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Water Storage...

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Lampshade, May 31, 2012.

  1. Lampshade


    May 11, 2010
    Hello all, I'm looking for some basic water storage info.

    I had previously been using bottled gallons that come in three packs but rotating them is a pain and I don't like the idea of plastics leeching chemicals into the water over the long term.

    I've picked up a few 6 Gallon storage jugs that I plan to simply fill with tap water.

    How often should the containers be emptied and refreshed?

    Is it advisable to sanitize the container after each emptying, or only necessary upon initial filling?

    What is the recommended method of sanitizing my jugs?

    Thanks all!
  2. Chindo18Z


    Apr 17, 2010
    Assuming a good seal and clean water, it could last for many years. I rotate my water out about once a year from any small (1-7 gallon) containers. If I forget to, I don't worry about it too much.

    Naturally, visual/smell/taste inspection should be the deciding factor. If it has stuff growing in it, re-sanitize and replace with fresh water. I've kept containers filled with the same water for years (adding an annual dose of bleach) with no ill effects upon consumption. Be advised that algae can grow inside clear or translucent containers exposed to long term sunlight. No worries; the water is still drinkable and can be run through a filter if you insist. I have drunk plenty of soup-like pond scum and ditch water over the years with no ill effects (after adding tablets, iodine, bleach, etc.)

    Not a bad idea to do so, but not critical after the initial sanitizing. If you put city/municipal tap water in at the beginning, it already came chock full of treatment chemicals. If the container is dust covered from storage, it certainly couldn't hurt to give it a rinse (especially the cap and threads).

    If it is a clean container, just fill it with a bleach and water rinse. 1 tablespoon Regular Clorox Bleach with one gallon of water to make a sanitizing solution. Truth be told, I just pour a 1/4 cup of bleach into a 5 gallon container, add water to the very top of the container mouth, and let it sit for a few hours. Later, I drain, rinse once, and finally refill with fresh storage water.

    When rinsing a 55 gallon drum for the first time, I've gone overkill and used as much as one quart of bleach (added to a complete fill up of water) in order to rinse and sanitize the container. Bleach is cheap, degrades over time (into salt and water components), and you are not going to get into trouble by drinking water with a slightly strong bleach taste. Naturally, never drink a strong bleach/water solution meant for cleaning.

    If your container is not not perfectly clean, use a bathtub/sink/shower hose, a garden hose with a jet nozzle, or a pressure washer (if you own one). For a new jug, I fill with a bleach sanitizing solution and let it sit overnight (but two hours will suffice). I wash down any container caps, threads, spickets, bungs, or other access points with the same solution, using a clean toothbrush.

    To treat the the stored water itself:

    I simply add unscented (pure) household bleach. 8 drops per gallon for clear tap water. Double that (16 drops per gallon) for cloudy or questionable water. I consider tap water during normal times to be clear (8 drops). During times of unrest, disaster, or questionable adherence to purification standards by the water utility company...I treat all water as questionable (16 drops). Water from the great outdoors always gets 16 drops as well...even the stuff that comes from an idyllic looking stream, spring, or crystal clear lake.

    It ain't rocket science: Have a clean container. Add fresh water. Add 8-16 drops of bleach per gallon. Hell, just go with 16 drops per gallon for all water in order to keep it simple. Seal tightly and store in a shaded area if possible. Once a year (at most), dump the old water and refill with fresh. Re-add some bleach to the new water.

    Store the full containers in a location where they will do the minimum water damage in the event of a leak or burst container. Also be careful about splashing bleach sanitizing solution on your clothing, your wife's bathroom linens, or ornamental plants in the garden. Trust me.

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited: May 31, 2012

  3. sebecman


    Jun 13, 2008
    :upeyes: Here we go again...

    ...Plastics leaching about effective propaganda.

    A. You are referring to BPA (Bisphenol A). Which may leach from your 6 gallon storage containers just like it may leach from a water bottle or any other of the myriad products that use it.

    I assume you don't drink soda,beer or eat any canned food either? BPA has been used as a liner on virtually all beverage and canned food products since the 1960's.

    B. If you buy PET (clear plastic) bottles you don't need to worry about the plastic degrading and springing leaks like HDPE.

    C. Commercially bottled water stays viable indefinetly as long as it stays sealed. It does not need to be rotated or treated.

    Interestingly enough in Japan they replaced BPA epoxy in all food containers with PET resin.
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  4. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

    Jul 23, 2011
    State of Stupidity
    If memory serves, the recent hustling of the public on the BPA issue was binned by our own hair-trigger EPA. Good post, Sebec.

    Ah yes, here it is: the chemophobes (the Natural Resources Defense Council) sought to ban BPA from food packaging, and the FDA said, "After extensive research, we can find nothing unhealthy about it."

