FRANKLIN COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
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.
Purification - General
- Never use a container that has held
- Plastic containers, such as soft drink
bottles are best. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets
- 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 of methods. Boiling and disinfecting
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 disinfecting 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 cloth.
Purification - Boiling
- 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.
Purification - Disinfecting
Purification - Distillation
- 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
- 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 impurities.
- 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