The storage and purification of water are vital issues in the grand scheme of
disaster preparedness. It is important to know how to store water properly before
disaster strikes and even more important to know how to purify water after a
disaster. Here are some important tips to help you.
- Store water in thoroughly washed plastic, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal
- Never use a container that has held toxic substances.
- Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles are best. You can also
purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums
- Seal water containers tightly, label and store them in a cool, dark place.
- Adding oxygen by pouring water back and forth between two clean containers
will improve the taste of stored water.
- Replace the water every six months.
While the storage of water is fairly simple and straight forward, water
purification is a bit more complex. In addition to having a bad odor and taste,
contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as
dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis. You should purify all water of uncertain
purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene. There are
many ways to purify water. None is perfect. Often the best method is a combination
Boiling and disinfection
will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy
metals, salts and most other chemicals. Distillation
will remove microbes that resist boiling and disinfection plus heavy metals,
salts and most other chemicals. Before purifying, let any suspended particles
settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or a clean
- Boiling is the safest method of purifying water. Bring water to a rolling
boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind some water will evaporate.
- Let the water cool before drinking.
- Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring
the water back and forth between two clean containers.
- You can use household bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular
household bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not
use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand 30 minutes.
If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let
stand another 15 minutes.
- The only agent used to purify water should be household liquid bleach.
Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping
or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as
the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.
- Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that
condenses back to water. The condensed water will not include salt and other
- To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on
the pot's lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down
(make sure the cup is not dangling into the water and boil the water for
20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.
GRANDVIEW, GRANGER, HARRAH, MABTON, MOXEE, NACHES, SELAH, SUNNYSIDE,
TIETON, TOPPENISH, UNION GAP, WAPATO, YAKIMA, YAKIMA COUNTY, ZILLAH
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