Copyright 2008 by Dale Ferguson. All rights reserved.
WATER STORAGE "SECRETS"
by Dale Ferguson
You need to know these "secrets" because… Water storage is the most significant item in any emergency storage plan. Other than the air that we breathe, it is the single most important thing needed to sustain life. The method that you store water should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, when it comes to storing water properly, it is likely the least understood of all food storage items!
How much water should you store? There are a number of recommended formulas around and the amount is left to your individual discretion and the space you have available. The average person in normal times uses over a hundred gallons of water per day (for all purposes). The most common recommendation for emergency survival situations is at least 2 gallons per person, per day. Military studies show that troops usually average 14.5 gallons per soldier, per day. (Food for thought). Civil defense authorities usually recommended storing a minimum of 2 week’s worth of emergency water. The need to have water for a much longer period could become a reality.
If you store untreated water, it should be for a very limited time and will not be safe to drink without filtering and boiling. If you store chlorinated tap water you should renew it every six months and it too should be filtered and boiled before using. If you store water to which you have added chlorine bleach or iodine, as has been a common practice in the past, you have possibly eliminated the need to boil. But, it is a hazard to your health (because of the added chlorine or iodine) and should not be consumed without filtering. And, the water should still be "dumped" and replaced at least every year. If you use the method outlined here, you can have clean pure water, ready to drink, that can be stored without replacing, for two years or longer. Many have stored water (using the correct steps) for five years or longer!
First off, what water is best to store? Using commercially treated water is quite expensive and out of the range of practicality for most people. Either tap water or well water (that has been tested safe) is fine to use for home storage if it is properly prepared. As to containers, there are several options. Metal containers are not advisable for water storage use and some tend to give water an unpleasant taste. The most popular option is the use of heavy plastic containers, ranging from 5-gallons through the 55-gallon size. Make sure that they are made of a "food grade" plastic, so that neither a "plastic taste" nor harmful chemicals are leached out into the water. It goes without saying that a tight-fitting lid that seals out all outside air is a necessity. Small containers (when cleaned thoroughly) such as originally used for soda pop, should be used only for temporary water storage to be used for bathing and flushing toilets, until a more permanent solution is found. There will always be a portion of the original content that has soaked into the plastic and will later provide "food" for bacteria growth. Also, they are not of sufficient thickness to prevent odors and tastes from penetrating, nor will they stand the rigors of time. Bottles that once contained milk or dairy products should notbe used at all. Even with thorough washing, bacterial contamination is extremely likely. The plastic used in such containers also decomposes too quickly.
Even food-grade plastic containers that have been used once (for any purpose) should never be used for drinking water storage. Whatever was originally in the container has "soaked into" the plastic and (no matter how thoroughly cleaned) will eventually leach out into the water, because water itself is an excellent solvent. An example is the use of 55-gallon drums that once held soft drink syrup. They have been cleaned and are being sold for water storage. When traces of that "syrup" start to leach out into the water (and in time it will) a more excellent food for growing bacteria could hardly be found. If you have used containers, they should be used only for storing water for bathing or for flushing toilets. Make sure that they are marked with a heavy black marker (or such) indicating that they should not be used for drinking or cooking.
Containers should be filled to the top to help prevent algae growth. Water is best stored out of direct sunlight in a reasonably cool part of your house. The temperature should ideally never reach 130 degrees. Needless to say, freezing should be avoided for several reasons, including possible rupture of the container.
Although, at one time I have used 55-gallon drums for water storage, I personally store most of my water in new 5-gallon food-grade plastic containers. While this may be a little more expensive initially than using a smaller number of large containers, the advantages far outweigh the additional cost. Water stored in 5-gallon or 7-gallon containers is easy to prepare, handle, store, and use. They are also easy to transport to another location, should the emergency need arise or if you move. Water stored in 55-gallon containers would be almost impossible for most people to transport to another location in an emergency, or in the event of a move. Also, with many households, the only practical place to store containers that large is in the garage. And the garage, in most cases, is not the ideal location for water storage. Most garages get much too hot in the summer, and there is often the danger of freezing in the winter. It is best that neither happen to stored water. My recommendation is to stick with the 5 to 7-gallon size, if possible, and certainly (for most households) not to use over the 15-gallon size for the bulk of your water storage. You certainly can plan well regarding your available space and permanency. My wife and I store our 5-gallon containers of water in the crawl space under our house. In most modern homes, this space provides room to store many such containers and the temperature usually remains within the desired range year-round.
Stored water must be protected from bacterial contamination. This is imperative. If not done, even the slightest trace of contamination will grow and spread in your water. The old method, advocated for years, was to add a small amount of chlorine bleach or iodine to retard bacteria growth. Don’t! Chlorine is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) and a toxin that should not be taken into the human body in anything over very minute quantities. Chlorine used in municipally treated water is normally found in very small quantities, as far as "parts-per-million" is concerned. Even then, its use is controversial. The "original" volume commercial use of chlorine was to "kill people." After the end of World War I, manufacturers had a tremendous stockpile of chlorine gas for use in the war, and no market for it. So (since it will "kill" almost anything) they promoted its use to kill bacteria in municipally treated drinking water. It has been used for that purpose in the United States since that time. In Europe, and a lot of the rest of the world, they use safer methods, such as ozone.
