Water Storage and Flint, Michigan.

Water storage has been on my mind since the state of Michigan’s crisis with safe drinking water that began several months ago.  Flint’s tap water became contaminated with too much lead after the city switched it’s water supply in 2014 to save money while under state financial management.

Ensuring residents have safe water to drink has been a struggle. You can’t boil lead out of water.  People have been told to not drink the water until it has been determined to be safe.  Guard members have finally been called in to assist the police and volunteers to hand out bottled water, filters and water testing kits.

Then to really add insult to injury, the residents of Flint are still being required to pay their water bills.  You know, for water that is too dangerous to drink.  Think toxic waste dangerous.  Swell.  All I can say is thank goodness for celebrities.

I keep thinking of how much less stressful things might have been if residents would have had a supply of water storage instead of having to scramble and depend on the government.  As a matter of fact, it’s being reported that Michigan officials knew last year that Flint’s water might be poisoned, but chose to keep that possibility to themselves.  Sweet, eh?   The FDA is conduction a full review of the situation.

water storage

I’ve written about emergency water storage on the blog and Barb created this information filled post to help you calculate your family’s water storage needs.  It’s a good time to review both posts.

Here are a few more things to consider when storing water.

*Don’t use empty milk jugs for water storage.  The plastic is too thin and will break down within a few months.  Bacteria from the milk can become lodged in the plastic of the jug and then transferred to your water.

*Do not store your water near gasoline, kerosene, pesticides or similar substances.

*If you have a pool, you have water you have water for cleaning and bathing, but NOT for drinking.  While pool water has been chlorinated, it most likely has other chemical in it that are not safe for drinking.

*Properly stored water does NOT go bad. However, it may taste funky.  To solve this issue, just pour the water from one container to another several times, back and forth.  Or store things such as Kool-Aide, lemon or lime juice, to help with the taste of your water.
The time to prepare for an emergency is now.  Not after things fall apart.   Do your research.  Make your plan.  When you are prepared you don’t have to worry about any crisis down the road.

How is your water storage coming along?   What techniques work best for you when storing water?

Photo credit: rakerman via VisualHunt / CC BY

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How To Disinfect Water With Pool Shock

Bleach is a common item in a preppers stockpile. While bleach has many important uses in an emergency situation, it has drawbacks: it expires quickly and it takes up a lot of space.

According to the Clorox website, the shelf life of regular Clorox Bleach (do not buy scented or splash-less or anything else for prepping) is:

The active ingredient in liquid bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is very sensitive to high heat and freezing, but under normal home storage conditions, it should still perform well for nine to twelve months. So if your storage conditions were either of these, then you will have irreversibly created salt and water.

Next question is intended use. The active does decline over time and to meet our EPA disinfecting requirements, you are probably on-the-edge; so I might add a little more than the 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water for any disinfecting projects. For general cleaning, you should be fine since a little liquid bleach goes a long way.

Even with this drawback, I believe that storing bleach is an important part of emergency planning. You just have to constantly be vigilant about rotating through it. Some of the reasons to stock bleach include:

Pool shock, or Calcium Hypochlorite granules, is a better solution for long term storage of bleach and portability. You can use the granules to disinfect larger amounts of water, like the emergency water in your rain barrel. Calcium Hypochlorite stores for years without losing is effectiveness. A 1 lb bag that you can buy in most pool stores can disinfect 10,000 gallons of water and typically costs $7-$12 depending on the percentage of calcium hypochlorite in the mixure. The pool shock that you can buy in places like Walmart and Target typically have 52% percent calcium hypochlorite, you can get bags with 68% calcium hypochlorite sometimes, or if you live by a Leslie’s Pool Supply you can find 99% bags called Chlor-brite and/or order the Nava brand from our Amazon affiliate link.

*Reminder: According to the EPA boiling is the surest method to make water safe to drink and kill disease-causing microorganisms like Giardia lambliaand Cryptosporidium, which are frequently found in rivers and lakes. But boiling isn’t always possible so in those instances you are going to want to know how to chemically disinfect water.

disinfect water with pool shock

How To Disinfect Water With Pool Shock

Using calcium hypochlorite granules is a 2 step process. First you make the stock chlorine and then you mix it in the drinking water. Think of it as first making a bottle of bleach and then using that in the water.

Add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately ¼ ounce) for each two gallons of water, or 5 milliliters (approximately 7 grams) per 7.5 liters of water.

The mixture will produce a stock chlorine solution of approximately 500 milligrams per liter, since the calcium hypochlorite has available chlorine equal to 70 percent of its weight.

To disinfect water, add the chlorine solution in the ratio of one part of chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water to be treated. This is roughly equal to adding 1 pint (16 ounces) of stock chlorine to each 12.5 gallons of water or (approximately ½ liter to 50 liters of water) to be disinfected.

To remove any objectionable chlorine odor, aerate the disinfected water by pouring it back and forth from one clean container to another. -directions from water.epa.gov

One issue that arises when storing pool shock is that fumes do build up. You need to respect that this is a powerful chemical and you will need to be careful when opening it. Make sure whichever method you choose for storing this, you have it clearly labeled that there can be dangerous fumes upon opening it. 

Some suggestions for storing your pool shock. Leave the 1lb bags in their original packaging:

  • Vacuum seal the package with your food saver. This would probably be the best way to place it in a bug out bag.
  • Place in mason jar and vacuum seal the lid.
  • Place in 3 or 5 lb plastic food buckets (like the kind you would store rice or beans) but store the pool shock by itself.
  • Place in a clamp down glass jar with rubber ring.

No matter how you store calcium hypochlorite you should vent it at least once a year wearing protective gear and please, please, please remember to label it as though your children would come across it. And of course, keep it out of reach of children in the first place.

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How to Get Emergency Water From Water Heater

Most homes have a water heater that holds at least 30 gallons of potable water. It’s one of the conveniences we take for granted, until it stops working! But many of us don’t take for granted the fact that we do have a 30 gallons of emergency water from water heater

storage device in our house! If you are working on building your supply of water, I recommend that you don’t include your water heater when calculating your water storage needs. This way, you have an extra 30 gallons to buffer you beyond the time you plan for. If you are still working oplastic tub for water heater drainingn building that supply, knowing you have that tank may set your mind at ease a bit.

I recommend you watch this video now. Then print out these directions, gather a cheap garden hose, and tape the directions to the outside of a large plastic bucket.

 

Depending on how clean it looks after drained you may want to disinfect the water with pool shock or bleach.

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