Purifying Water in an Emergency part 3

Purifying Water Part 3
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 waterEasy-As-123 will NOT destroy or remove other contaminants such as chemicals, fuels or bad taste.

See previous PART #1 beginning information, PART #2 Boiling Water and PART #4 Filters, Distillers and Ultra-Violet Light.

2. DISINFECTANTS: Chlorine Bleach & Chlorine Dioxide

If boiling is not possible, you can make small quantities of filtered and settled water safer to drink by using a chemical disinfectant such as unscented household chlorine bleach or chlorine dioxide.  Bleach is the most common method used by municipal water treatment worldwide.

Disinfectants can kill most harmful or disease-causing viruses and bacteria, but are not effective in controlling more resistant organisms, such as the parasites Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Chlorine dioxide, discussed below, is effective against Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Where possible, a combination of filtration & chemical disinfection is the most effective way to purify your water when boiling is not an option.

To disinfect water for drinking, use fresh, UNSCENTED, old fashion household liquid CHLORINE BLEACH, use the following formula: (do not use any bleach with other additives, such as color safe, flagrant, cleaners or other ingredients. Do not use granular pool chlorine)

If the water is cloudy or is very cold, (but not suspected of chemical contamination)regular chlorex 1

  1. Filter the water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles, floating particles and silt.
  2. Allow water to sit still until any remaining particles have settled.
  3. Draw off the clear water at the top.
  4. Follow the formula shown in the table below and DOUBLE IT for cloudy water.
  5. Stir the mixture well and let let it stand for at least 30 minutes before you use it.
  6. Water should have a slight chlorine smell, if not, repeat dosage and wait 15 minutes. If it does not still have a smell of bleach after two treatments, the water is too dirty to use, discard and try a new batch.
  7. Store the disinfected water in clean, sanitized containers with tight lids or caps. 

If the water is clear,

  1. Follow the formula shown in the table below.
  2. Stir the mixture well and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before you use it.
  3. Water should have a slight chlorine smell, if not, repeat dosage and wait 15 minutes. If it does not still have a smell of bleach after two treatments, the water is too dirty to use, discard and try a new batch.
  4. Store the disinfected water in clean, sanitized containers with tight lids or caps.
Making water safe to drink using STANDARD Household Bleach that has

5.25-6% concentration of sodium hypochlorite
* If the water is cloudy, murky, colored, or very cold, add DOUBLE the amount of bleach listed below.

Stir and mix it. Let stand for 30 minutes. After treating you should be able to smell a slight odor of chlorine.

If not, retreat the water a second time and let stand for 15 minutes before using.

1 quart/liter water                1 gallon water      5 gallons water
If you have a dropper:
Add 2 drops of bleach*
    If you have a dropper:
Add 8 drops of bleach*
    If you have a dropper:
Add ½ tsp of bleach*
Red Cross Suggests:
4 drops
      Red Cross Suggests:
16 drops
    Red Cross Suggests:
1 teaspoon of bleach

 

Making water safe to drink using CONSENTRATED Household bleach with a

8.25% concentration of sodium hypochlorite
* If the water is cloudy, murky, colored, or very cold, add DOUBLE the amount of bleach listed below.

Stir and mix it. Let stand for 30 minutes. After treating you should be able to smell a slight odor of chlorine.

If not, retreat the water a second time and let stand for 15 minutes before using.

1 Quart/Liter Water     1 Gallon Water   5 Gallons Water
If you have a dropper:
Add 2 drops of bleach
    If you have a dropper:
Add 6 drops of bleach
  If you have a dropper:
Add 30 drops of bleach
Using a teaspoon:
Too small to measure
    Using a teaspoon:
Too small to measure
  Using a teaspoon:
Add ⅓ teaspoon of bleach

(Reference: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/drinking/making-water-safe.html)

BLEACH CAVEAT:  Be careful, as with all chemicals, when using bleach and wear protective gloves and eye protection for safety. Rinse off any bleach that gets on your skin immediately. Where possible, use fresh bleach since bleach begins to lose its effectiveness slowly after one year.

OTHER BLEACH USAGES:  Chlorine bleach can also be used as a disinfectant for sanitizing water bottles, containers, pots, pans and utensils. Bleach solution intended for this usage, mix 1 teaspoon with 1 quart of water, shake well and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Be sure to coat the container lids, caps and threads with solution. Afterwards, rinse off with clean water before using.

micropur tabletsCHLORINE DIOXIDE TABLETS OR LIQUID:

Chlorine dioxide tablets and two part liquid A/B drops are the latest water purification method that has been adopted by the U.S. military and the Boy Scouts of America. These tablets work quickly and efficiently by releasing oxygen in a highly active form to kill bacteria, viruses, e. coli, protozoa, Giardia and Cryptosporidium cysts in 15-30 minutes without unpleasant taste or odor (4 hours for cryptosporidium in very cold or dirty water for maximum effectiveness).

Chlorine dioxide has been used by municipal water treatment plants world-wide to kill a variety of waterborne pathogens for over sixty-years. Unlike iodine, chlorine dioxide does not discolor the water, nor does it give water an unpleasant taste. They also meet the strict EPA Water Purifier Standards (without needing to use a water filter). Both chlorine dioxide liquid and tablets contain no active chlorine or iodine. Here are the current choices:

  1. LIQUID FORM:  Aqua Mira™ Water Teatment Kit is a two-part A/B system that works by releasing oxygen in a highly active form.
  • TABLET FORM: Chlorine dioxide tablets are sold under several brand names including Micropur® MP1 Water Purifier Tables, Aquamira® Water Purifier Tablets and Potable Aqua® Chlorine Dioxide Purification Tablets. These tablet are lightweight and easy to carry in bug-out bags or when backpacking.

(NOTE: We no longer recommend using iodine based or old style chlorine tablets (halazone) since they are not effective against Cryptosporidium and leave an aftertaste and coloring.

Continue to PART #4 to learn about purifying water by using Water Filters, Distillers and UV Light.

© 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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