Again, the chlorine used in municipally treated water is in smaller "parts per million" quantities. When you add the small amounts of chlorine bleach recommended and used by some people for water storage, you are ending up with a very "strong" dose of toxic chlorine, related to parts-per-million. In the case of iodine tablets, liquid, or similar products, the same thing applies. Iodine is very closely related in chemical make-up to chlorine and can be just as toxic to the human body!
The very best thing to use for protecting water from bacterial contamination is Activated Stabilized Oxygen. One of the properties of oxygen is its ability to destroy harmful bacteria. Researchers have found oxygen effective against all known anaerobic infectious disease-causing bacteria! There are a number of products on the market now that claim to be Stabilized Oxygen. They are sold for a variety of health uses, as well as for treating water. Most use the "old out-dated technology" of oxygen being bonded to a salt, usually a salt of chlorite. (Chlorite is a toxin, and should not be confused with chloride, such as from sodium chloride, which is simply table salt). Such products are quite caustic because of a high pH level. The label on these products will usually warn you against making contact with your skin! They do not contain any actual bio-available oxygen until a chemical reaction takes place to release the bonded oxygen. They have to be diluted in water before they can safely come into contact with the human body. Most are activated by contact with the hydrochloric acid found in the stomach. A few use an external acid such as lemon juice to release the oxygen molecules. The theory is that the chemical action of releasing oxygen can also take place when the bonded salt comes into contact with bacteria in stored water.
The "cutting-edge" technology in Stabilized Oxygen contains, by contrast, actual dissolved molecules of oxygen. These have a near-balanced pH (just a little on the alkaline side, usually around 7.4) and are quite safe. Look for a product made with the new technology that has the ideal pH level, uses actual dissolved molecules of oxygen and contains an "ultra-strength" 35% solution of oxygen! Such a solution contains approximately 350,000 parts-per-million of oxygen at the time of manufacture. A lighter strength of 5% to 10% oxygen is very effective and preferable for natural health purposes, with the 10% being very effective for such usages. The 35% ultra-strength, however, should be used for water storage, because of the many variables in such storage.
When you are ready to fill your containers, here are 3 important tips:
There is a way to actually filter your water, reasonably fast, effective and inexpensively. Go to a RV (Recreational Vehicle) supply store and buy a RV Water Filter. Ask for one designed to hook inline with a garden hose that is used to fill the water tank. One example is a "Kleen-Plusâ" by Ametek, but there are several on the market that usually run around $25 in price. These carbon filters should handle any volume of water that you are likely to store and then some. The Kleen-Plusâ (as an example) is rated at 1 gallon per minute at 60 psi, the rate at which it will still effectively filter the water. If water is run through too fast, it is not effectively filtered. This means that it would take around 55 minutes to properly fill and filter a 55-gallon drum… a "workable" time frame and one familiar to RV owners. Such filtering will remove much that is undesirable in your water, including most of the chlorine. I assure you that all municipally treated tap water needs such treatment. Whether it be well water or city tap water, it is always better to filter it as you fill your containers. As a footnote, if you have a local Wal-Mart in your area, they are usually a good source for RV water filters at a reasonable price.
The second tip is that you should not use an ordinary garden hose. A large percentage of such hoses contain a number of harmful chemicals, including lead. If you look at the label on most new garden hoses, you will see a warning that they contain known cancer-causing chemicals! Check with a store carrying RV supplies, and purchase an RV hose that is stated to be manufactured free of harmful chemicals.
The third important tip is something that most companies selling Stabilized Oxygen do not tell you, and most all literature on water storage fails to mention. It has to do with the pH level of your water. This is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 6.8 indicates a neutral solution. A pH below 6.8 indicates acidity. A pH in excess of 6.8 indicates alkalinity. For water to store best, it needs to be on the alkaline side! There is an inexpensive and simple way to find out the pH of the water that you are storing. That is by using Litmus Paper. The pharmacies in some stores carry them. Sometimes, it takes a little searching to find them. They come in blue or red and change color to indicate an acidic or alkaline status. Do not use what is known as "wide-range" pH strips (the type used for swimming pools, hot tubs, etc.) that you match to a color chart. These are confusing and not very accurate. The litmus paper strips that you need are the red ones with a range of 6.8 to 8.1. At the pH level of 6.8 they change from red (which is actually pink) to blue-violet in color. At a pH range of 8.1 they change to blue.