    That's from the F-D-A, whose job it is to ban stuff. So that's saying something.

    Notice the NRDC spokes-hole can only summon "disturbing questions" to her defense.

    "Will BPA kill you?"

    "I dunno, it sounds bad, it's an abbreviated chemical, and that's a helluva disturbing question, so let's ban it just to be safe."
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  5. Lampshade


    May 11, 2010
    You may notice that nowhere in my OP did I ask for opinions or information regarding BPA or other endocrine disruptors.

    Any eye rolling on your part is wholly unnecessary, since you are the one choosing to delve into the topic.

    Regarding the jugs I have leaching BPA the same as the bottles, the jugs are BPA free.

    Thank you Chindo for the on topic response.
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  6. sebecman


    Jun 13, 2008
    Well....You did mention you were concerned about PLASTICS leaching into your water. Since most people that say that are uninformed I thought I would explain a little...

    My eye rolling was at the propaganda machine that is miss informing the public. It was not directed at you.

    Also, I said your jugs MAY leach BPA....never said they would.

    But again, since YOU brought it up, if you are worried about BPA from water bottles are you also just as concerned about BPA from all the other products, like the ones I mentioned?

    Because really, if you don't then you shouldn't worry about commercially bottled water. And buying 20 cases of bottled water at Wally world or Costco for $3.00 a case and just forgetting about it for YEARS is WAY easier IMHO than filling jugs and bottles with bleach and water and rotating every 6 months or whatever....

    Now, the caveat is of course your LOCATION. I live in Maine, land of too much water. If the SHTF for me I would be able to do all my cooking/cleaning and laundry etc with water from the pond/river/lake you name it, they are everywhere. Even have a few natural springs within walking distance of house. So I keep 20 or 30 cases of bottled water for drinking and cooking (if needed) during short term SHTF. Long term I would be treating lake water for drinking.

    If you live in an arid state...absolutely you need way more water than me and you need barrels/jugs/cisterns etc....

    Anyway clearly you were offended and that wasn't my intent, In fact just the opposite, since I thought I was being informative and helpful.

    I could use one of the cookie cutter forum responses like you see a lot in GNG lounge and bash you for being thin skinned or off you meds....instead I will say I am sorry and I will try and use the smiley's more tactfully.

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  7. cyrsequipment

    cyrsequipment Angry

    Aug 8, 2004
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  8. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    An easy way to address the question of "how often should they be emptied and refreshed", is to use 2-liter soda bottles, cleaned & filled as Chindo18Z said above. Then take the filled bottles and lay them flat as a bottom layer in your chest freezer. It won't hold hundreds of gallons, but it will hold 15-30 gallons depending on freezer size. They freeze and never need to be rotated or treated; and all you lose is the bottom 4" or so of freezer depth.

    Besides the long-term, zero-maintenance storage aspect of it, another upside is that all the additional frozen water mass greatly helps in keeping a freezer cold during power outages, which is also a good thing.
  9. Lampshade


    May 11, 2010
    Y'know, I think you chose the right route.

    Agree or disagree on the water issue, it is silly for me to have taken offense regardless.

    Thank you for your input.
  10. sebecman


    Jun 13, 2008
    May I ask, in what state do you live? Honestly, in most states, commercially bottled water is your best bet. ...
  11. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Like the man said - here we go again.

    I represented a major water bottling company. (Yeah, I know, someone will chime in with their "experience" that I am all wrong, yatta yatta).

    1. do not use commercial refilled large water containers. People store gasoline, nasty chemicals and other things in them. It is not possible to get them absolutely clean. That is why we had a special telephone number and simply sent complainers a $50 check if they complained about the taste or quality.

    2. the cheap 1 gallon water containers you buy in the store are not designed to last indefinitely.

    3. the cheap 2 liter water bottles you buy in the grocery store are not designed to last indefinitely. You will wait a long time before someone gives his full name, address and promise to replace your damaged equipment if you follow his advice and use 2 liter pop bottles.

    4. you can store water in containers like large food grade containers after a. you learn what was stored in them; and b. you clean them thoroughly.

    5. you don't have to rotate your water all the time when you adopt a simple attitude that you will purify the long term stored water when you take it out of storage.

    6. Accept that you cannot store enough water and buy or make a series of water purifiers for your own usage. (Hint - if you don't know the difference between a purifier and a filter, do your homework).
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  12. TangoFoxtrot

    TangoFoxtrot OIF 04-05

    Sep 10, 2008
    Nowhereville, USA
    I have 20 cases of bottled water and 16-2 gallon water containers for non potable use stored. (This is all I have room to store). I also have a purification and filtering system to use on other water sources. As far as the bottled water, I just rotate it every week when I buy water for normal use. You cannot just depend on bottled water for a long term SHTF senario you need to be able to purify water from other sources and do it correctly!