What to do with water that has been stored for 5+ years?

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by patermagnus, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. patermagnus

    patermagnus

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    I have a number of 55 gallon blue barrels that were new, filled with city water through a hose made for potable water, stored off the ground and treated with water treatment/oxygenator at time of storage that are now 5+ (7 or so) years old. They have been in a climate controlled environment roughly 62-75 degrees F and protected from the sun the entire time.

    They are beyond the 5 years the water treatment/oxygenator stated. I really don't like the idea of just adding more chemicals and and really don't want to open them unless necessary as they have been sealed since day 1.

    So what now?
     
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  2. thewitt

    thewitt

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    Probably just dehydrate them and save them for later.
     

  3. jmohme

    jmohme

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    If there are any doubts, I would drain them and start over.
     
  4. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    Add a bunch of Kool-Aid to it and let the kids take care of it.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. flyover

    flyover

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    Time to water the plants. I don't know much about water storage but I think, as was suggested, time to start over.
     
  6. wiskeyVI

    wiskeyVI

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    I wonder, there must be a way to get it tested?!?
    Any black algae in it?
    Maybe make a DIY bucket water filter and run it thru that and make coffee with it??
     
  7. Atomic Punk

    Atomic Punk

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    Unless there's something in there besides water and chlorine ( city water ) it will be good about forever.

    If you're worried, water the garden, and refill.
     
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  8. shadowgunner9

    shadowgunner9 Free Actor

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    Uh, got a floor drain???.............(they are made just for water........).
     
  9. Chindo18Z

    Chindo18Z

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    I quit rotating bulk water stored in large containers. I put treated tap water into a clean drum or 5-gallon jug, add a dose of household laundry bleach (for added insurance), seal tightly, and store it away. Only rarely re-treating it.

    My current drums were filled 9 years ago. I don't do a thing to them except to add 3 tablespoons of Standard Clorox household bleach to each 55 gallon drum every year or three. If I even bother remembering to do so.

    Any brand of plain bleach [unscented, no additives (e.g., "splashless" or "brighteners"), ~6% sodium hypochlorite] will do. Clorox Standard or generic; it matters not.

    Figuring plain English dosage for a 55 gallon drum:

    8 drops of bleach per gallon is a standard dose for disinfecting drinking water (per The Clorox Company, EPA, and others); double that (16 drops per gallon) for cloudy/dirty/questionable water. Your drums were filled with already treated tap water. No need for anything but the standard dose.

    1 gallon of water gets treated by 8 drops of ~6% liquid household bleach.

    5 gallons of water gets treated by 40 drops of liquid household bleach.

    55 gallons of water gets treated with 440 drops.

    1 US Teaspoon = 98.58 drops
    3 US Teaspoons = 1 US Tablespoon
    1 US Tablespoon = 295.74 drops
    1.5 US Tablespoons = 443.61 drops (440 drops of bleach for 55 gallons of water)

    So... in theory, 1.5 Tablespoons of bleach exactly treats a 55 gallon drum (filled all the way up to the bung). But... treating bulk water with bleach is not anything that requires exactitude. Why?

    Remember that you can safely double the recommended standard bleach dosage when treating questionable dirty water. 8 drops of bleach added to a gallon of water... or 16 drops if the water is dodgy. So you have at least a 100% safety margin when it comes to accidentally adding a bit too much bleach. So safely advised by the lawyers and chemists at a big company like Clorox. Who wouldn't risk potential litigation if it weren't so.

    Which means you can add 3 tablespoons to a drum of suspect water with absolutely no ill effect to yourself. Which is why, for simplicity's sake, I just toss in 3 full table spoons of bleach into each 55 drum. Then reseal the bung cap and quit worrying about it.

    My drum stored water came from a treated tap source as well, but I treat all stored (or field procured water) with a double bleach dose to begin with. To be on the safe side. Giardia is no fun at all. BTDT. It's my habit across a lifetime of procuring water from rivers, wells, streams, untreated pipes, puddles, creeks, springs, ditches, swamps, ponds, ice, or snow. The little bit of extra bleach doesn't hurt. I only have to remember one figure for adding bleach: 16 drops per gallon. As in the world of applied military demolitions, I add in the "P" Factor. Where "P" = "Plenty". A little bit extra... rather than not enough.

    3 tablespoons (or 1.5 if you like) of bleach per drum, once every year or so. I haven't added bleach to my stored drums & jerrycans for at least two years. I'd drink from them right now without worry. Or five years from now. Whether I re-treated them or not.

    Long stored water does get flat tasting. It needs to be oxygenated to "taste" more like it did when you decanted it from the tap. You can let it sit out in an open topped container for a few hours or... better yet, just pour it back and forth between two drinking water pitchers or bowls, allowing the water to absorb oxygen from the air. The more you aerate it, the less flat it will taste. If you're really thirsty, you'll never notice it being flat anyway. It ain't Perrier sparkling water. Just drink it.

    The only thing you're doing by adding chlorine bleach (or any other treatment chemical) is to eliminate living organisms that might contaminate your drinking supply (bacteria, virus, protozoans, or algae bloom).

    Final point: The water in your drums will outlast the plastic encasing it. By millions of years. It's elemental H2O. It doesn't go bad. It doesn't change into other things. It merely sits, forever, until either the sealed container is breached... or the sun explodes. As long as it doesn't get contaminated by external introduction of chemicals, metals, toxins, or living organisms, it's safe to drink. It's drinkable today. It'll be drinkable long after you're dead and gone.

    Buncha long winded explanation. But I hope the above helps...
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  10. NMG26

    NMG26

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    You got 1/4 of the garden right there.

