serious disaster conditions, no water can be presumed safe
for consumption. Typhoid fever, dysentery, and infectious
hepatitis are diseases that are associated with unsafe water.
It is important to keep in mind that water purification techniques
may be effective in removing some, but not all contaminants
from water. The only way to guarantee a safe water supply
is to store it away prior to a disaster.
inspect a stocked water supply, this should be done at least
every six months. Check containers for leaks or problems.
To increase the shelf life of stored water use translucent
containers, group the containers together in dark plastic
bags and store them in a dark area. Polyethylene plastics
including water and milk cartons can be permeated by hydrocarbon
vapors and should not be stored near gasoline, kerosene, pesticides,
or similar substances.
shelf life of water depends on the original quality of the
water, the temperature at which the water is stored, and how
much light it is exposed to during storage. Many manufacturers
of bottled water will include a shelf life on their product.
Stored water may eventually develop a disagreeable appearance,
taste, or odor.
when a crisis occurs, untainted water is not always available.
A number of options exist to purify water. Boiling is one
of the more popular and well known methods. Boiling water
removes bacteria. In order to purify water using heat, bring
the water to a rolling boil for at least one full minute (10
minutes is suggested). Cool the water and pour it back and
forth between two clean containers, this will improve its
alternative to purify polluted water, is to strain the water
through paper towels, paper coffee filters, or several layers
of clean cloth. This will remove any sediment or flaking material
and help filter impurities. It is suggested that the water
should then be boiled. Water should be boiled longer at higher
method of purification is to strain the water as described
above, and then to chemically purify it by adding liquid bleach
or tincture of iodine. To purify using bleach add 16 drops
(1/8 teaspoon) of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
Stir the bleach into the water. Sodium hypochlorite of 5.25%
to 6% should be the only active ingredient in the bleach.
There should not be any added soap or fragrances. A major
bleach manufacturer has also added Sodium Hydroxide as an
active ingredient, which they state does not pose a health
risk for water treatment.
Let the water stand for a minimum of 30 minutes. After standing
for 30 minutes if it smells of chlorine consider it safe to
drink. If it does not smell of chlorine, add 16 more drops
(1/8 teaspoon) of chlorine bleach per gallon of water, let
the mixture stand for another 30 minutes, and smell it again.
If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell
of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.
Water that is chemically purified should only be used for
hygiene purposes only. If chemically purified water is consumed,
it may cause diarrhea due to chlorine content and can even
cause permanent kidney damage.
not use granular forms of household bleach to purify water,
as granular bleach is poisonous. If you are using tincture
of iodine to purify water use three drops of tincture of iodine
per liter of clear water. If the water is cloudy, then these
amounts should be doubled. An eye dropper should be stored
with emergency supplies.
bleach loses strength over time. For this reason, mark each
bleach container with the current date. If the bleach is one-year-old,
double the amount. Two-year-old bleach should not be used.
alternative for water purification is to use water purification
tablets. Generally water
purification tablets will purify one liter of water. The tablets
have a shelf life of two years and lose their effectiveness
if them get damp. When purifying water only purify enough
water to last a 48 hours. Water allowed to sit for longer
than this may become re-contaminated.
Francesca Black is a prolific writer and has generated a number
of educational articles about emergencies. Additional articles
can be found at Prepare for Emergency http://www.prepare-for-emergency.com