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Water is your number one priority to keeping alive. You can live without food for quite a while, but water is almost as necessary as oxygen! Even storing a 3 days supply for you and your family will help a great deal, as water is usually the first thing contaminated in a natural disaster. I highly recommend keeping a way to purify water on hand too as it is nearly impossible to have a years supply store in your home!
HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO STORE?
Start with 2 gallons of water per day per person. 1
(Keep in mind that if you storing dehydrated foods, you will require more.)
Civil defense authorities recommend that each family store at least 2 weeks worth of water. So if you are a family of 5, you will need a minimum of 140 gallons stored safely in your home.

SAFELY STORING WATER
Store water from the source you are currently using, so that flavor and such is the same as your family are used to. Tap water is normally good for long term storage since it already chlorinated if you live in a municipal area. You can use empty, CLEAN, 2-liter soda bottles and make sure the cap is screwed on tightly. 55 gallon blue barrels work best with a pump, purchased separately, for about $10. We personally purchase osmosis filtered water from the store my husband manages and we store those in the 15 gallon containers that we use for our Water Cooler. Those bottles cost about $15 a piece and you fill them for a couple of dollars.
Do NOT use empty milk containers or other containers that you buy filled with liquids, as those are biodegradable and will fall apart in about 6 months.
CONTAMINATED WATER
In an emergency, it is very likely that your normal source of water will be contaminated. Sometimes contaminated water looks murky and dirty, other times it looks fine. Do NOT try to ingest contaminated water... if there has been a natural disaster in your area, assume the water is contaminated. You may wish to use coffee filters over a jar to pour through and filter out any 'sludge' or dirt that is obvious.
TREATING CONTAMINATED WATER
Boiling:
This will kill harmful bacteria but it much be heated to its evaporation point (212 F, or 100 C at sea level) to be effective. Make sure you boil the water (at a rolling boil) for 10 minutes and add 1 minute for each 1000 feet of elevation. This will render it potable/drinkable. Boiling will not destroy radioactivity if that is a concern. And it does use a lot of fuel/energy that might also be scarce.
Bleach:
Make certain that the bleach you use contains ONLY sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient.
Add 6 drops bleach to 1 gallon/1/2 tsp. to 5 gallons etc. Let this stand for 30 minutes after shaking or stirring to mix. It should have a distinct chlorine smell to it, if not, add the same dosage again to the water and allow it to stand an additional 20 mins. Chlorine will NOT purify the water. It will render the water potable by neutralizing some of the toxic animal and plant life in the water.
Tincture of Iodine (2%):
This can be used to treat SMALL amounts of water. Be sure to stir iodine thoroughly into water. Iodine treated water should not be used by pregnant or nursing individuals, or those with thyroid problems. Add 12 drops of iodine to 1 gallon of water.
You can also buy water treatment tablets, and these are good to store with your food storage.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Regardless of the method of chemically disinfecting water, always double the dosage for cloudy water. If the water temperature is cold, below 45 degrees, let it stand for one hour before using it.
SHELF LIFE of STORED WATER
Water that is bacteria free and store in thoroughly clean containers will remain safe for many years. It is always best to rotate on a regular basis, and just fill the container up again each time.
OTHER SOURCES 2
If you need water for bathing and washing etc, you can use water from water beds, your hot water heater, toilet tanks and cysterns - this can also be purified and used to drink.
 

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Farmer/Film maker
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would one need to sterilize the container before using it for long term storage and if so, how would one go about this effectively?
 

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25 Or 6 to 4
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We use MMS in its water treatment dose and it can also be used as directed with citric acid to clean biological contaminants from the body once they are already ingested/sickness has taken hold. Good stuff if used properly. Kills malaria 100% of the time and many other pathogens too numerous to list.
 

