Storing at the very least a three-day supply is recommended, but consider storing a one to three month supply if your home has enough space for it. You can store water in food grade plastic or glass containers with tight fitting screw-on caps. You can buy new plastic containers for water storage in most housewares and sporting goods departments, and clean food-grade containers may be available for purchase at water vending machines. Containers not labeled for food or beverage storage could release harmful chemicals into the water. If you are on a municipal water supply, the water you are currently using for drinking and cooking should also be suitable for storing for emergencies.
The quality of the well construction and of the water in private water supplies varies greatly in North Carolina.
If you are on a private water supply, a generator will allow you to continue pumping water when there is a power outage. If you are on a community water system, this water should be tested regularly by the operator. If your community water system owner or operator cannot provide documentation that EPA requirements have been met year-round, this water should be considered the same as water from a private well. Water vending machines are systems where customers fill their own containers with water that has been treated in some way. If you are on a municipal water system, water from a properly installed and maintained treatment system may be stored for emergency use. If you are on a private water system, you should still consider purchasing bottled water for storage.
An improperly maintained water treatment system may actually make the water quality worse, by adding contaminants back into it instead of removing them. If a person on a private water supply has a whole-house treatment system that includes a process such as reverse osmosis or distillation, the water could be safe to store if the system was installed correctly, and if the owner has properly maintained the system. Water stored in metal containers should not be treated, prior to storage, with chlorine since the chlorine compound is corrosive to most metals.
Do not use water that is cloudy, or water that has any odor other than the chlorine you added.
If a disaster catches you without a big enough stored supply of clean water, you can use the water in your hot-water tank, pipes, and ice cubes. To use the water in your hot-water tank, be sure that plumbing fixtures and the water heater are not submerged by flood. Waterbeds hold up to 400 gallons of water, but some water beds contain toxic chemicals that are not fully removed by purifiers. If you need to find water outside your home, the only sources may contain harmful bacteria.
In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis. Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers.
While the two methods described above will kill most microbes in water, distillation will remove microbes that resist these methods, and heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. With only a small amount of effort and money, your family can be prepared with this most important necessity: a safe, adequate supply of drinking water during any natural disaster or power outage. I have a few 55 gal containers, that were originally used by a pharma co, for raw product, and i would like to use these drums for water storage, Do you know where I can get liners for the drums that are food safe, I only need about 6 and don’t want to invest in a large amount. I actually did use mason jars for water when we had emergencies or threats of no water for a period of time, however, I have found that using them for long term storage is unrealistic. Filtering water gets rid of things such as dirt, rocks, leaves etc while boiling kills bacteria. However, when safe drinking water is unavailable, it is more than just an inconvenience – it can become a health emergency. Food-grade containers include those that previously held beverages, such as 2-liter soda bottles and other water, juice, or punch containers. If you are on a private water supply, it is recommended that you buy bottled water to store.


Storing bottled water (see private water supplies, above) is probably much less risky than storing water from such a supply. Most water treatment systems and purification pitchers are effective for treating some types of contaminants, but may not remove other types of contaminants at all. To treat water for storage, use liquid household chlorine bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite.
Because most plastic beverage containers degrade over time, store them away from heat and light to prevent leakage. Make sure the shelves or area in which you store the water is strong enough to support the weight. If you lose electricity, the frozen water will help keep foods in the freezer frozen until power is restored. Once opened, sanitary measures are important when using the water to keep it safe and to control exposure to bacteria. You’ll need to shut it off to stop contaminated water from entering your home if you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines, or a failure at the water treatment plant. You should purify all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene.
If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.
Iodine, water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores, and other chemicals that do not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.
Distillation: Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water.
If you lose electricity then the frozen water bottle will help keep your foods colder longer. Pour it in your container and shake to sanitize all areas then rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Another way, if possible, is to let the water stand overnight so the particles settle to the bottom before pouring into a filter. While I do choose to rotate my water every year or two, I would suggest that so long as the water went into a container clean and you didn’t do anything dumb like storing the water in direct sunlight or in high temperatures then the water should be perfectly fine to store for long periods of time. The department of homeland security recommends that we change out our water for two reasons.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and winter storms are examples of natural disasters that can interrupt the supply of safe drinking water. Most people need to drink at least two quarts (64 ounces), which is equal to eight cups, of water each day. Plastic milk bottles should be avoided, because it is difficult to remove protein and fat residues, which may allow bacteria to grow during storage. Water from a public water supply is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North Carolina Division of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Be sure the bottled water label has the IBWA (International Bottled Water Association) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) seal, or an NYSDH certification number. Since FDA requires that water for vending machines come from an approved public water supply, the assumption is that the water meets EPA drinking water standards.
Most improve water for day-to-day use, but do not remove the contaminants we are concerned about during storage.
If the water does not smell like chlorine at that point, repeat the dose and let it stand another 15 minutes. Because hydrocarbon vapors can penetrate polyethylene plastics, store water in plastic containers away from gasoline, kerosene, pesticides, or similar substances. For best quality, replace water stored from a public, or vended water supply every six months.
Leave 2 to 3 inches of air space in the top of containers before freezing, to keep the container from breaking as water expands during freezing. To reduce the chance of water contamination, do not open more containers than are needed at the time. Start the water flowing by opening the drain at the bottom of the tank and turning on a hot-water faucet.


Do not add algicides or other additives (with the exception of chlorine bleach) if this water is to be used as a water reserve. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. The water should be either municipal or bottled water, because these sources are inspected and tested regularly for many different contaminants. One is to get an idea of how much drinking water our family actually uses and two, for sanitary reasons. I have 2 water heaters, only use the last one in the loop to heat water the other just kinda holds it to warm it up. Chlorine bleach bottles may be a food approved plastic, but contain an anti-static agent which prevents accumulation of dust during storage and are thus not recommended.
EPA and the State of North Carolina require that all public water suppliers regularly test for bacteria and deliver water that meets EPA drinking water standards.
These organizations require periodic water testing and inspections of the bottling facility .
Even if the water has been tested for coliform bacteria, there are other microorganisms that could cause problems during storage. Water quality can vary with weather and other conditions, so test results should show a pattern of meeting EPA standards year-round.
For commercially bottled distilled or drinking water, check the label for an expiration date.
Remember to leave some space at the top of the bottle because the water will expand once it forms into ice. There is always a chance that your water has somehow got bacteria in it from not sanitizing the water containers properly. Every household should have an emergency water supply to meet its members’ needs during these situations. The amount of water you need will also depend on the total amount of juices, soups, other drinks, and high moisture foods that are available. While you can expect that water from a public water supply will be safe, remember that the container used to collect and store the water must also be clean. However, the machine must be kept clean, and the treatment equipment must be properly maintained, in order for the vended water to be good quality.
If none is given, bottled water with the IBWA or NSF seal should have a shelf-life of at least one year. If refrigeration is not available and containers are stored at room temperature, be extra careful to avoid introducing bacterial contamination into the bottled water. You may be able to purchase bottled drinking or distilled water at the time of need, but stores may quickly sell out.
Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. Water from a system which meets these requirements should be safe to store, with the same treatment as municipal water.
Additionally, the container used to collect and store the water must be clean, as anything remaining in the container after cleaning could result in bacterial contamination. To improve the taste of water stored for a long time, pour it from one clean container to another clean container several times, to put air back into it.
Turn the pot’s lid upside-down and tie a cup under the handle, so that the cup will hang right-side-up (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water) and boil the water for 20 minutes. Also, some old glass jars were made with glass that contains lead, and unacceptable amounts of lead can leach into water stored in them even for short periods.



Emergency medicine
Helping your neighborhood


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