Upon surviving a disaster, it is likely that your water supply may become contaminated or temporarily restricted. Since water is necessary to live, it is crucial to know where to find and purify it in order to make it safe to drink. It isn’t always easy to get water, so here are some steps to help you get the water you need.
Sources of Water
In your home, sources of water may include the water from your hot water heater, toilet tank water (not from the bowl), water pipes, or melted the ice cubes from the freezer.
Hot Water Heater
Disconnect the power to the hot water heater and allow the unit to cool down. Next, place a container below and open the valve that drains the water near the bottom of the unit. Until your water services are fully restored, leave the unit turned off.
By turning on your home’s highest faucet, it will release enough air pressure into your plumbing system to then drain water from your lowest faucet.
The water from your toilet tank (not from the bowl) should be safe enough to use unless a sanitizer or chemical treatment was previously added.
The Exterior of Your Home
Collect spring water, rain water, or water from lakes, rivers and streams. Make sure to purify the water prior to using.
Avoid Water Beds
Avoid drinking water from water beds as a drinkable source of water. Pesticides are in the bed’s plastic casing and it’s likely that chemicals were previously added in order to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and algae. Water beds are only safe enough for laundering and hand-washing.
Chemical sterilization and boiling are both ways to effectively purify water.
All water sources that appear cloudy and are obtained from outside the home should be sterilized before drinking. Water that’s not sterilized could be polluted with a parasite.
Before starting the purification process, water that consists of floating debris or sediment must be strained with either a paper filter or cloth.
Boiling may not be a choice in certain situations. The best alternative is to chemically treat the water. Traditional chlorine bleach may be used. Read the label to ensure the only active ingredient is hypochlorite. Bleach that contains fragrances or soap is unacceptable.
For every gallon of water, add 8 drops of chlorine bleach (use 16 drops for cloudy water), thoroughly stir, and let it sit. The water should smell and taste like chlorine after 1/2 hour. Once it reaches this point, it’s ready for use. If the smell, taste, or appearance is still cloudy, add another dose and simply let it sit. If the water doesn’t smell like chlorine after another 1/2 hour, refrain from using it.
Boiling Water/Heat Sterilization
Boiling water is the preferred way to purify water since harmful disease-producing microorganisms can’t survive in such intense heat.
Bring water to an extreme boil for about 1 minute. Using a few containers, continue to pour the water back and forth to improve the taste. Adding a pinch of salt may help as well.
Annette Hazard is a freelance that suggests the experts at Oakville Pump Service, Inc. for help in getting clean water. She often writes about saving money and can be found on G+.