    One big pot plant.
     
  11. 686 AR15 G17Fan

    686 AR15 G17Fan

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
     
  12. bdcochran

    bdcochran

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    I represented a water company at one time:
    1. what do I store in?
    Answers:
    a. not in plastic 5 gallon containers used to deliver water to homes. Do you really think that the cleaning process is 100% fool proof? Ok, you do. Now, would you be surprised to learn that meth/urine/gasoline/toxic chemicals have been stored in 5 gallon containers? Ok, are you sure that the chemicals have not migrated into the plastic?
    b. Ok, so you don't have the room or you are incapable of lifting a 55 gallon drum of water weighing 55x8 pounds a gallon plus the container?
    Go to the paint department of the big box store. Turn over the 5 gallon plastic bucket. If it says "2", you have a food grade bucket. If you are hip, you find the twist on lid and not the bang on lid and you can reuse the bucket indefinitely.
    2. Is it necessary to rotate?
    Answers: I will make it simple. Not necessarily even if somehow mold/fungus/creepy crawlers got in. Basically, either I am lazy or thinking. When the water comes out of my 55 and 30 gallon drums, it is going to flow through Red Chinese battery operated siphons. I am not going to drink it just yet. I may strain it. I may use cheap 2 liter pop bottles in a solar still. I may use an A16/REI/millennial water filter. I may use a wood fire. I will make sure it is safe before consuming.
    3. Don't forget to read the FEMA bulletin on the correct pool shock for $7 a pound which can kill the viruses/bacteria in 17,000 gallons of water (but does not strain out the mold/fungus/creepy crawlers/salts/chemicals).
     
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  13. Glock Commander

    Glock Commander

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    The best answer:

    FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) recommends storing tap water in clean plastic, glass, enameled metal, or fiberglass containers. Once you have filled the container, it should be tightly sealed and stored in a dark, cool location. The water should be rotated out about every six months.
     
  14. Dirk Pitt

    Dirk Pitt Millennium Member

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    I had stored 5 barrels (55 gal) in late 1999 in preparation for Y2K. Well we all know what didn’t happen there and that’s a separate subject. I had treated the water and sealed them just as stated above.
    In 2005 I open them up to check on the water I had no way to scientifically test the water but I had put some bleach in it when I sealed it and when I opened it you could still have the slight aroma of the bleach.
    So to conduct my test I drank heavily out of all five drums and glad to report no issues whatsoever I did use the water in the garden and grass around the house then I repeated the process filled them up and sealed them again.

    That’s my stored water story all I can say is it worked for me
     
  15. bdcochran

    bdcochran

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    A few rhetorical questions.
    1. what do most people do in third world countries to obtain what is believed to be clean water to drink.
    Answer: They drink lukewarm tea, knowing that at some point, the water was boiled. I see water boiled in a pot over a fire fueled by dried cow dung in Pakistan for example.
    2. does boiling water get rid of salts, debris, or bad chemicals.
    Answer: No.
    3. because the answer to no. 2 in "no", what can you do.
    Answers:
    a. you can get rid of creepy crawlers, salt, debris, some chemicals by using a 2 container, 2 liter soda pop solar still if you have standard sunlight.
    b. you can get rid of creepy crawlers and some sediment by running the water through a coffee filter.
    3. Does stored non-scented chlorine bleach keep its potency forever if stored in a dark garage.
    Answer: No. It starts deteriorating after 3 months. This will come as a shocker to people who don't research the potency of chlorine bleach. The better and cheaper approach is the appropriate (notice the word "appropriate") pool shock whereby $7 for a pound of it will disinfect 17,000 gallons of water and will last indefinitely in storage if properly containerized.
    4. While all the civil defense people recommend storing a few gallons of water per person, can you really survive on just a couple of gallons a day.
    Answer: Yes, if . . . you never bathe, never wash your clothes, never use water to prepare food, never use water to clean pots and pans, never use water to wipe yourself, never have to work outdoors all day long, never live in an area of high humidity.
    5. If you cannot stockpile all the water that you might need are there sources other than digging a hole, lining it with plastic like in all the youtube videos and survival books you can buy.
    Answer: Yes. Remember the 2 container solar still that can remove salts and most chemicals that has been referenced. Well, it will handle human pee and make it drinkable. When you go ahhhhhhhh!, research what is called gray water. Because of the unthinking human reaction, gray water is used as sprinkler water. As things tighten up in the water supply during your lifetime, gray water will be cycled as drinking water in a number of locations.
    6. I am frugal, so I will just use the cheap water bottles from the grocery store mentality. Fine, go ahead and do it. Spend a couple of bucks on stamps and envelopes and write Pepsi and Coke if they manufacture their plastic bottles to last 10 years. Ok, you know the answer to that. So, try 5 years or 1 year. It doesn't matter if you store hundreds of soda bottles under the house as a Mormon couple did in a community south of Phoenix. It will be important if you store the filled bottles in the closet or your car.
     
  16. FlyBoy007

    FlyBoy007

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    Stored properly water is safe for thousands of years unless contaminated by an outside source. How old do you think deep well water is?
     
  17. FireForged

    FireForged Millenium #3936 Millennium Member

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    I recently checked some water I had stored in aqua-tainers for probably 10 years.. no signs of a problem what so ever.
     
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  18. R.B. Riddick

    R.B. Riddick

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    Organized a bikini car wash and make some cash ;)
     
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  19. Blanton

    Blanton

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    Get one of these or the prepackaged ones, they pack easier. Avoid the cans, they'll rust!
     

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  20. Longbow

    Longbow Millennium Member

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    Use it in your toilet reservoir. Save on water bills.