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If you know ahead of time in a storm, and that you haven't used any water to let in the bad stuff, maybe shut off the hot water tank (or just incoming main water valve is better) and open the hot water valve at the tank to use that water from the tank which should not yet be contaminated. Anyone? There might be some extra minerals in there that I am not up on due to the heating elements, but I'm sure it can't be that bad for you for a few days. Educated hot water drinker people, please elaborate if there are any issues.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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If you know ahead of time in a storm, and that you haven't used any water to let in the bad stuff, maybe shut off the hot water tank (or just incoming main water valve is better) and open the hot water valve at the tank to use that water from the tank which should not yet be contaminated. Anyone? There might be some extra minerals in there that I am not up on due to the heating elements, but I'm sure it can't be that bad for you for a few days. Educated hot water drinker people, please elaborate if there are any issues.
Reply]
That would work. It's the same as running the hot water at the faucet.
 

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Quick question

Great post. I've been looking locally for 55 gallon drums, so far with no luck. A local restaurant chain has a sign in front of their warehouse selling 5 gallon buckets. Any reason not to use several 5 gallon buckets for water storage instead of one big one?
 

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Getting Ready
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Any reason not to use several 5 gallon buckets for water storage instead of one big one?
do they seal well?

I too am curios about sanitation for the 2 liters, my roommates are obsessive Mt. Dew drinkers so i have a ready supply of those.

T
 

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I thought of one important point with my post, you need to open the vent valve on the tank to let air in as you are emptying it (usually at the upper most part of the tank with a downward copper tube- a hand/thumb valve) so an implosion won't occur, or excess suction causing the tank to contract. I ran into that once without thinking while changing out a tank, draining it at the tank, with no open faucets. Pipes had vacuum while heating them to remove. oops.
 

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I can't find 55 or 30 gal. drums. Still looking.
I have 4 mos. of bottled water stored. I'm saving the containers as I drink a bottle so I can refill them with tap water for later use.
I bought 2 plastic 33 gal. trash cans for water catching.
I bought a small tarp and cut an X in the center. I used silicone to attach to a dryer vent hose that goes down into the trash can. And of course, the poles hold up the 4 corners of the tarp.
The tarp is a big enough area to catch rain, runs to the center and down the vent into the can.
Next, I'm making a small plywood holder w/ wheels so I can move the can when it's full.

If I can't find some barrels soon that I can put a pump into, I'll have to settle and get some steel trash cans to hold extra water.

It's important to remember that if all supplies of utilities are cut off from your home/BOL, you need containers to hold as much water as possible. Especially if you have a garden and not able to use a traditional water hose. You can dunk your hand held watering cans into your water supply to hand water your garden to ensure your efforts don't go to waste. It might take you all day to water your garden, but it's better than not watering and losing your crop.
 

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I used to use two liter bottles when I couldn't afford anything else. All I did was wash them out with hot water and a tiny amount of dish soap. Rinse very well and fill with water. Be sure to leave some airspace in case you loose power and the area where you store water freezes. The amount of clorine in municipal water is supposed to keep it sterile for a year. I'd re fill the bottles every july to august (use the old water on garden). The year old water always tasted just fine to me, but I'm not pickey.
 

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I bought four plastic 55gal. drums at my local farmers co-op. I put them in the rafters of my barn and ran the gutter downspouts into a plastic trash can with a float activated pump in the bottom. All the barrels are laying on their side and there is an overflow pipe connected to the bung hole at the top. The bung hole at the bottom is connected to PVC pipe that runs down the barn wall and has a standard hose pipe faucet on it. This works great. The height of the barrels gives plenty of pressure. The rain water would of coarse have to be treated if I needed it potable.
 

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60 yrs in spite of gov.
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We get our 55 gal. plastic drums from a Dr. Pepper bottling plant. They are food grade heavy duty drums that had Dr. Pepper syrup in them. They clean up easily and cost $10 each. Maybe you can find a plant near you.
 

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I have heard recently that boiling for 10 minutes is not necessary. I belive just getting it to boiling temperature kills everything that boiling for longer does.
 
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