Is it Safe to Drink Old Stored Water?

Taylor Roatch
By Taylor Roatch December 26, 2017 08:25

Is it Safe to Drink Old Stored Water?

What happens when you’ve put back enough water to get your family through an emergency and it sits for a while? Is it still safe to drink that old, stored water? Will you be able to trust that your stored water won’t do harm to your family if you need to use it? Let’s explore.

A Multi-Faceted Question

The first thing you should know is that it’s absolutely feasible for your water storage to become contaminated, even if it hasn’t been opened or used in any way.

There are a lot of factors that could determine whether your old water storage is safe to use. You’ll have to take into account several variables based on your water storage situation, and ultimately, the only way to determine for sure whether your old water storage is safe is by testing it or purifying it again.

Here are some factors that may have an impact on the water’s safety:

  1. What it’s stored in – If you purchase sealed, store-bought water bottles, they’re likely to remain uncontaminated longer than if you are filling you own water storage containers. Containers intended for water storage that have the seals intact are more likely to keep your water tasting fresh than other food-grade containers, containers with defective seals, or re-used containers.
  2. Temperature where it’s stored – Warm temperatures can encourage bacterial growth, so water stored in warmer areas of your home are likely to develop unsafe levels of bacteria sooner than water stored in cooler parts of your home. Aim to store your water at temperatures below 65 degrees F.
  3. Exposure to light where it’s stored – Light can also lead to excessive microbial growth. Keep your water in the dark for best results.
  4. How the water was purified before storage – While most bottled water is really just tap water, it has undergone additional filtration that takes care of any bacteria lingering in the tap water. Beverage companies do this to create a uniform taste and a clean product. When you store your own water, your method of purification can make a big difference in whether it holds up against the test of time.

Ensuring Safety

The best way to guarantee that your water storage is safe is to buy commercially bottled water. This water is required by law to be free of dangerous contaminants, and it should stay that way so long as the seal remains intact. However, even commercially bottled water may, after a time, take on a flavor from the area where it’s stored, but it should still be good to drink.

If you’re using food-grade blue number 2 plastic water bottles that are intended to store water, you can help ensure that your water stays good by making sure the container is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized inside and out. Also, make sure that the bottles seal properly. You can test the seal by turning a full bottle on its side and waiting a few days to watch for leaks. Fill at refill stations found in your local supermarket or filter or boil tap water thoroughly to ensure the water is free from contaminants.

Related: Debunking Expiration Dates: What You Need to Know

Generally speaking, other storage methods, like old jars or milk cartons, are not a safe way to store water long-term. Avoid using these containers to help ensure your water’s safety.

Testing Water for Safety

You can purchase water quality testing kits if you’re wondering about the safety of your stored water. These range in price from a few dollars to over a hundred dollars. These tests may involve test strips, adding water to prepared petri dishes and waiting to grow bacteria, or color-changing mediums that detect bacteria.

Other Tips for Storing Water Longer

One of the best ways to make sure your water storage stays good is to rotate it frequently. It’s recommended that you rotate every six months, but you can count on it to be safe for significantly longer than that. It will help you to rotate appropriately if you label each container with the date it was filled.

Keep your water in a dark, cool area of your home. Avoid storing water near chemicals or other potential contaminants. Rotate water that is kept in less than ideal areas more frequently to help ensure freshness.

Related: Disinfect Huge Amounts Of Water With This Common Household Item

If you choose to fill bottles up at home, make sure you use a food-safe hose to get the water into the containers. Garden hoses frequently contain lead and lots of contaminants. A water preserver concentrate may be used to help your stored water retain its flavor. You can also add 8 drops of household bleach to each gallon of water to keep water fresh longer.

Keep containers off cement floors if you’re storing in the basement or garage. Put them up on pallets or other shelving, or simply place cardboard between your water storage and the floor.

It might behoove you to keep water purification drops on hand if there are any questions about the safety of your water storage method. This will prevent any desperate use of potentially contaminated water in an emergency situation.

Using Stored Water

If your water storage is safe but still doesn’t taste great, you may be able to improve the flavor by oxygenating the water. Simply pour the water back and forth between two containers to help introduce oxygen back into it.

So long as water has been stored properly and was clean to begin with, your stored water should stay good for several years. If you have any questions about the safety of your water storage plan, consider a test kit now before you need it just to make sure.

