Disinfect Huge Amounts Of Water With This Common Household Item

Rhona Reid
By Rhona Reid May 9, 2017 08:55

Disinfect Huge Amounts Of Water With This Common Household Item

The idea of consuming bleach horrifies most people. Obviously consuming undiluted bleach should be avoided at all costs, but using a few drops to disinfect water and make it safe to drink is another matter entirely.

It’s not a perfect system; disinfecting water won’t neutralize any heavy metals or chemicals for example. However, in a survival situation, adding the right amount of bleach to filtered water is a useful option if you have no bottled water and no means of boiling whatever water you do have available.

No Added Extras

Avoid any bleach products with added fragrance, dyes or cleaning properties. You need regular, unscented bleach for disinfection. Filter the water to be disinfected using whatever you have to hand – coffee filters are great, but you can use clean cloths, towels, two clean socks stuffed inside each other or cotton fabric plugged into the neck of a funnel. Whatever you’ve got, basically.

You need to be sure that you’re adding the right amount of bleach for the quantity of water being treated. Regular household bleach should contain a concentration of around 5.00-8.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. That’s what we’re working with here, so check the label to make sure that your bleach doesn’t differ wildly from that strength.

You’ll need:

  • Regular, unscented bleach at room temperature
  • Clean medicine dropper


1. Filter your water (especially if it’s cloudy) using the most efficient method available to remove particles and sediment.

2. Assuming your bleach is regular household strength of 5 – 8.25 percent sodium hypochlorite, add 2 drops of bleach for every liter/quart of water (or 8 drops per gallon). The easiest way to do this is to pour a little bleach into the cap and draw up a small amount in the dropper.Step 2 How to Disinfect Water with Bleach and How to Store It

3. If your water remains cloudy after filtering or has a colored tinge, increase the dose of bleach to 4 drops per liter.Step 3 How to Disinfect Water with Bleach and How to Store It

4. Stir the water well and leave it to stand for 30 minutes before pouring into a clean container and capping. If your container has a screw top, then take a moment to wipe or splash the threads with the purified water. This reduces the risk of any dirty liquid or particles hidden in the threads contaminating the disinfected water.Step 4 How to Disinfect Water with Bleach and How to Store It

Shelf Life

Water treated in this way has a shelf life of 6 months when stored in a cool, dark and dry place.

An excellent skill to get to grips with for any situation where regular water services are interrupted or unavailable, this simple method of making water safe to drink is even sanctioned by the EPA.

The simple yet potentially essential sequence of filter-bleach-stand-bottle is an absolute keeper for any prepper!

Now that you know how to disinfect water using bleach, discover how to DIY your own portable device for an endless water supply.

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Rhona Reid
By Rhona Reid May 9, 2017 08:55
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  1. lizzard man May 9, 14:58

    Does bleach have unlimited shelf life?

    Reply to this comment
    • CarrotsNGinger May 10, 16:18

      No, liquid bleach loses it’s potency over time because the chlorine evaporates from the mixture. You should purchase pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) for long term storage. I use Poolife TurboShock because it’s 78% CaClO http://amzn.to/2q64W9a

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 10, 17:47

        Carrots: What mixture do you use? Pool shock is considerably stronger than household bleach. How did you arrive at the mixture you use?

        Reply to this comment
        • CarrotsNGinger May 10, 18:17

          I follow the government guidelines.

          “Granular calcium hypochlorite. The first step is to make a chlorine solution that you will use to disinfect your water. For your safety, do it in a ventilated area and wear eye protection. Add one heaping teaspoon (approximately ¼ ounce) of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (HTH) to two gallons of water and stir until the particles have dissolved. The mixture will produce a chlorine solution of approximately 500 milligrams per liter. To disinfect water, add one part of the chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water you are treating. This is about the same as adding 1 pint (16 ounces) of the chlorine solution to 12.5 gallons of water. If the chlorine taste is too strong, pour the water from one clean container to another and let it stand for a few hours before use. CAUTION: HTH is a very powerful oxidant. Follow the instructions on the label for safe handling and storage of this chemical.”

          Click on the second tab in the link below.

          This is a gov’t pdf that makes a good printout.

          Reply to this comment
  2. Jeanie May 9, 15:08

    years of prepping! I am older person and may not need preps but I have 4 sons with wife and kids. I print many Diy articles and put them in folders according to topic. My children are aware of the folders.

    Reply to this comment
    • PB- dave May 9, 16:45

      over the years I have collected many reference books, mostly mechanical topics, and my kids and wife all say get rid of them you can find anything on-line.
      When the storm knocks the power out, I can still read…..
      Keep building the folders 🙂

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 9, 16:56

        Dave: You are so right. A book can be handed down from generation to generation. Electronic media has an unknown life. If there is an EMP or CME the electronic devices will most likely be fried while your books won’t even notice.

        Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe May 9, 16:55

      Good advice Jeanie. Web sites and hard drives will be virtually gone when shtf. Hard copies are always good to have.

      Reply to this comment
  3. left coast chuck May 9, 16:53

    Be aware that household bleach has a shelf life. Estimates vary because its shelf life, like so many others items that we depend upon, is dependent upon how it is stored. Stored in a cool dark place without large swings in temperature, its shelf life can be as much as a year. Now it doesn’t suddenly die after a year, its beneficial effects slowly diminish. That’s why it is difficult to say exactly how long it can last. So your bleach is 14 months old. Now is 8 drops per gallon enough to insure that all the little creatures in the water have died? Or do you need 10 or 12? I wish I could say, “Buy the XYZ test kit which will tell you exactly how strong your bleach is and how many drops it will take to kill the nasties.” As best I know, there is no such kit outside of a full blown testing laboratory. That’s why my water purification scheme relies on boiling. With a mechanical thermometer I can tell when the water reaches 165°F or if I want to be extra safe, 185°F. I don’t have to wonder and wait until I have come down with the unending brown drizzlies to find out that the bleach had lost its strength.

