water treatment / disinfecting
Water is the first need after air! Water can easily and imperceptibly become contaminated. It is critical that you “purify” or disinfect the water in advance to you consuming it.
On average healthy people can only last about 3 days without access to clean water. Depending on conditions and dumb luck you could die in as little as 12 hours or as much as a couple of weeks. In the latter situation you will most likely have irreversible kidney failure long before you die. In any case you will not be functioning at your best.
Water is often the least stored provision prepers think of and stock. At best most people will only store 14 gallons of drinking water per person and they seem to think that will take care of drinking and cooking AND sanitation for 2 weeks. Good luck!
Even IF you store a proper ration of drinking water if the emergency lasts long enough you will run out and have to procure more water for consumption [and sanitation]. After all there IS a limit to how much water you have room to store. BTW you would need at least 365 gallons of drinking water for a year supply, if stored in 2 L coke bottles [which IS a great way to store and transport drinking water] you would need 730 bottles – go ahead measure how much room you will need for that.
The good news is that with some planning and forethought you CAN have a month’s supply of drinking water for everyone in your household AND be ready to treat thousands of gallons of water for consumption.
Bleach [aka Clorox aka sodium hypochlorite] 6% & unscented can be used to disinfectant water. The down side of bleach is the reputed short shelf life which is rated at one year. Sodium hypochlorite is what the city uses to disinfect drinking water. Another drawback is space, it takes up more room.
Pool shock aka calcium hypochlorite can be used to disinfect drinking water as well as pool water. Calcium hypochlorite and sodium hypochlorite are used world wide to disinfect drinking and pool water. Both calcium hypochlorite and sodium hypochlorite have a distinct chlorine smell.
The disinfection process first step: gather the supplies you will need
heavy plastic container, NOT a milk type jug, PETE is good in one gallon-sized OR 2, 2L sized will work OR a 5 quart ice cream-style bucket
one gallon of clear water to be disinfected
calcium hypochlorite granules
a 2.5CC [½ teaspoon] measuring spoon
coffee filter or cloth or thick paper towel to strain out any particulate matter.
NEXT steps in the treatment process
With the safety glasses and gloves on, pour a gallon of raw clear water into your treatment container, then add one half level teaspoon [2.5cc] of the calcium hypochlorite granules. Stir or shake the container[s] to mix. Let stand 5 minutes. Loosen the lid and shake the container again allowing a little of the treated water to leak out to decontaminate the area. Tighten the lid again. Let stand at least 30 minutes if the water is warm and at least 1 hour if the water is cold. [cold and or cloudy water will require more time and perhaps more of the chemical].
After the allotted time open the container, there should be a detectable odor of chlorine. IF you can not smell chlorine add 1 cc more of the calcium hypochlorite and repeat the process as above. Repeat until there is a slight odor of chlorine.
If there is a slight odor of chlorine but it is not too strong you can taste test it. It will not taste as good as city water but it should be acceptable.
If on the other hand the smell of chlorine is too strong you can aerate the water by pouring it back and forth between clean containers.
Shelf life and storage
Dry granulated calcium or sodium hypochlorite stores better, longer and in way less space than liquid bleach does. Another advantage is that you can mix it stronger to use in cleaning or medical care. Although sodium and calcium hypochlorite is shelf stable and cooler storage is better do not let it get above 100 degrees F as it will deteriorate faster. Keep in mind that these chemicals are CORROSIVE so keep it away from metals and other chemicals.