8 Steps for Emergency Water Storage

August 04, 2014

Emergency Water Storage

Updated:  August 4, 2014


Water disaster ... it's in the headlines nearly every day.  Until you've been the victim of water contamination or shortages, like the 500,000 residents of Northwestern, Ohio (Toledo area) or the 300,000 residents of Charleston, West Virginia; (that's nearly one-million people combined)  you don't realize that clean, safe water could be gone in an instant.  Being prepared is your responsibility.

You can live without food for up to 30 days, but the cold hard truth is --- after 3 days without water you and your family could die!

So, it makes sense that you would want to be prepared.  Perhaps you've considered storing water as a way of being prepared.

Storing water for emergencies is smart, and could mean the difference between life and death for you and your family.

Here are some vital tips for storing water:

  1. USE THE RIGHT CONTAINER.  Store drinking water in carefully cleaned, non-corrosive, tightly covered containers.  Ideally, water containers should be food grade - HDPE Plastic. You can re-use P.E.T. large plastic soda bottles or juice containers, but be sure that they are thoroughly rinsed and cleaned. It is not suggested to re-use plastic milk or fruit juice containers, as they tend to absorb the odor and taste of the milk and if not rinsed and cleaned properly could taint your water with bacteria.  Why? According to FEMA: "If you decide to re-use plastic storage containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles - not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or juice in them. The reason is that milk protein or fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them."  You can purchase various sizes for large volume storage like 55 gallons and larger.
  2. STORE WATER IN VARIOUS SIZE CONTAINERS Storing water in 55 gallon drums or larger can be extremely valuable to your family.  However, they are difficult to transport in the event that you must evacuate.  Be sure to keep smaller, easily transportable containers of water on hand.
  3. BE SURE TO STORE PROPERLY    Store containers in a cool dark place away from heat and direct sunlight. Some plastics can absorb hydrocarbon vapors and should be stored away from gasoline, kerosene, pesticides, or similar substances. Freezing may be damaging to some types of water storage containers. Do not store your water near Be sure the container can be sealed securely to keep airborne contaminants from entering your water supply.
  4. BE SURE TO STORE ENOUGH WATER  When considering water storage be sure to store enough water for you, your family and your pets.  You should consider storing enough water to last for a minimum of two weeks, at a rate of one gallon per day, per individual and your pets.
  5. AFTER FILLING YOUR CONTAINER   As a precautionary measure, after filling your container with water you should add some sort of water treatment to address possible bacterial contamination that could be present in the water or the container.  You would want to add a water treatment that would not lose effectiveness over time nor be hazardous to your health --- something that is safe to use for extended periods of time.
  6. BE PREPARED WITH ADDITIONAL WATER TREATMENT SUPPLIES  In the event that you run out of stored water, consider storing a supply of water treatment products;.as clean, safe water may not be readily available after you run out of stored water.  When purchasing these products consider shelf life, extended use safety, effectiveness against various contaminants.
  7. BE SURE TO HAVE WAYS TO FILTER YOUR WATER  There are many suitable water filtration devices available such as gravity-fed countertop devices which require no electricity, portable hand-held devices, hand pump filters, bucket systems with inline filters; Buy the filtration system that's adequate for the size of your family and be sure to stock up on replacement filters for your devices.
  8. WATER TREATMENT BEFORE STORAGE  Before you store your water add a water treatment to ensure if will be safe to drink when the time comes.  Be sure to consider family members with diabetes, thyroid conditions and those who are immune compromised.  Many chemical water treatment products are not considered safe to use beyond a few weeks, and not at all for those with certain illnesses and/or the immunce compromised.  Also, consider that many water treatment products may lose effectiveness over time, and do not have long term shelf life.  Be sure to read product labels carefully before making this critical, possibly life saving decision for your family.

VOC's - Volatile Organic Compounds - VOCs are ground-water contaminants of concern because of very large environmental releases, human toxicity, and a tendency for some compounds to persist in and migrate with ground-water into drinking-water supplies.

THM's - Trihalomethanes are formed as a by-product predominantly when certain water disinfectants, like chlorine or bromine, are used to disinfect water for drinking. They represent one group of chemicals referred to as disinfection by-products. They result from the reaction of the disinfectant with organic matter (rotting leaves, etc.) present in the water being treated.

As with any water treatment product, if water is suspected to be highly contaminated, additional solution and additional wait time may be required.  We suggest filtering your water for the removal of fine particles, debris and inert precipitates.