You may also like:

how to build an easy cellar_bunkerHow To Make Your Own Solar Water Heater

10 Things Cowboys Carried with Them in the Wild West to Survive (video)

This Common Household Cleaner Has Over 50 Survival Uses

11 Survival Tricks Learned from Homeless People

10 Trees Every Survivalist Should Know and Why

Taylor Roatch
By Taylor Roatch December 26, 2017 08:25
Write a comment


  1. R J December 26, 14:27

    I have a blue 15 gallon water barrel . I filled it with spring water about 18 months ago . I also added drops of aquamira water treatment part a and b in the recommended amounts . The barrel was stored in my bedroom where this is no sun at all due to the Sun enters on the other side of the house . Any suggestions ?

    Reply to this comment
  2. Linda December 26, 15:39

    Filter the water with some type of filtration system.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Crsully December 26, 16:25

    If you have an Alexapure water filter, can you pour questionable water through it and feel safe?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 27, 00:57

      A water filter is NOT a water purifier. Do not rely on water filters to purify water. Their ad copy makes it sound like they actually purify water but there is a significant difference between the two.

      Reply to this comment
  4. SHORTROUND December 26, 16:32


    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 27, 01:07

      You might want to check the type of plastic in your juice bottles. I have copied the below from another source. I can’t vouch for its complete accuracy.

      “1 = Poly(ethylene terephthalate): Soda bottles, water bottles, vinegar bottles, medicine containers, backing for photography film.
      2 = High-density Polyethylene: Containers for: laundry/dish detergent, fabric softeners, bleach, milk, shampoo, conditioner, motor oil. Newer bullet proof vests, various toys.
      3 = Poly(vinyl cloride): Pipes, shower curtains, meat wraps, cooking oil bottles, baby bottle nipples, shrink wrap, clear medical tubing, vinyl dashboards and seat covers, coffee containers.
      4 = Low-density Polyethylene: Wrapping films, grocery bags, sandwich bags.
      5 = Polypropylene: Tupperware®, syrup bottles, yogurt tubs, diapers, outdoor carpet.
      6 = Polystyrene: Coffee cups, disposable cutlery and cups (clear and colored), bakery shells, meat trays, “cheap” hubcaps, packing peanuts, styrofoam insulation.
      7 = The hotdog of plastics! Products labeled as “other” are made of any combination of 1-6 or another, less commonly used plastic.”

      I have noticed some bottles made of PET 7 which I have seen from other sources is sort of junk plastic, including recycled.

      There is a reason why the folks who recommend the solar method of water purification also recommend one and two liter soda bottles for the solar purification process. By the way, if you look it up, it is SOLA, not solar. Predictive will keep changing it to “solar.”

      Reply to this comment
  5. left coast chuck December 26, 16:47

    If you have a concern about the safety of your stored water, the absolutely safest way to ensure that your water is safe to drink is to heat it to a roiling boil. It isn’t necessary to boil the water for ten minutes as some “authorities” recommend. If the water is at a roiling boil, it has been over 165 degrees for sufficiently long and will remain over 165 degrees for an additional period of time to destroy any bacteria and other pathogens that may inhabit the water. If you lift the lid when it reaches a roiling boil and allow it to cool without the lid, any latent hydrocarbons will escape in the vapor. The only thing that may still remain in the water is heavy metals. These can be removed with any carbon filter if that is a concern. Removing the lid assumes that the air is not filled with ash, blowing dust, radiation fallout or smoke. If those are present, some hydrocarbons in the water are the least of your problems in the short term.

    Boiling is the surest way to sterilize water, All other methods depend on the efficacy of the product you are using. Household bleach loses its strength over a period of time, Without some way of testing its strength, you don’t know if it is sufficiently active to achieve your goal. Iodine and other chemicals used to treat water also have a shelf life. Shelf life, as pointed out in the article depends too much on storage conditions. How many of us have a storage area where we can control temperature, light and humidity?

    Mechanical filters, no matter how expensive or efficient their manufacturer claims become clogged with contaminants and infected with dangerous pathogens.

    While our forefathers sometimes used silver to treat water, I would suggest that during that era, the water had not been contaminated with the large numbers of contaminants that exist today. Vast herds of domestic animals necessary for us to have our meats at a cost that is affordable did not exist. Chemicals that are common today did not exist. Aquifers had not been drawn down by intense irrigation. Chemical based fertilizers were not available to pollute the land and water. When I was a boy we drank untreated water freely from streams. Wouldn’t dare do that today.

    And one final factor often overlooked, our forefathers immune system was more robust than ours due to their drinking of untreated water. Chlorinated water is a 20th century phenomenon. The Amish children who get their water from wells are reputed to have more immunities than city raised children of a similar age. Whether there is any validity to that rumor has not been subjected to a rigorous peer-reviewed study.

