If you’ve ever ingested unclean water, you probably already know the terrible effects it can render on the human body. Some of the most common side effects from drinking unclean water include dysentery, cholera, typhoid, fluorosis, malaria, etc. If left untreated, these side effects easily lead to death. In virtually all unexpected catastrophes, clean drinking water won’t be available so it’s critical to understand how to purify your drinking water.
The best water storage plan in the world won’t be of any use if you’re away from home when disaster strikes.
With some methods of water storage such as a 55 gallon outdoor rain barrel, you’ll also need to purify the water if you intend to use it for drinking, cooking, or hygienic purposes. If possible, it’s always best to purify water by using two or more purification and disinfection methods to get the cleanest water possible.
Obviously the most common method of purifying water in an emergency situation is boiling it. Boiling water can kill harmful pathogens. Boiling won’t remove any debris or sediment, so it’s a good idea to first strain the water you’re boiling using a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or some type of clean, porous material to strain unwanted sediment. Boiling won’t remove chemicals like mercury, lead, etc., nor will it remove toxic metals or nitrates that may have contaminated the water. To purify water via the boiling method, simply bring the water to a boil for one minute. Afterward, ensure the water is covered while it cools off. The primary disadvantages of boiling water is the energy required to bring the water to a boil (especially if the electricity’s out) and the fact that it doesn’t remove chemicals, nitrates, and toxic metals.
Filtration systems are another viable option used to treat and purify water. Leaders in the market such as Berkey Water Filtration Systems not only filter harmful contaminants such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E. Coli, Vibro Cholerae, Salmonella, etc., but also are a great value because there ceramic filters can be cleaned and reused. Unlike boiling water which doesn’t address issues such as foul odor or taste, a Berkey system uses ceramic or carbon filters (depending on the model) which contains a carbon core
to reduce bad taste and odors. In addition, these filters also remove many types of chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, etc.
Finally, the last method of water purification this article will address is chemical treatment methods. By far, the most common chemical methods are chlorine and iodine. Chemical treatments are most effective when combined with boiling water first and then treating the water after it has cooled. The portability of chlorine or iodine tablets and powders make them attractive for scenarios in which you’ll be traveling. Although they’re a great supplement to have around, they’re not the best option to rely on to purify our water storage.
In closing, it’s essential to have a firm understanding of how to not only store water, but also possess the knowledge and equipment to purify it. Never trust the cleanliness of water by its appearance. Even the most pristine mountain creek can be contaminated with chemicals and other harmful pathogens. Try and master at least two methods of purifying water before an unexpected event to not leave anything to chance.