    One point the article didn’t mention is that the speed of sterilization depends upon the temperature of the water. The colder the water, the longer one must wait for the full effect of the bleach. Again, the length of time is speculative depending upon the temperature of the water and the freshness of the bleach. I wish it were easy. Unfortunately, it is not. It is necessary to know where the alligators hide.

    Reply to this comment
    • Mark May 10, 17:41

      Pretty much agree here. However, it seem quite difficult to get an accurate listing of the ingredients in the various brands of “pool shock.” There are versions for culinary water. https://www.amazon.com/Calcium-Hypochlorite-Minimum-Chlorine-BOTTLES/dp/B01N976ZJ8/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494438024&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=calcium+hypochlorite+for+drinking+water+treatment#detail-bullets

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 10, 18:02

        I followed the link to the Amazon sales point. I also went to Wikipedia to look up calcium hypochlorite. Interesting reading. I highly recommend going to Wikipedia. It seems like a genuine article. If you read the references listed at the bottom, they also seem genuine. There is only one review and no mention of concentrations to use. The one answer to the question of how much to use says to go on line and look it up. The product being sold on the Amazon site says it is 68% calcium hypochlorite. This is compared to 5-8% sodium hypochlorite. How one extrapolates that is beyond my knowledge of chemistry. The Wikipedia article did suggest that the hydrated version of calcium hypochlorite stores better than the non-hydrated variety. Wow that is a lot of technical verbiage that tells the interested reader almost nothing. However, my parting shot is: Before you mess with calcium hypochlorite, be sure to do plenty of research. It strikes me as being a pretty nasty item to mess with unless you know what you are doing.

        Reply to this comment
  4. Liquidtravel May 9, 16:54

    I have a 55 gallon barrel that I want to fill. Are you saying I would need 40 droplets? Also, if I fill using a garden hose, will the bleach protect against algae growth?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 10, 18:16

      Not according to my old time math. According to what the nuns taught me in 2nd grade 8 x 55 = 440. So if you are disinfecting water according to the formula in the article you need 440 drops of household bleach. Many garden hoses contain lead. If you shop for a hose-type water line for your motor home, they sell lead-free hoses to use to fill the tank in your motor home. Yeah, yeah, I know, we all drank from the hose when we were kids. Lead is cumulative. The body does not excrete it as it does other chemicals we suck in during our lifetime. Lead especially affects kids. Smaller bodies = lower quantities to reach nasty levels. If you are going to be filling water storage devices with a hose, invest $40 in a lead-free hose from your local RV store. If you are storing the barrel in your garage, probably algae growth will be at a minimum level. If you are storing your barrel outside in the sunlight, I would put a 55 gallon black trash bag over the barrel and change it out when it gets tattered. In any event, water never gets “bad”. It always maintains its life-saving element. What it does do is support the growth of undesirable plant and animal life which can be destroyed by — you guessed it, boiling! Are you getting the feeling I have a one track mind? One of the reasons why I purchase distilled water is that is what I store away. It starts out without any plant or animal life as it has been converted to steam at 214°F which will kill anything known to man. It also boils away organa-phosphates and leaves behind heavy metals. The place where I purchase my distilled water first treats by reverse osmosis. This is the process that removes the o-p and h.m.s then the distillation process kills all the other stuff. The water starts out as clean as it can be. It isn’t medical usage sterile, but it is as clean as you can get industrially. Your “clean” water supplied by your water supplier only has to meet federal standards or if your state has higher standards, meet those higher standards. The federal standards are shockingly low. I talked about that in another post on this list.

      Reply to this comment
      • hillbilly girl May 11, 01:30

        Lead free hoses are fairly easy to find for about $25. I’ve seen them at wal-mart, lowes, tractor store, etc.

        Reply to this comment
      • Lily July 15, 23:41

        Taken in context with the other comments are you recommending distilled water for drinking? I’m quoting here… “Distilled water tends to be acidic and can only be recommended as a way of drawing poisons out of the body. Once this is accomplished, the continued drinking of distilled water is a bad idea. Water filtered through reverse osmosis tends to be neutral and is acceptable for regular use provided minerals are supplemented”.

        Reply to this comment
  5. Cecountry May 9, 18:25

    Isn’t it clorine bleach they put in the city water system??

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 9, 18:55

      Currently many water treatment plants use chlorine and ammonia to create chloramine which is a longer lasting form of chlorine. There are several forms of chlorine used, including chlorine gas — not recommended for amateur use as it is highly toxic. Chlorine dioxide is a very common chlorine chemical used as is sodium hypochlorite which is household bleach. However, the concentration is much stronger than household bleach. As the article says, household bleach is 5% to 8% sodium hypochlorite, the rest is water. At 5%, when you buy a gallon of household bleach you are actually only buying 6.5 ounces of sodium hypochlorite. The rest is water. At 8% it is 10.2 ounces out of the 128 ounces that make a gallon. A water treatment technician position usually requires specialized training and handling the chemicals always requires protective gear. The chemicals will kill you quicker than the bad water. Water treatment is a complex process and the federal standards for clean water are shockingly low. Water treatment plant operators vigorously resist making the standard higher as it increases the cost of operation. I pay 60¢ a gallon for distilled water and that is cheap for distilled. You wouldn’t want to pay 60¢ a gallon for water you wash clothes in nor take a bath in. Your water bill would exceed your house payment. Either that or your clothes and you would be a lot more odorous than presently. One reason for bathing only on Saturday night and wearing long johns all winter long. Obtaining clean, hot water was a significant chore. We are spoiled in this country. Just turn on the tap and let the clean water run straight down the drain. Even as far back as the late 60s in Japan where they have an abundance of clean water due to their weather patterns the toilets in homes had a faucet so that one could wash ones’ hand after using the toilet with the water that filled the water tank. There were also two sizes of flush, Big and Small. You used the appropriate flush for the job. There is no reason not to use the water that fills the tank to wash your hands. It just takes a longer filler pipe and some modification of the tank lid to accomplish. Everything else was similar to the U.S. tank which wastes all that water.

