safe drinking water

After you've stored your water, you've got to make sure it's safe and drinkable.

From (Water Storage Guidelines)
*Commercially bottled water in PETE (or PET) plastic containers may be purchased. Follow the container’s “best if used by” dates as a rotation guideline. Avoid plastic containers that are not PETE plastic.
*If you choose to package water yourself, consider the following guidelines:

*Use only food-grade containers. Smaller containers made of PETE plastic or heavier plastic buckets or drums work well.
*Clean, sanitize, and thoroughly rinse all containers prior to use. A sanitizing solution can be prepared by adding 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to one quart (1 liter) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.
*Do not use plastic milk jugs, because they do not seal well and tend to become brittle over time.
*Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products.

Water Pretreatment:
*Water from a chlorinated municipal water supply does not need further treatment when stored in clean, food-grade containers.
*Non-chlorinated water should be treated with bleach. Add 1/8 of a teaspoon (8 drops) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) for every gallon (4 liters) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.
*Storage Containers should be emptied and refilled regularly.
*Store water only where potential leakage would not damage your home or apartment.
*Protect stored water from light and heat. Some containers may also require protection from freezing.
*The taste of stored water can be improved by pouring it back and forth between two containers before use.

Recommendations from the AMERICAN RED CROSS:
"There are many ways to treat water. None is perfect. Often the best solution is a combination of methods. Two easy treatment methods are outlined below. These measures will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Before treating, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth.

Boiling: Boiling is the safest method of treating water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that 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. This will also improve the taste of stored water.

Disinfection: You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.

The only agent used to treat 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.

While the two methods described above will kill most microbes in water, distillation will remove microbes that resist these methods, and heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.

Distillation: Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. The condensed vapor 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 distilled.

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