Water from different areas of the country can have a wide range of pH levels. Using the red litmus paper, check the water that you wish to store. If the strip changes in color from pink to blue violet or blue, then your water is on the alkaline side and you are ready for the next step. As a footnote: when using the litmus paper, note the color 15 to 20 seconds after dipping it in the water. Prolonged exposure to the air will tend to darken the paper. If you find your pH level to be too low and the litmus strip remains "pink", there is a very simple and inexpensive way to raise it to the desired level. You can use simple household baking soda. When used properly, small amounts of simple baking soda will not only be completely safe, but also won’t add anything to the taste of the water. The actual amount of soda needed will vary from area to area. With the preparation of my own water storage (using municipal tap water) it required the addition of 8 teaspoons of soda per 5-gallons of stored water. The finished product, with soda added to bring it on the alkaline side of the pH scale and with the Stabilized Oxygen added, tasted very clean and fresh compared to the tap water with which we started! Mix the soda well, a little at a time, in a small container of water and pour it into your stored water. Once this is done, it is necessary to mix it thoroughly in your storage container by shaking, etc. It is an easy matter to put the lids on your 5 to 15-gallon containers and shake them. If you are using 55-gallon containers, this becomes a little more of a challenge. But, they can be filled half way and then "rocked" back and forth for mixing the added soda. Then, they can be filled the rest of the way, completing a reasonable mixing. Check the pH level with a fresh litmus strip and continue the process until the strip changes color from Pink to Blue Violet. When that takes place, you are ready for the next step. Once you establish the amount of soda to add to your first container, the preparation of additional water stored (in the same size containers) will go quite fast.
NOTE: If all of this litmus testing seems to be "too much of a hassle for you," or if you are unable to find the correct litmus strips, a "shortcut" is to go ahead and add around two teaspoons of baking soda per gallon of water stored, mixing well. Common baking soda is very inexpensive, and will just serve to "sweeten" the taste of your water.
The next step is to add 35% Ultra-Strength Formula Activated Stabilized Oxygen. I recommend the following amounts:
One ounce per each 55 gallons of stored drinking water.
With smaller containers, use:
¼ teaspoon (around 25 drops) per gallon of stored drinking water.
1 teaspoon per 5 gallons of stored drinking water.
1 ½ teaspoons per 7 gallons of stored drinking water.
2 ½ teaspoons per 15 gallons of stored drinking water.
Using the above amounts, a 32-ounce quart (which is 192 teaspoons) of 35% ASO would treat the following:
32 of the 55-gallon containers
768 of the 1-gallon containers
192 of the 5-gallon containers
128 of the 7-gallon containers
77 of the 15-gallon containers
Using the above amounts, a 2-ounce bottle (approx 12 teaspoons) of 35% ASO would treat the following:
2 of the 55-gallon containers
48 of the 1-gallon containers
12 of the 5-gallon containers
8 of the 7-gallon containers
4.8 of the 15-gallon containers
Because of oxygen bottling costs, the 32-oz. quart size is the best buy, if you are storing a larger amount of water. For those with smaller storage amounts in mind, 2-ounce oxygen bottles are made available.
Seal your container, shake it well and store it!
NOTES about amounts shown:
With smaller containers, there is a good chance that the water will be used much sooner than with larger containers, particularly the 55-gallon ones. Therefore, it is wise to use (proportionally) more oxygen in the smaller containers, than with the larger containers. The recommended amounts shown reflect that.
Don’t be misled by some companies claiming a recommendation of 1 oz. of their product for treating 55 gallons, when their oxygen strength is much lower than 35%. At the prices most are charging, if they tell a person to use too much, it is less likely that someone would buy their product, because of the expense
In summary, the correct steps in storing water are:
1. Fill the quality containers of your choice, ideally filtering the water as you do so.
2. Determine the pH level of the water by using the red litmus strips.
3. If needed, add small amounts of baking soda until the strips change color.
4. Add 35% Activated Stabilized Oxygen in the recommended amounts.
5. Seal your containers, mix well, and store in the best location available.
Remember, because water will likely be the most important thing that you will ever store, a little time spent in properly storing water will pay big dividends in the years to come!
Copyright 2008 by Dale Ferguson. All rights reserved.
WARNING: This information may be printed off for personal use only. For any commercial use, it may not be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, in whole or part, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission.
NOTE: It is legally necessary for me to say that, the information contained in this article is merely a guideline and is for educational purposes only. Because of the many variables involved in water storage, I can assume no liability for results obtained from following the advice given here. I have personally stored water successfully for over 5 years using the methods contained herein. Your personal results can vary, again depending on the many variables that can be encountered. Remember also, that we are not talking about the purification of water. We are talking about the enhancement of stored drinking water using municipally treated tap water or tested well water of accepted quality. The purification of known contaminated water comes under a completely different legal classification!
Note from Celest and David…..WE use this product, it is the best we have encountered and is highly recommended by our off world family. With the lack of oxygen that everyone is encountering we would highly recommend using this orally as well as for your water storage needs. You WILL feel the difference immediately and your body will love you for it. Natural Stabilized Oxygen is also one of the best antiseptics. This can be used topically or taken internally. It is also a strong antibiotic. WE recommend using the 35% formula, take ½ teaspoon twice a day. Increase as needed once your body has become accustomed to having what it needs. We do have permission from the author to post this information.
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