      Reply to this comment
      • Older prepper May 9, 20:17

        East Coast Chuck; How is it, you are so knowledgeable about so many things! It is amazing to me. I totally enjoy reading all of your posts. Keep up the good work. ☺

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck May 9, 23:14

          I have spent a fair amount of time reading almost everything I can lay my hands on about the problems of failure of our electrical grid system from whatever cause. IMO the worst case scenario would be an EMP strike from a hostile entity. The reason I think that is the worst case is because if I were doing it, I would time it to create the most damage and havoc. The next worse (I know poor English usage) would be a CME event and that could have more world wide effect. Misery loves company. If every other country is experiencing the kind of difficulties we are, that lessens the chances of a follow-along invasion by hostile forces when our country is in disarray. The third is sabotage of the grid system. While this would have a devastating effect, it would still leave everything viable. We would have time to develop work-arounds.

          Thanks for the kudos. I try to post intelligent posts with helpful information. Don’t always hit a home run. Hell, sometimes I don’t even know it’s my turn at bat.

          Reply to this comment
  6. sheyelly May 9, 22:43

    as someone who is allergic to chlorine, is there anything else that can be used to purify water?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 9, 23:27

      Iodine, but that is not suitable for long term usage. It does something to your endocrine system but right now I can’t remember what it is. Also not supposed to use iodine if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. For my two cents, I will repeat what I said above: Boiling is the surest way to guarantee drinkable water. While plain boiling will not remove heavy metals, if you boil the water then run it through activated charcoal you will eliminate a significant amount of heavy metals. You do not have to attain 212°F and you don’t have to actively boil the water for 20 minutes as many “experts” recommend. If you have a thermometer just heat it to 185°F. That will insure that you have sustained the 165° temperature for sufficient time to complete pasteurization which is what you are trying to achieve. If you boil it for 20 minutes at a roiling boil all you are doing is wasting water as it is diminishing in volume as it boils and you are wasting fuel and time. The local distillation plant where I buy my distilled water raises the temperature to 214°F as they need to turn the water into steam and water turns into steam at 212. They have an older machine that they no longer use that used to raise the temperature to 219°F, but that was inefficient

      and cost them more money. When you are making 2500 gallons of distilled water a day, 4°F means a big savings in electricity costs. I had thought they used gas which would be cheaper but when I queried them about their process they told me they used electricity. They are probably on a first name basis with the credit manager at the electric company. Their meter must spin like a dervish when they are cooking water.

      Now, having said all that, as you gain in altitude above sea level, you have to increase the time and temperature because water actually boils at lower temperature as you go up the mountain. That is a whole ‘nuther subject that requires at least as much verbiage as this post did.

      Reply to this comment
      • Red May 10, 04:13

        You said “Now, having said all that, as you gain in altitude above sea level, you have to increase the time and temperature because water actually boils at lower temperature as you go up the mountain.”

        I agree that as you get higher, the BP increases. However, why do you have to increase the temperature as you get higher? According to my reference, if you are lower than 13,500 foot roughly the BP is greater than 187 degrees.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck May 10, 16:02

          That’s why I just mentioned the effect of altitude but didn’t offer any further advice because I hadn’t made reference to any charts that provided the information you had. I would rather not post information if I don’t have correct information. I haven’t done any recent reading on what the exact effect altitude has on boiling point. I just wanted to make readers aware that there was an effect.

          Reply to this comment
    • Izzy July 15, 00:14

      NEVER use iodine for anything unless you are exposed to nuclear radiation. As left coast duck said, it effects the endocrine system….mainly the thyroid and parathyroid. When those little guys go haywire, so does everything else. Ask me how I know. 🙂

