Water Treatments

Here are some general tips for storing water in your home:

  • Try to store water away from light and heat.
    • If you must store water outside, make sure to store it in opaque containers (such as the blue 55 gallon drums or blue 5 gallon containers) so no light can get in AND rotate it more often.
      Store water in containers in a variety of sizes. For example, large drums work well unless you have to leave your home. 16.9 oz water bottles work well unless you need a sink full of water to bathe or wash dishes in.
    • If you do store water in large drums, make sure you also store a bung wrench and siphon pump so you can effectively get the water out.
    • If storing water inside, you can use soda, Gatorade, or non-refrigerated juice bottles etc as long as they aren’t exposed to light.
    • Do not use milk jugs or refrigerated juice bottles to store water in.
    • If storing water in container that previously held juice / soda etc, make sure they are very well cleaned with bleach before storing drinking water in them.
    • If storing water in clear containers (like soda or juice bottles), make sure you store them away from light and rotate every 6 months.
  • Do not store water containers directly on cement. Instead, place a piece of scrap wood (you can get it for free at Home Depot) under them.
  • Do not store water where it will freeze (frozen water is difficult to use)
    As an extra precaution you can add 1/8 tsp bleach to every gallon of water you store.

    • If you are concerned about the taste of bleach treated water (especially if you have kids), store powdered drink mixes to help mask that taste.
    • If you add bleach to your water, rotate it every 12 months
    • If you do not add bleach to your water, rotate it every 6 months and store a water filter in case it becomes contaminated.
    • If you do not want to treat your water with bleach (I do not), you can chlorine dioxide instead. It is more expensive, but is tasteless and gives your water a 5 year shelf life. Some use Aquamira.
    • If you want to be sure your water is safe to drink before you drink it in an emergency, you can store a water safety test.
    • You can store water that is to be used for bathing and cleaning in old laundry soap containers (or similar)
    • Clearly label all containers: “Drinking water” vs “For cleaning only”
    • Consider storing a water filter so that if your stored water is contaminated for any reason (or you haven’t been able to rotate it), you will still be able to use it. Recommend Sagan, Katadyn or Aquamira filters.
    • Keep all stored water away from stored gasoline, kerosene, pesticides, or similar substances.
      It can be a good idea to store a few containers of water in the freezer to help keep food frozen should the power go out for a period of time.

And some tips for using your water during an emergency:

  1. If supplies run low, DO NOT ration your water. Drink what you need today (2 quarts for most people, more if extremely hot, pregnant or nursing) and try to find more tomorrow.
  2. Minimize the amount of water you need by reducing activity and staying cool.
  3. If you have not stored enough water, you can usually find 30-60 gallons of water in your water heater (as long as public water is still considered safe).
  4. You can also use the water in the reservoir tank of your toilets (not the bowl) if treated with bleach first (1/8 tsp per gallon).
    Canned fruits and vegetable also contain water that you can use to hydrate yourself.

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