Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Water, water, everywhere...

and not a drop to drink. Or something like that, as the saying goes. What do you do if you are in an emergency, and you don't know if the water available is good for consumption?

My first choice would be to boil it, but what if, for whatever reason, (temperature outside, no/ low on fuel sources, etc.) I don't want to boil it? One option is to use bleach, but do you know the bleach/water ratio for safe drinking water? The directions for using Clorox bleach to purify water can be found on the Clorox website here. They can also be found in my emergency notebook, seeing as how they are the newest addition.

Wendy, over at iPrepared, has many posts on water storage, two of which can be found here, and here, where bleach is also mentioned. (The information about water storage on her site is even more extensive than these links, so I recommend that you look thoroughly at her water storage posts...) She recommends storing 28 gallons/person. Having water in storage is important, and will tide you over in the short term, even if the emergency you're facing turns out to be one of long-term duration. Using bleach is one alternative for purifying water if/when your water storage runs out, and I need to research other water-purifying alternatives, because somehow I just can't see a gallon of bleach making an appearance in our 72-hour kits if there are any other options. Yeah, still so much to learn....and when I figure more out, I'll probably post about it.

Also, this reminds me that bleach is a good addition to emergency supplies for other reasons, too--cleanliness is essential if you want to minimize the chances of illness in an emergency--illness that can come from many causes. You might want to check out the Clorox website for other uses and dilution information--it is highly likely that such information will find a home in my notebook as well. (Insert usual disclaimer that no one I know works for Clorox, and I am supplying this information as a starting point for doing whatever other research you think necessary in your situation.... :)

Please get some water in storage for you and/or the people for whom you would be/feel responsible for in an emergency situation. If you have it in storage, you don't have to worry about what is coming out of the tap, at least not initially. As noted, I need to do more research on water purification methods, because you can live longer without food than you can without water...


The McKeachnie Family said...

Something that might be worth investing in:


It's a compact, light weight (less than 1 pound), award-winning water purifier. We have one that we keep in our 72-hour kit and we love it! We store water as well, but we feel much better having this product.

Christy said...

Good reminder! My food storage is coming along nicely but I have no water storage yet.

Stephanie in AR said...

Just remember that household bleach is good for only about 6 months. This was a surprise to me and several other on-line friends. One of the dry chlorine pool chemicals was recommended for long term storage. One of the other commentors might have the link handy.

HermitJim said...

Very sensible information...and thanks for the links! I appreciate it!

The Scavenger said...

Marie, thanks for the link, I'll give it a read for sure. Let her know who sent me too. I never knew you could use bleach in that way. I learn so much from your blog and I thank you for taking the time to share what you have learned. I too come any know that I have much to learn. Thanks for keeping me thinking always about preparedness.


Anonymous said...

Marie, I have to toss my 2 cents in on the water issue. When using bleach even clorox bleach you must make sure it additive free, no scents, no nothing, but bleach. I buy Farm bleach at my local Farm store in 4 gallon cases for under $5.00. I went over to Wendy's excellent site and noticed that the warning about additives is kind of buried at the end.

I add 13 drops to a 2 litter pop bottle or 25 drops to a gallon.

I have 4 55 gallon food grade containers in the garage ( probably frozen right now) with only bleach as a preservative. I would use this water for Non-potable applications like the toilet...etc

Carl In Wisconsin

Marie said...

McKeachnie Family--Thanks for the link--that definitely looks like something that needs to go on my "to buy" list, probably sooner rather than later. I will probably buy extra filters, too, because I am a worrier... :)

Christy--Isn't it nice to watch your food storage amounts increase? Water storage can be a little harder, because the containers like the 55-gallon drums have gotten more expensive as time has gone by. Hopefully we will get some more in, because if we really are planning on cooking rice and beans and other foods that require a lot of water for preparation, we need to take water storage amount into consideration.

Stephanie--6 months isn't very long--does the bleach just lessen in strength so that you would need to use more to do the same job, or does it lose its potency altogether? I don't think that I would be brave enough to try the pool chemicals because I don't know that much about them, but others might want to look into it, so thanks for telling us about another option to look into.

HermitJim--Hopefully the links will help others like they help me--amazing how much information is out there that other people are willing to share!

Chris--I think the wonderful thing about blogs is that we learn from each other--so right back at you for all the information you provide. You always seem to make the new things you try seem easy... :)

Carl--Thank you for stressing the non-additive information--don't be surprised if it shows up really soon on another post. Thanks also for more bleach/water ratios--they're going in the notebook!

My thanks to everyone for your comments and additional information. I really appreciate and learn a lot from you!


Stephanie_in_ar said...

Ok - Did a quick google & found an even better explaination that what I had read (from someone I read daily too) check his post here:


Marie said...

Stephanie--Checked that link out, and it's loaded with information--thanks very much for sending it!

Connor said...


A few months ago, I compiled a six page document detailing all sorts of information about water purification and storage. It can be accessed here and freely shared. Hope you enjoy!

Marie said...

Connor--Thanks very much!! That has a lot of detail that I didn't know about, and I am going to refer people to it--thanks again for sharing!