      Reply to this comment
  7. left coast chuck May 10, 00:05

    To continue with my treatise on boiling — You don’t need a giant bonfire or a gas stove or anything complicated. You can use your charcoal barbecue. if you make a rocket stove and place it on the bottom rack, you can put any kettle or pot on the top rack directly over the flames from the rocket stove. You than can use all sorts of small combustible material to fire the rocket stove. Leaves, small twigs, scrap cardboard and any other combustible fuel. You can even dry your poop and use it, although I suspect that the smoke might be pungent. Remember, the plains Indians used buffalo poop for fuel for their fires. The rocket stove will concentrate the fire and burns quite hot. A covered vessel will allow the water to reach temperature quicker. I would suggest investing in a mechanical thermometer now while you can and putting it in your survival gear. Forget the nifty digital thermometer. you want something basic and non-electrical. You might even consider a couple of them as a back up. Remember, two is one, one is none. The temperature of the water at sea level needs to be 165°F for some period of time which escapes me without going and looking it up. If you raise the temperature to 185°F and remove the water from the heat source as soon as it reaches that temp. you will have insured that the water has been at 165°F for sufficient time to insure pasteurization. The amount of time, in my recollection that it must be at 165°F is quite limited, so the extra 20° will be more than adequate. You don’t need to go higher than that it just wastes water, fuel and time. You will be quite busy making water after a EOTW event as almost any water source will be contaminated with something. That temperature should eliminate most organo-phosphates. The only thing it will not eliminate is heavy metals. Pouring the water through a charcoal filter should do that. Why not just pour the water through charcoal to begin with and skip the boiling you ask. Well, in filtering raw water, the filtering agent quickly becomes saturated with what you are trying to eliminate. You will get much better mileage with safer results if you boil the water first and then filter it rather than attempting to just filter everything. I can’t stress how important clean water will be in the first several months after an EOTW event. Our bodies have become less resistant to a variety of things due to our ultra sanitary way of life. I was just reading an article about the Amish. Their children have a much lower rate of asthma than the average American child due, the doctors believe, to the fact that living on farms they are exposed to more things from infancy than the typical American child and develop resistances that the typical child does not develop. Until our bodies get used to the substances that will be present that we are not used to being exposed to, we will be far more susceptible to infections and especially bowel infections. Reading a book about the crusades, one of the European princes leading his particular crusade died of diarrhea. WE can assume as a prince he was eating only the best food. I don’t have figures to back my statement, but I believe that very few people in the U.S. die of diarrhea or diseases caused by diarrhea. Every once in a while we will have an outbreak of food poisoning from some source, but even there, the number of actual deaths is quite minimal. Use the household bleach you are not using to purify your water to wash your hand before handling food. You can use a stronger solution. I use 1/2 cup of household bleach to 1 gallon of water as my disinfecting solution. As a disinfecting solution you don’t have to be as careful about going over the amount of bleach. Even if you use straight household bleach on your skin in small quantities it most likely won’t hurt your skin. I do not recommend the 8% solution by any means just because it is wasteful, and you may be allergic to a solution that strong. Sanitation may be right after water as the most important item to your survival after an EOTW event. Up until WWII disease killed far more soldiers than wounds. It was the invention of sulfa based antibiotics and penicillin based antibiotics that saved so many lives in WWII. You can look up the numbers of soldiers who died of disease as contrasted to combat wounds from the Civil War on and you will be astounded at the numbers. Reading this book about the crusades, disease was the biggest cause of deaths for all the crusades and those were the days of take no prisoners. To bring this to a close: sanitation, sanitation, sanitation.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Jerry May 10, 10:47

    I purchased dry bleach to stockpile for this purpose just in case, I thought it would be easier to carry small amounts in a bug out bag or backpack you mix a certain amount with water to get the regular strength of bleach then use it in the same manner as liquid bleach, I know there is a shelf life on regular bleach but wonder about the dried if so what is it?

    Reply to this comment
    • joanofark06 May 24, 21:18

      Hi Jerry,
      Where did you purchase your dry bleach from? Never heard of that before! Interesting, because I’m been thinking about the heaviness of the bottles of Clorox, or the room it takes to carry just one bottle in a “get out of dodge” situation. I definitely would love to know some more about dry bleach!

      Reply to this comment
  9. eddiespagettie May 10, 11:00

    I’ve heard that swimming pool shock treatment will also kill all the bugaboos in raw water also…anyone aware of that remedy?

    Reply to this comment
    • CarrotsNGinger May 10, 18:12

      I follow the government guidelines.

      “Granular calcium hypochlorite. The first step is to make a chlorine solution that you will use to disinfect your water. For your safety, do it in a ventilated area and wear eye protection. Add one heaping teaspoon (approximately ¼ ounce) of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (HTH) to two gallons of water and stir until the particles have dissolved. The mixture will produce a chlorine solution of approximately 500 milligrams per liter. To disinfect water, add one part of the chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water you are treating. This is about the same as adding 1 pint (16 ounces) of the chlorine solution to 12.5 gallons of water. If the chlorine taste is too strong, pour the water from one clean container to another and let it stand for a few hours before use. CAUTION: HTH is a very powerful oxidant. Follow the instructions on the label for safe handling and storage of this chemical.”

      Click on the second tab in the link below.

      Reply to this comment
  10. left coast chuck May 10, 16:26

    In answer to Jerry’s and Eddie’s questions, I haven’t investigated dry bleach. As a general rule, however, dry chemical compounds have a longer shelf life than wet. Know too the only general rule is that there is no general rule. I would suggest that if there is no expiration date on the box that you go to the manufacturer’s website and see what the manufacturer has to say about expiration of the product. Usually with dry products, it really depends upon how it is stored. Kept dry and reasonably airtight, it should last a long time, but that is just a generalization. Do some investigation. If the manufacturer doesn’t offer any advice, look up the chemicals that are in the product. There is a ton of information on the internet. However, be sure to look at the source of the information. There is a lot of bad advice on there.

    With regard to pool chlorine. Think about difference in size. You aren’t going to be preparing a pool-sized container of drinking water. How many gallons does your pool hold, 5,000? 10,000? 20,000? The chemicals used in pool chlorination are far stronger than the chemicals used for purifying drinking water. Without knowing the chemical you are talking about and the recommended doses, I won’t say anything about it. I have seen advice about buying chlorine dioxide from pool supply places to use as a water purifier. I haven’t done any investigation into that topic. It certainly is an area that is worthy of further investigation. I haven’t investigated it because I have settled on boiling as my means of insuring safe water and am pursuing being prepared for that effort. Wood as fuel is going to be widely available as a fuel in an EOTW scenario. Chemicals widely available today will not be available. If the grid goes down, our own FEMA has estimated that 90% of the population of the U.S. will die off in the first year. Look at your street. If there are 100 people living on your block at the end of the first year only 10 of them will be left alive. Living will be reduced to the level of living as it existed in this country in the 1600s only most of us won’t have the life skills that folks had then. Do you know how to hitch a horse to a plow or a wagon? Unfortunately, given a choice between starving and eating the horse that can help grow more food we will choose eating the horse. That means we are going to be reduced to tilling the soil by manual means. Anyone who served in the Far East in the 50s and early 60s can think back to that time and remember what I am talking about. You go out with an adze and break the soil manually. That’s the level we will be reduced to. All the chemicals are fine but as soon as they are gone there will be no more. No more bleach; no more chlorine dioxide or iodine. You will have to resort to boiling. That’s the reason I am planning on boiling right from the get go.

