Water Sanitation

dirty-waterAs I have talked about water preps in my previous post Water Preps, water is one of the most important resources you will need in a SHTF scenario. My current strategy is to have a stopgap supply of 2 weeks of potable water ready with many more gallons available after sanitizing it. Today’s post we are going to discuss possible ways to sanitize water.

Boiling – The most obvious and effective way to sanitize water is to boil it. Boiling will kill any parasites and bacteria that can kill you. The method I would recommend is to first filter it. To do this, any cotton material will work, a cheese cloth, coffee filter, or any other porous material will suffice. The idea behind this is to filter out the bigger matter before boiling.

Now with this pre-filtered water, you can place it in a container to boil. Various government agencies say for the boil to be effective, you must boil the water for a minimum of 1 minute. I personally try to boil the water for at least five minutes. This ensures all matter has been effectively destroyed.

Some setbacks to boiling include energy to boil the water, and it’s a time consuming process.

Chemical – The next effective way is to chemically treat the water. The most common practice is to add a specific amount of chlorine to a specified amount of water. The current recommended ratio is ¼ teaspoon of chlorine to 1 gallon of water. As boiling water, it should be pre-filtered to get rid of heavier sediment. Mix the water / chlorine combo thoroughly. You must leave this water at least 1 hour before attempting to drink it.

Some of the setbacks to chemical treatment are the time it takes to purify and also a slight chlorine taste.

Filter – This involves a piece of equipment that can filter out harmful bacteria and chemicals from the water. This method is right on-par with boiling (and in some cases more superior to boiling). Generally, you will also want to pre-filter any water going into the filter. This will allow the filter to last longer and have less chance of clogging. The typical process can vary depending on the equipment purchased. I have written a nice write up on my top 5 water filters. Most filters involve a carbon filter (reduces chemical odors and chemicals), a membrane (reduces bacterial and other harmful organisms).

The major setback with most filters is that you must purchase additional filters and they have a specified life-expectancy.

I personally take a multi-pronged approach. I purchased some coffee filters for my pre-filters. I have a method on making my own chlorine on demand which I will share in another post. Lastly, I have purchased various filters as a compliment to water sanitation preps.

I am very interested in hearing your ideas on water sanitation. Please leave your comments below!

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Water Prepping

waterAs I have stated in previous posts, my number one prepping item is Water. An average person can go without water for 3 to 5 days. If you live in hotter climates like I do, the number of days is on the shorter side of the scale.

FEMA recommends that you have 1 gallon of drinking water per person for a minimum of 3 days.  This means for a family of 5 like mine we would need at the bare minimum 15 gallons of water. As history as shown us, government assistance during disasters can take 2 weeks or longer depending on the severity and number of citizens impacted.

One important thing that is not mentioned in water prepping is the need for water for sanitation. We are humans and as such we are a very dirty species. If you do not take into account this need for water, you could face infection of your entire family. Just look at Haiti when the earthquake stuck. They are to this day still fighting disease as cholera, tuberculosis, typhoid, and hepatitis to name a few. Water for sanitation must be considered and strongly recommended.

For my water prepping, I have enough drinking water for my family for 2 weeks (70 gallons). I also have 220 gallons of rainwater stored in rainbarrels. This water in its current state is non-potable. Ideally, this water would be earmarked for sanitation (flushing toilets, showers (after boiling), and cleaning dishes (after boiling)).

This in my eyes is a good start. I am also currently working on ways to purify and obtain more drinking water. This will allow me the ability to have an unlimited supply of water when needed. I will talk more about my ideas and methods in another post.

The way I got to my level was not overnight. As I have talked about before, it was a gradual process. I made it a personal goal of getting a 5 gallon jug of drinkable water every time we did our major grocery shopping. The initial cost is about $12 dollars (this includes the deposit). But after the initial purchase, I cycle these 5 gallon jugs into my house to use at my water cooler. I then return the empty and only pay $5 or so for a new one. This ensures that my immediate water is fresh and rotated.

My rainbarrel system is comprised of four 55 gallon barrels. They are interconnected and their primary purpose is for my urban garden. Here in Florida we get 65 inches of rain a year. This allows me to save on my water bill and also in SHTF have a reserve of grey-water that can be used in multiple ways. I will discuss my rainbarrel system in a future post.

Now, where do I want to be? I would ideally like to have a month of immediate drinking water and double the amount (500 gallons) of rain water. This would ease the burden of trying to find water in a SHTF scenario for a bit of time. This would also buy us time before we would have start obtaining water outside our house, saving energy.

I recommend you start with a 3 day supply. Once you reach this goal, expand to the next level. The beauty of getting to your first goal is that you can rededicate some resources (time, money, and energy) to other priorities that are not to the minimum level. This holistic approach is the most effective way of scaling your prepping equally.

Do you have other ideas? I would love to hear them, please comment.

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