Yesterday, I let you in on how our family is currently storing water and what our future goals are (I have my eyes on you, 55 gallon drum!). I forgot to mention that once we build our dream home, hopefully in the next few years, we plan to engineer a rain water catch system. Rain water can be used to water plants and gardens, but if adequately filtered and treated , can also be used for drinking water in an emergency situation for your pets or yourself. All of that rain water running off of our roofs, into the gutters, and onto the ground going to waste!
I left off yesterday briefly explaining that we reuse 1 and 2 liter soda bottles for water storage. This is a convenient, cost effective, and durable manner to store your water. IF you are going to reuse containers, there are a few ground rules as well as strict cleaning and sanitizing guidelines to follow.
To start, DO NOT use milk jugs or bottles that contained fruit juice for water storage. The milk proteins and fruit sugars are difficult to completely remove from the bottles and given time, will create a hot bed for microbial growth that will contaminate your water and potentially make you sick. We don’t want that.
The following cleaning and sanitation instructions are straight from FEMA and the American Red Cross and are accepted across the prepping ‘verse:
1.) Thoroughly clean the container with dish washing soap and water. Rinse completely so there is no residual soap.
2.) Create a sanitizing solution by combining 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach (cheap at discount stores) to a quart (1/4 gallon) of water.
3.) Swish the solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces.
4.) Rinse the bottle with clean water, let dry completely. I wait until I have a large number of bottles, at least 10, before I start to clean and sanitize that way I can reuse the sanitizing solution in the bottles I have for that day.
Filling Water Containers:
1.) Make sure your hands and working surfaces are clean. I recommend wearing gloves and rubbing them with hand sanitizer. You don’t want to contaminate the lid with your dirty hands when you are recapping.
2.) Fill the bottle to the top with tap water from your sink. If your water utility company treats with chlorine, there is no need to add anything additional to keep it safe and clean. Most cities and companies have this information on their website, if not, a quick call to the water company and you’ll have your answer 🙂
If the water you are using comes from a well or another water source that has not been treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to each gallon of water. (2 liters is ~1/2 gallon, so 1 drop of bleach for each two liter bottle is sufficient)
3.) Tightly close the container using the original cap. Do not touch the inside of the cap, again we don’t want to contaminate!
4.) Write the date on the outside of the container. Store in a cool, dark place.
If you want some added protection, you can wrap the lid with Parafilm to get a good seal. This is a material we use in the biology and chemistry labs quite often.
5.) Replace the water every six months. If I have water coming up on it’s “expiration”, I just refill our dogs’ automatic water bowl with it, re-clean, re-sanitize, and refill!
In a nutshell, that’s how we prep and store our water. Simple, cheap, and effective…three of my favorite things!