    Reply to this comment
  11. left coast chuck May 10, 18:31

    Copied directly from the EPA website which is the link that Ginger provided — no copyright violation, it is a government publication paid for by taxpayer money and thus in the public domain.

    “Boil water, if you do not have bottled water. Boiling is sufficient to kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses and protozoa (WHO, 2015).
    If water is cloudy, let it settle and filter it through a clean cloth, paperboiling water towel, or coffee filter.
    Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute. At altitudes above 5,000 feet (1,000 meters), boil water for three minutes.
    Let water cool naturally and store it in clean containers with covers. A bottle of bleach
    To improve the flat taste of boiled water, add one pinch of salt to each quart or liter of water, or pour the water from one clean container to another several times.”

    The EPA doesn’t talk about using a thermometer, they talk about a rolling boil and the time they suggest is one minute. Above 5,000 which is more than 1,000 meters, 5,000 feet is actually 1500+ meters, so I don’t know which is correct. I would use the 1000 meters which is 3300 feet to be safe. EPA suggests 3 minutes. Don’t ask me what a “paper boiling water towel” is even predictive has it red underlined.

    The reason they don’t suggest my method of actually checking the temperature is that it involves an extra step and actually some care in what you are doing. A rolling boil doesn’t require the extra step of inserting the thermometer and accurately reading it. The EPA has to write these instructions for folks who aren’t bright enough to read a thermometer or who neglected to have one on hand.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Mark May 10, 19:35

    Looks like this has already been hit, but I’ll out it in anyhow, since I needed to figure out which computer and file it was in. (still organizing electronic and print files.) Hopefully, the tables will turn out.

    Water tx

    Granular calcium hypochlorite. The first step is to make a chlorine solution that you will use to disinfect your water. For your safety, do it in a ventilated area and wear eye protection. Add one heaping teaspoon (approximately ¼ ounce) of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (HTH) to two gallons of water and stir until the particles have dissolved. The mixture will produce a chlorine solution of approximately 500 milligrams per liter. To disinfect water, add one part of the chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water you are treating. This is about the same as adding 1 pint (16 ounces) of the chlorine solution to 12.5 gallons of water. If the chlorine taste is too strong, pour the water from one clean container to another and let it stand for a few hours before use. CAUTION: HTH is a very powerful oxidant. Follow the instructions on the label for safe handling and storage of this chemical.


    Slow sand filtration, on the other hand, removes microorganisms and, if properly
    operated, produces water which is safe to drink. Slow sand filters may be designed and
    built following relatively simple procedures, on a large scale and on a small scale. A filter
    adequate for processing 60 litres per hour may be made in a few hours with only a metal
    drum and simple tools and fittings, though the need for careful operation makes
    this generally unsuitable for household level in an emergency. The method works best
    in warm climates at low levels of turbidity. Two major disadvantages of slow sand filtra-
    tion is the relatively low yield for the size of the installation required, and the need for
    careful operation to ensure the top layer of sand with the trapped disease-causing organ-
    isms does not dry out. In addition, when there is a significant risk of water contamina-
    tion in the distribution system or in the household, the treated water should still be

    WHO endorses disinfection of drinking-water and in emergency situations drinking-
    water should be disinfected in all cases where population size and concentration, lack
    of sanitary facilities, or health information suggest a significant risk of water-borne
    disease. Disinfection should not be used as a substitute for protecting water sources from
    contamination. Water sources should always be protected to reduce the contamination
    of raw water and reduce the health risks associated with incomplete or unreliable disin-
    fection procedures.
    There are a number of different water disinfection methods used in stable situations,
    but the most common method in emergencies is chlorination. Important advantages of
    chlorine disinfection are that it is simple to dose and to measure, and that it leaves a
    residual disinfection capacity in the treated water, safeguarding against contamination
    in the home. This is particularly important when sanitation is inadequate. Chlorine gas
    is most commonly used in urban water-treatment works, but this requires careful storage
    and handling by well-trained staff, as well as dosing equipment. For emergency water-
    treatment installations, chlorine compounds in solid or liquid form are most often used,
    as these are simple to store and handle, and may be dosed using simple equipment, such
    as a spoon or bucket.
    The chlorine compound most commonly used for water disinfection in emergencies
    is calcium hypochlorite, in powder or granular form. One form of calcium hypochlorite
    that is frequently used is high-test hypochlorite (HTH). Calcium hypochlorite should
    be stored in dry, sealed corrosion-resistant containers in a cool, well-ventilated place to
    ensure that it retains its strength. All concentrated chlorine compounds, such as HTH
    and concentrated chlorine solutions, give off chlorine gas. This gas is poisonous and
    may burn the eyes and skin, and can start fires or explosions. All concentrated
    chlorine compounds should be handled with care by trained staff wearing protective
    Free residual chlorine levels of more than 0.3 mg/l for more than 30 minutes are
    required to kill bacteria and most viruses. Chlorination of stored water for direct con-
    sumption is best achieved using a 1% stock solution of chlorine made up according to
    the instructions given in Table 7.2. With this stock solution as base, water can be treated
    as described in Table 7.3. Minimum target concentrations for chlorine to point of deliv-
    ery are 0.2 mg/l in normal circumstances and 0.5 mg/l in high-risk circumstances.
    Chlorination is less effective in turbid water. If the raw water has a turbidity over
    20 NTUs, then some form of pretreatment should be carried out. Ideally the turbidity
    should be less than 5 NTUs.
    Contact time or free chlorine residual should be increased in water with a high pH


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  13. Paul May 10, 22:31

    I don’t know if I like the idea of bleach…Can’t it still be bad for you? I need more info.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 11, 01:14

