
treatment option you choose.
need to put chlorine in the water before
I store it?
water source is not chlorinated,
household bleach (5% sodium
hypochlorite) should be added. Regular,
unscented bleach is best but brand does
not matter. No bleach is needed if you
are storing chlorinated water from a
public water supply. If you don’t know
whether your tap water has been
chlorinated, you can call your water
provider or test your tap water with a
spa kit (a commercially-available water
quality testing kit for home hot tubs
much chlorine do I need to use?
1/4 teaspoon (16 drops) of bleach per
gallon of water if the water is cloudy
and 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops) if the water
What about calcium hypochlorite?
Hypochlorite more commonly known as Pool
Shock, is one of our preferred methods
for water purification. This is our
choice for water purification. We cover this
Use of Pool Shock, Calcium Hypochlorite
to Purify Water
long do I need to boil contaminated
Boiling water for 3 to
5 minutes will kill pathogens (bacteria,
protozoa, viruses, etc.). The higher the
elevation, the longer you need boil the
water to kill the same pathogens (as
much as 12 minutes in the high
mountains). Note that boiling will
change the taste of the water and should
be cooled before drinking.
just plan on treating water as I need
it, instead of storing it?
some treatment equipment is easier to
store than water, and you never know the
nature of the disturbance that will
necessitate the need for water, we
recommend preparing for at least one
treatment option in addition to storing
water. Treating water instead of storing
it will save space but relies on a water
source and one may not be available. If
the delivery of water to your home is
interrupted, a treatment option will not
work. However, if water is still
available but the safety and quality of
the water is suspect, then treatment
methods will be useful in making that
water safe to drink.
long will it keep?
Commercially packaged water can be
stored for about 5 years; home filled
stored water should be changed annually.
Stored water will go flat but can be
aerated prior to consumption by pouring
it between two containers a few times.
kind of container can I use?
Storage containers should be airtight,
resistant to breakage, and heavy enough
to hold water--which weighs 8.34 pounds
per gallon. They should have a lining
that will not rust or affect the flavor.
Consider the size, weight (once filled
with water), ease of use, rotation and
portability of the container you select.
See the list of common containers below.