Purifying Water in Case of a Disaster (6 Different Methods)

Author Lee Flynn

It’s important to be prepared to keep your family safe in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. One of the most critical aspects of emergency preparedness is the availability of emergency food and clean drinking water. If running water is not available, you will need to purify water from other sources so that your family can drink it without getting sick.

Experts recommend that you store one gallon of water per person per day in case of emergency. If this supply runs out, water from lakes, rivers, streams as well as rainwater can be consumed after using one of the following purifying techniques.

Read on to learn more about methods for purifying water to drink in an emergency situation.

6 Methods for Purifying Water:

1. Boiling

If you have a heat source available, boiling water is the simplest way to purify. Water should be boiled if it has been exposed to air for more than 48 hours. Heat it to a rolling boil and boil for ten minutes to kill bacteria.

2. Bleach

If no heat source is available, 5 percent unscented bleach can effectively purify your water supply. Add 1/8 of a teaspoon of bleach to each gallon of water, shake it up thoroughly, and let sit for at least one hour before consuming. If the water is cloudy, run it through a filter before adding bleach.

3. Granular Calcium Hypochlorite

This chemical can be kept on hand to purify water in the event of an emergency. Add one heaping teaspoon of the powdered chemical to two gallons of water and allow to dissolve to make a chlorine solution. Next, add this solution to your drinking water at a ratio of one part solution to 100 parts water (approximately one pint to each 12.5 gallons of water to be disinfected).

4. Chlorine Tablets

Commercially prepared chlorine tablets for the purpose of water purification are available at sporting goods stores and other retailers. Keep some on hand so that you can purify your water supply in case of an emergency. In general, one tablet will purify one quart of water, but follow the directions on the package to ensure that you’re using the tablets correctly.

5. Iodine

If you have iodine on hand in your medicine cabinet, it can be used to purify water. Use five drops of 2 percent iodine for each quart of water, or 10 drops if the water is particularly cloudy. Let stand for one hour before drinking.

6. Water Purification Systems

Many camping supply stores and other retailers sell complete water purification systems, some of which run on electricity. While these systems are typically effective, they are not one of the primary methods for water purification approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, they may be expensive and may not work in the event of an emergency where power is not available.

Methods for Purifying Water in Case of a Disaster!

What ways do you plan on purifying water?

While these six methods are effective to disinfect water, they do not remove disease causing parasites. If you’re concerned about parasites, purchase a portable water filter and use it to filter your water before disinfecting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only purified water should be used for drinking, making ice, coffee and other drinks, bathing, washing hands, and brushing teeth. To avoid running out of water in case of an emergency, store at least a three-day supply of bottled water for each person in your family, preferably more.

Replace your stored water supply every six months. If you are storing your own water rather than using commercial bottled water, be sure to use food-grade storage containers that have been completely sanitized before use.

AUTHOR BIO: Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food preparedness and food storage.  

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