Purifying Water in an Emergency Part 2

Harry Weyandt

Harry Weyandt

By Harry R Weyandt, Nitro-Pak.Com Preparedness Expert

Most of us take for granted every day that when we turn on our faucet we will get safe drinking water.  In an emergency or disaster situation, where regular water service has be tainted or interrupted (such as in the event of a flood, hurricane or earthquake) local authorities may recommend using only bottled water, require boiling or disinfecting the water until regular delivery is restored.

The instruction below will walk you thru step-by-step on how to make your water safe for drink by boiling, disinfecting and filtering. However, boiling and disinfecting the water Easy-As-123will NOT destroy or remove other contaminates such as chemicals, fuels or bad taste.

The best solution, according the American Red Cross, for insuring safe drinking water from outside sources is a 2-step process using methods described below. Which ones you choose will be by personal taste or preference and fuel availability.

See previous PART #1 to start your learning.

When in doubt, treat your water using one or more of the following methods:


Steam-waterIf you don’t have bottled or previously stored treated water, you should boil your water to make it safe to drink. Boiling is the SUREST method to kill disease-causing organisms, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites. To be able to use this method, you will need a large metal pot or kettle, a heat  source such as a kitchen stove, propane BBQ, charcoal grille, portable camp stove like a Jetboil, Camp Chef or Coleman stove (with back-up fuel sources). If you have electricity, electric kettles can also be used for boiling.

If the water is cloudy, (Water that is cloudy in appearance from a stream, pond or lake usually indicates natural organic and inorganic material is in the water. Water that is dark in color, has a questionable odor or is suspected of chemical contamination should not be used)

  1. Filter water through a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter to remove sediment and suspended matter in the water.
  2. Next, allow any remaining silt to settle to the bottom of your container and then draw off the clear water on top.
  3. Fill pot about 2/3 full to allow space for boiling and splashing.
  4. Bring the clear water to a rolling boil on high heat for one minute (at elevations above 6,000 feet, boil for three minutes).
  5. Let the boiled water cool for about 30 minutes and kept covered.
  6. Store the water in clean sanitized containers with tight caps or lids.

If the water is clear,

  1. Follow the same steps in 3-6 above.

You can improve the flat taste of boiled water or any stored water by pouring it from one container to another several times or by adding a pinch of salt for each gallon.

See PART #3 to learn about purifying water by using chlorine bleach & chlorine dioxide.

© 2017 Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc. Click Here to see our full list of preparedness articles and blog posts.


Harry R Weyandt is the founder and owner of Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc., one of America’s oldest and most respected preparedness companies. He has been a leading authority in the preparedness industry for over 30 years and has been interviewed by CNN, ABC News, FOX News, The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal among others as an expert in his field. He lives in Utah with this wife Vickie along with their children and grandchildren. His hobbies are boating, camping, international travel and anything to do with preparedness.

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