We discussed the need for water storage as well as the complexities of “expired” water. What should you do if you didn’t store enough water? What if you didn’t purchase a WaterBOB or the like and your bathtub is a little more disgusting for drinking purposes that tolerable? Very clear guidance and multiple, inexpensive methods exist for disinfecting water.
According to the EPA, the very best way to sterilize water is to boil it. Boiling water is the most effective way to remove disease-causing microorganisms. If you are not able to boil your water, there are several other methods available to include household bleach (regular, unscented variety), iodine, and water purification tablets. Regarding the bleach, I have to point out that there is a shelf-life associated with the effectiveness of bleach. The normal shelf-life of bleach is 3-5 months (effected by the temperature of storage). After this timeframe, its potency drops below the level identified as required by the EPA to effectively disinfect the water. Dropping below this strength level negates the ratios of water to bleach as outlined by the EPA and will then essentially leave you guessing. Keep this in mind if you are counting on using bleach as a water purification option. You know this is the beginning of a new year, it is the perfect time to get yourself on an easy to remember rotation schedule for bleach. January bottles get switched up halfway through the year. The purification tablets mentioned can be purchased in the camping section of any common discount store and are extremely inexpensive. And now for our spoiled selves, there is a secondary bottle for water purification tablets that helps remove the taste/smell associated with using the traditional purification tablets.
The EPA makes a really great factsheet regarding water purification for survival needs. All the details discussed here plus more are available via this form. I’ve done quite a bit of research regarding water storage/purification for emergency preparedness and this is the most concise form of quick facts/directions I’ve found. The page can be found at:
One last reminder: These purification methods are not indicated as effective for removing chemicals in water/groundwater. If your water source has been contaminated by chemicals, there is no guarantee that these methods can remove said chemicals.
Questions, comments, or any concerns that we haven’t addressed, let me know.