      The argument against chlorine in the water I suspect goes back to the very first days that chlorine was introduced into municipal water systems. There is no question that cholera and typhoid fever are “bad” for you. E. coli is bad for you. schistosomiasis is bad for you. Sheep liver fluke is bad for you. The list goes on and on. Chlorine has been added to water since before I was born and I am 80, so folks have been ingesting chlorine for more than 80 years. I would think that by this time some kind of chlorine poisoning would have manifested itself. My city started adding ammonia to the chlorine in the 80s, so for more than 30 years I have been drinking chlorine AND ammonia. Still chugging along. I think the problems with not adding chlorine to the water so significantly outweigh any potential problems with chlorine as to make it a non-choice. If you drink water, coffee, brush your teeth, wash your dishes with water provided by either a commercial water company or a municipal water utility, you have been ingesting chlorine. I think the length of time that chlorine has been added to water proves its safety. Further, in the situation about which all this discussion has taken place, an END OF THE WORLD situation, there will be so many disease entities rampant that you will be thrilled to have chlorinated water. See my post above for what FEMA thinks the fatality rate will be. Do you want to be the 10% or do you want to die with body fluids running out of both ends. I had Salmonella poisoning once when I was younger and I lost 30 pounds in 5 days. I weighed 125 when I got sick and when they finally sent me to the hospital I checked in at 95 pounds and severely dehydrated. I won’t describe all the gory details, but it was not fun, take my word for it.

      Reply to this comment
      • Don July 15, 11:35

        Chuck. I worked for an electric company back in the early 70’s. We did lots of work at the Atlanta water works. I remember lots of little conveyors adding chemicals to the water. Most of all I remember hugh tanks of Chlorine and all the warning signs. You didn’t even go in the room with the tanks without special equipment.

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  14. TBird May 11, 01:49

    For those that dont want to mess with bleach, just use sunlight. It’s called the SODIS method. They use this in every 3rd world country you can name. All you need is clear plastic or glass bottles and some sunlight. Do a google search and you’ll find a ton of info. Enjoy!

    Reply to this comment
  15. left coast chuck May 12, 02:59

    This is what I mean by misinformation on the internet. The SODIS (Solar Disinfection) method of water purification is quite emphatic. Only bottles made of PET allow enough UV rays to penetrate to effectively make the water safe too drink. If you do nothing else, go to Wikipedia and read up about the method. There are some very specific guidelines and caveats about using this method of water purification. Be careful, Predictive keeps changing it to sodas water purification. You have to overwrite predictive. Please, Please, whatever method you chose as the means of providing safe drinking water for your family, research it. Make sure you know exactly what you are doing and the downsides to your method. The result of your failure to be very knowledgeable about your method of water purification will mean an early and miserable death for your family.

    Reply to this comment
  16. left coast chuck May 12, 20:21

    Lehmans.com has a home water testing kit for $40.00 if you want to have a means of doing a home test of water you might be ingesting. There is only one review. Someone bought it to do a preliminary test of the well (or spring, I don’t remember which) on some rural property they were buying. They thought it did what they wanted it for.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Longears May 16, 01:46

    Get a Sawyer water filter they come in all sizes and you don’t have to worry about all the bleach. I got tired of it and got the filter instead. It’s great. Don’t have to buy insides for it all the time also. Research them and see what I mean.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Longears May 16, 01:52

    Get a Sawyer water filter they come in all sizes and you don’t have to worry about all the bleach. I got tired of it and got the filter instead. It’s great. Don’t have to buy insides for it all the time also. Research them and see what I mean. This is not the same as already published. This is not sunlight.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Longears May 16, 01:54

    Get a Sawyer water filter they come in all sizes and you don’t have to worry about all the bleach. I got tired of it and got the filter instead. It’s great. Don’t have to buy insides for it all the time also. Research them and see what I mean. This is not the same as already published. This is not sunlight.Also this is not a water test. It is a filter. Who’s reading these comments anyway?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 17, 02:17

