Truth or Myth in Water Storage

We can only live without water for a few days.
A Minimum of 1 Gallon of Water per Person per Day is recommended.

  • ½ gallon Drink, ½ gallon Food Preparation & Sanitation
  • Need More Water in High Altitude or Dry Climates
  • Need More for children, elderly, sick, nursing mothers, those who are physically exerting themselves
  • The longer the emergency, more water per day will be needed, for things like laundry, care of the sick, washing, sanitation.

    Store at least enough water for a Minimum of 1 Week
    Recommended to store for 1 Month or More

    Enemies of Water Storage

  • Sunlight
  • Temperature Extremes
  • Contamination
  • Parasites
  • Protozoa
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Chemicals
  • Heavy Metals
  • Sediments

    What are the best Water Storage Containers to use?
    There are many options for Containers, some better than others.
    Use Tight fitting Lids to prevent loss of water and to prevent pests,
    other organisms & debris from contaminating your water.

    Commercial Water Storage Containers are recommended

  • Food Grade Plastic
  • Blue Color to prevent light from getting to the water
  • Heavy Duty plastic, will not split, leak or collapse.
  • Okay if they freeze - just leave some head space.
  • Tight seal

    Pre-used Containers - Recommended for NON-Drinking water use only.

  • Do Not use containers which held chemicals
    Be Aware:
  • Retains smell and taste of previous contents
  • Is Semi-permeable and will absorb tastes or odors stored close by
  • Do Not store near other chemicals or vapors
  • Do not store directly on concrete - place 2x4 wood underneath to give air from concrete.
  • Be aware of Possible breakage
  • Do not store water in glass if a possibility of freezing
  • Often leaves metallic taste to water
  • Possibility of rust

    How is the best way to fill my Water Containers?

  • Use a Drinking Water White Food Grade Hose - Not a garden hose
  • Not necessary to “Re-Treat” Municipal Water
  • Treat Well or Other Ground Water Before Storing
  • Fill to Just Overflowing to remove as much contaminants as possible

    What should I do with my stored barrels?

  • Keep it Cool & Dark
  • Vary Container Sizes - store some that are small enough to carry when full.
  • Do Not Store Directly on the Concrete
  • Consider difficulty to Empty & Refill
  • Check Yearly - Rotate water yearly if desire fresh tasting water.
    If you don't get it rotated, it will still be safe to drink if you had a clean barrel, clean water, and sealed it. It just won't taste as good.

    Where should I Store my Barrels?

  • Store in Multiple Locations
  • Indoors in a Basement
  • Food Storage Room
    OK Location
  • Garage
  • Storage Shed
  • Under Sinks
  • Beware of proximity to possible chemical contaminants
    Last Resort
  • Outside
    Cover with a heavy tarp
    Rotate more often
    Don’t fill to the top

    What Other sources of Water are Safe to Use?

  • Pipes – shut off outside water source if you suspect lines may be or become contaminated – don’t turn back on until told safe by authorities
  • Water Heater
  • Tank behind toilet – not the bowl
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Pools, Hot tubs & Waterbeds – Use this water for hygiene and sanitation.

    Water Treatment – A 3 Part Process
    1. Pre-Strain

  • Strain water through a cloth, coffee filter, dust mask, or t-shirt, to remove the large particles.
  • Allow particles to settle to the bottom or collect at the top to be skimmed off
  • Purpose is to extend the life of your filter.

    2. Filtration

  • Filters remove chemicals, sediments, protozoa, bacteria, heavy metals
  • Filters do not remove viruses
  • Activated Carbon in a filter absorbs chemicals and dissolved minerals like chlorine that can cause odor or bad taste
  • The smaller the micron level, the better the filter.

    3. Purification
    Kills Viruses and any bacteria still in the water.

  • Susceptible to heat, light and moisture
  • 5 year shelf life in unopened bottle, 1 year in opened bottle
  • Do not use longer than a few weeks straight – short term emergency use only
  • Do not use if pregnant, have an allergy to iodine or have a thyroid problem
    Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach)
  • One year shelf life
  • Use pure bleach, not the scented or colored
  • 8 drops bleach per gallon of water if clear
  • 16 drops bleach per gallon if water is cloudy
  • Wait 30 min before use
  • Dry chlorine has a longer shelf life. Talk to manufacturer about proper use.
  • Must be tested for safe level of chlorine before use
  • Must wait 24 hours before testing
    Chlorine Dioxide
  • Iodine and chlorine free.
  • A significantly stronger oxidant than iodine, with greater pathogen killing power.
  • Often used to improve the taste of water by neutralizing unpleasant flavors.
  • A rolling boil for 5 minutes will kill all organisms in the water
  • Distilling is more involved, but does a better job than boiling alone.