      I don’t know why it was necessary to post Longears’ comment three times. I went to the Sawyer web site. I thought what they didn’t say was quite interesting. No where that I could find did they talk about how much water their filter could process. They have a gallon size and they have a 4 liter size. No where in their description of those two products do they state how many gallons either of those filters will process before they have to be backwashed. I think that is an interesting omission. The next item is the fact that they say the items do have to be backwashed. This statement presupposes that you are going to use clean water to backwash the filter. If all the water around you is suspect, what are you going to use to backwash the Sawyer filter with? I still think that a great many people, including readers of this list just do not get it. In another post from Mr. Davis the article is things to do after an EMP/CME. There is a link to a Forbes magazine article in one of the posts to that original article. Click on the link and read the Forbes article. It is grim. If it doesn’t scare the bejeezus out of you, you just are not grasping the situation. As the Old Gunny said to the young marine about to go ashore at Iwo Jima, “Son, if you ain’t scared, you just don’t understand the situation.” While the Forbes article talks about the armed forces hardening their equipment, there is one area that it totally ignores: The military depends upon civilian suppliers for their electricity. Sure, they have emergency standby generating equipment but that equipment is for just that “emergency” use, meaning it is supposed to last until the civilian electricity kicks back on, in a week or two, perhaps a month at the most. When that doesn’t happen then the base is in exactly the same boat as all the civilians standing outside the wire looking in. Except for a few basis like USMCB Twenty-Nine Palms, they depend upon the civilians for water and sewer service. Guess what? When the San Diego sewer and water systems go down, The Navy base at San Diego and Miramar Naval Air Station are going to be without water and sewer also. I don’t know about other bases around the country. Some depend upon civilian furnished utilities and some are independent. They also depend upon fuel delivery from civilian refineries and distributing companies. When was the last time you saw a U.S. Army oil refinery? The nut job in North Korea had at least one rocket that was capable of delivering an EMP attack on the U.S. There is no reason to believe that they can’t whip up another one. It doesn’t have to be able to reach the U.S. from North Korea. You stick it on a nondescript freighter disguised to look like an ordinary container ship and when you are several hundred miles off the coast of the U.S,, coming up from the south where we have no missile defense system in place, you fire the rocket from the pseudo container ship to detonate 300 miles above Kansas. Boom! Lights out for the U.S. And it won’t be lights out for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, it will be lights out for years. In a flash, back to the existence of people in the 17th century in the U.S. but without the life skills and infrastructure that existed then. So while longears doesn’t want to be bothered with bleach and all that mess and has settled on the Sawyer filter to provide his water supply for the indeterminate period of time after the EMP, just what is he going to do when suddenly either his filter won’t filter any more because it is clogged or his family is down with the brown drizzlies because the water filter was so filled with protozoa that it just couldn’t filter any more? Your planning for clean water needs to be a long term, independent system that doesn’t rely on outside supplies. You have 250 pounds of calcium hypochlorite stored in your garage for TEOTW. What is the shelf life of that chemical stored in the environs in your garage. Does it get over 100°F in the summer in your garage? Does it drop below freezing or near freezing in your garage in the winter? Does the humidity fluctuate between 15% and 95%? How does that affect the shelf life? Do you know? From where are you going to collect the water to disinfect? How dirty is it likely to be? What preliminary filtering system are you going to use if the water is really mucky? If you are collecting from a river or lake, do you have any idea what is upstream that may be dumping chemicals in the water? Will the calcium hypochlorite remove those chemicals? As far as I know, it only kills living organisms. It doesn’t remove heavy metals and organo-phosphates. Some folks worried about chlorine in the water. I’d much rather have chlorine than Roundup or the heavy metal that killed all the ducks in the San Joaquin Valley. Have you arranged for a secondary filtering system to remove those chemicals after treating for living organisms? While you are busy mixing chemicals and filtering water, who will be collecting more water for you to treat and filter? By the way, while you are busily engaged in that endeavor what about food? What about possible defense against folks who decide it is a lot less work to just take the water you are preparing? I did mean to stick the stick in the hornet’s nest.

      Reply to this comment
      • Izzy July 15, 00:25

        Left coast duck; Thank you for all the time you have taken to post valuable information. I really appreciate it. It will definitely go in my files.

        Reply to this comment
  20. left coast chuck May 17, 02:28

    Some heavy metals to consider: Arsenic†,Bismuth,Cadmium,Hafnium,Manganese,Mercury,Protactinium,RadioactiveRhenium, Selenium†,Tellurium†
    Thallium,Thorium,Radioactive Vanadium,Zirconium. It was selenium that killed off the ducks. The selenium was naturally occurring in the soil, but irrigation concentrated it so much in runoff from the fields that when it got into the wetlands in the San Joaquin Valley, it killed the ducks that used that flyway or they had grossly deformed ducklings that didn’t survive. Couldn’t remember which heavy metal it was until I saw the name. While I am familiar with some of the names in this list some are completely unknown to me such as protactinium and rhenium and I always though zirconium was a cheap diamond. I am going to have to research those three.

    Reply to this comment
    • NWestD May 18, 20:27

      Hi left coast chuck, I have found all your posts so interesting. I agree with you regarding boiling and filtering through activated charcoal. Great advice! Do you know if that filters this radiation contamination of our waters from the Japan earthquake nukular meltdown? It’s still(2017) continuously spilling.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 19, 22:27

        Thanks for the kind words, NWestD. No, I don’t know if it will remove residual radioactivity. I doubt it. My personal belief is that the danger from the radioactive residue may be more hysterical than factual. Due to the earth’s rotation, stuff in the atmosphere spreads from west to east. The Left Coast has radioactive elements from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. If you fly regularly across country or internationally, you get more radiation from being above 30,000 feet than I suspect you get from drinking a gallon of ocean water lapping up on Malibu beach. Flight personnel are exposed to way more radiation than non flight personnel. People in this country are all paranoid about radon in their homes. In Japan I stayed at a hotel called — you guessed it — The Radon Hotel. The family who owned the hotel, and who had owned it since well before WWII, all looked normal. The grandmother who was still active in the affairs of the hotel was in her late 70s and if she exhibited symptoms of radon poisoning, she hid them well. The hot springs the hotel had some radon in it, I don’t remember the amount now because I stayed there 16 years ago. It was famous in Japan for its curative powers. Go figure. As you can well imagine, the Japanese are far more paranoid about radioactivity due to their WWII experience than folks in the U.S. if that is possible. My last visit was before the Fukushima meltdown, so my only knowledge of the feelings of Joe Average Japanese is from NHK television, but that is the Japanese version of the BBC, so I know it is heavily censored in what it can carry. They have had extensive coverage of the problems caused by that meltdown. The officials in charge have skated on criminal prosecution. Japan has very strict laws on professional negligence and I feel that they should have been prosecuted under those laws, but nobody in the Japanese Procurator’s Office solicited my opinion on the subject. Life after an EOTW situation is going to be so dangerous that worrying about the effects of residual radiation from Fukushima or Three Mile Island or Chernobyl are meaningless. In an EOTW situation, fires will rage unchecked. Soot and chemical residue from building material and chemicals stored in the building will pollute the water you drink and the soil any food grows in far more than radioactive residue. Think of all the chemicals you have stored in your home. Not just pesticide, ant killer, perhaps roach killer, but fertilizer for your roses, fertilizer for your lawn, furniture polish, paint thinner, partial cans of paint, maybe some automotive antifreeze, synthetic motor oil, nail polish, nail polish remover, for some, chemicals for making meth and other proscribed substances, etc. etc. etc. Now, when the house or warehouse or paint store or tire store goes up in flames, all those chemicals burn and release their components into the air. What goes up must come down eventually. Some guy named Newton thought up that law. When it comes down it goes into surface water and lies on the ground until washed away by rain (even in Kallyforniya it sometimes rains and washes stuff into the ocean) For years after an EOTW situation every water source will be polluted with all kinds of heavy metals and other nifty chemicals so a little glow in the dark stuff from Fukushima? I think it’s no big deal. I’m more worried about stuff right here in River City that has a chemical formula with 89 letters and numbers in it than I am trace amounts of radioactivity from Japan. I know that doesn’t answer your question but I hope it gives you some perspective on it.

        Reply to this comment
        • joanofark06 May 24, 22:13

          You should sign up for this website’s newsletter, it keeps you updated on the Fukushima radiation spill, and all kinds of details about it…it’s mindblowing, as well as scary….www.ENENews.com.
          Left Coast Chuck, your comments are informative, as well as humorous, LOL…your somethin’ else, I tell ya! This is my first time seeing this website. I came to it, through another website I’ve been subscribed to forever…naturalnews.com. Mike Adams is an owner of it, and he’s something else too…but he is a genius, very talented, and funny guy. I still love the blueberry skit on youtube…silly but still funny! You gotta see it!
          Anyway, I’m a 55 year young lady, who has been prepping for years, and I never stop looking (or learning) for survival, and prepping sites, and you made me want to stay with this site! (Lord knows, I have a ton, already!) Another website I love to learn from, and they have a great radio show almost every night, where you can chat, and ask questions, at the same time, and they will answer you personally, right on the show…and that is prepperbroadcasting.com. Everyone should check that one out, its also a great site!
          But, anyway, I’m for the saying “your never to old to learn”, and you’ve taught me much, with all your comments, and your humor. Just wanted to say thanks, and as a newbie here, I’m hope to stick around awhile, and learn many new things about prepping, and survival! Thanks again….I’m joanofark06 if you see me around here again!
          By the way, you MUST have a website, right??

          Reply to this comment
  21. left coast chuck May 26, 03:01

    Thanks for the compliment. No, I don’t have a website. I just hang out here and a couple others. Many require one to sign up and I refuse to “sign up”, so don’t post anything on those sites. I’m not on Facebook or Linkedin or any other places like that. I am not Donnie Trump. I don’t twitter. I wish him all the success in trying to straighten out the country but I wish one of his aides would hide his damned phone. As long as Mr. Davis doesn’t start requiring posters to this list to “register” with some site or other, I will continue to post if I think I have something cogent to add. Feel free to disagree if you think it isn’t cogent. I haven’t lived this long without being told I was dumb, stupid or just plain crazy, so I’m used to it — sort of.

    Reply to this comment
    • Older prepper July 14, 21:39

      Left coast chuck. I like my president tweeting as that is the ONLY way he can get out the truth. Left, lying media will not tell us any truth. I WANT MY PRESIDENT TO TWEET. ♥ Why would that bother you, anyway? Let the man be himself, like we all want to be. See? without his tweeting, none of us would know any real news.

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  22. education June 1, 11:21

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  23. good investment advice June 2, 05:18

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  24. Lewis July 14, 14:52

    I feel so strongly about having hard copies of high value information during a however-long power outage that I read through this complete thread to see if the duplex printing issue was addressed. If it was, I didn’t find it. Duplex printing is when your printer has the ability to print on both the front and back side of a piece of paper. The enormous importance of that is that you can cut the amount of paper you have to either store, or carry, IN HALF.

    Now, if there was only a DIY way to create micro-fiche versions of your books and documents, which I haven’t found, that could even be better.

    Reply to this comment
  25. BBec July 14, 16:50

    The boiling point of water decreases 1 degree Fahrenheit for each 500 ft of altitude. At 10,000 ft, water boils at 192 degrees F. which is still much higher than the minimum pasteurization temperature of 161 degrees F. (which, incidentally, is the boiling point of water at 25,000 ft). Also, I was surprised to learn that pasteurization only requires that the temperature of 161 degrees be maintained for 15 seconds, so it is unclear why some are recommending increasing the boiling time at higher altitudes in order to kill the bacteria, parasites and viruses. Perhaps they are confusing it with the increased time it takes to cook food items because it takes longer to bring them up to the temperature at which they are “done” (which happens more rapidly when the water the food is in is at 212 degrees instead of around 190 degrees).

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck July 14, 19:40

      BBec: Thanks for your informative post. The reason for more time and/or higher temperature is more for safety. Just as FEMA recommends a roiling boil which is un-necessary, I recommend a higher temperature just in case your thermometer is inaccurate. If you have a laboratory grade thermometer and have a way of calibrating it, that is great. If you have a cooking thermometer that you bought at Bed, Bath etc., you can only guess if it is accurate and how long it will maintain its accuracy. People buy rulers at Walmart for 49¢ made in China. They aren’t accurate. Sure, they are close enough and if you are using it to replicate a measurement, it’s fine. If you want a precision instrument such a machinists used to use in machining parts, you will pay a lot more for the ruler. If you are heating to 161°F for 15 seconds and that is the minimum you need, then you need accurate instruments to insure that you have met the minimum. In my printing company our accuracy was ± 1mm. That is approximately 1/25 of an inch. !/16 was not accurate enough and 1/32 was too difficult to achieve with our equipment, so I settled on ±1mm. In an ETOW situation, you won’t have the luxury of such fine measurements, so you err on the side of safety.

      As to why FEMA recommends boiling longer above 1,000 meters, I can’t answer the question. I don’t know from whence you derived your figures that you list. I suppose if I knew enough math I could check them myself. Assuming that your figures are correct, then FEMA is wrong. Remember, however, they are writing for the entire country including folks who don’t read and can’t do math. So perhaps that is the basis for their figures. I don’t know. It would be helpful to know the source of your figures.

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  26. OLDCHAP3 July 17, 02:09


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