    The surest, most reliable, long term way to ensure water safety is boiling over a wood fire. Boiling is sure. Wood fires are a renewable source. No manufactured fuel needed.

    In the recent fires that swept through SoCal, the electricity went out. I had a pot of cold coffee and I wanted to have a cup of hot coffee. I got out the Sterno cans that I had put away for such an occasion. I got out our old fondue pot and fire ring for the fondue pot. Oops. Turns out there are two sizes of Sterno cans and I had purchased the large size because per ounce of fuel they were cheaper. The large size would not fit in the fire ring. They were too big. I had failed to check that little detail. They fit in the holder all right, but they were too tall and would not sustain a flame when the pot was placed on the holder. The top of the can was too close to the bottom of the pot.

    I got my one pound coffee can hobo stove out of the garage. The can fit perfectly in the hobo stove and in a surprisingly short time I had hot coffee. Two lessons learned. First: check all systems before the need to use arises. Second: Have a back up system in case the first system doesn’t work. The hobo stove will also burn virtually any flammable material, so it has a backup to the Sterno can. Once the stereo can is empty, it can be used to hold any flammable liquid with a cotton ball inside. I would strongly recommend low volatility fuels. White gas or even regular motor fuel is too volatile to use as a fuel. Lamp oil, K-1 kerosene, vegetable oil, or K-2 kerosene will all work. K-1 kerosene contains more BTUs per unit than lamp oil. Lamp oil burns a little cleaner than K-1. K-2 kerosene contains more BTUs per unit than K-1 but smells so strongly of kerosene that you really want to use it outdoors. Vegetable oil can be used indoors but it is smokey. Wood should always be used outdoors unless you are using a properly vented wood stove. Otherwise way too much smoke and CO.

    Reply to this comment
    • Lucy December 27, 01:31

      Thanks for this power-packed response, left coast chuck! I especially appreciate your “Oops” comment about the too-large Sterno can incident. It’s really tricky to anticipate every single thing that we could overlook. Maybe it was a bit of a silver lining in the cloud of the SoCal fire, for you to learn that bit of insight in a less than dire situation. Like an experiment in trying out what it would be like to live on just one’s food storage — and overlooking what to do for toilet facilities…

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck December 27, 03:55

        Thanks for the kind words, Lucy. Yes, it was an aha moment. I had a dozen cans all nicely stored away to use with the fondue pot and holder. Dang! Now I have a dozen of each size. I’m glad I found out when it was only a cup of hot coffee rather than a more serious event when having that fire would have been life saving.

        Reply to this comment
  6. Stan December 26, 19:11

    Who cares if it is safe to drink? In any instance of NEED water isn’t an option. Going without water will result in death 100% of the time…

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 27, 04:15

      In 1957 I contracted what was then called paratyphoid fever. Later, when the pathogen had been more clearly identified it was changed to a salmonella infection. Let me tell you from first hand experience. It is a debilitating infection. I went from 125 pound to 95 pounds in less than ten days and it took a week’s hospitalization on antibiotics before it left me. After I ate I could feel the food racing through my intestinal tract. Many times I barely made it to the head which was a separate building before I was in extremis with regard to whether I would be in position in time or not. I was going through the standard B&P (bismuth and paregoric) treatment, a 4 ounce bottle in an eight hour period with no effect. Finally when I was severely dehydrated the chief corpsman decided that I probably should go to the Army hospital. We had to stop twice in the 20 mile ride so I could dash into an open bar for relief. I didn’t die, so I can’t say which is worse, dying of plain old dehydration or dying of dehydration due to loss of bodily fluids from a body orifice. But from this side of the grave, I think I would take just plain old dehydrations. The other kind is a real pain you know where. In Korea many GIs drank rice paddy water with the same results I had only they died. I think they regretted drinking that water in the end. If there is any way at all to boil the water, it should be done. At an absolute minimum water can be sterilized by sitting in the sun in a clear bottle for a day if the sun is strong. Even if the sun is weak, it will kill some of the pathogens. I am not a water engineer or pathologist or anything scientifically related to water treatment, but I have read a lot about water purification and water related diseases and have actually experienced first hand gastrointestinal infection.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Bertski December 26, 19:14

    No one mentioned using iodine or having a still, simply where a compression fitting is put into the lid of day a stainless pot and copper tuning ran from it.
    Then there’s solar stills.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 27, 04:24

      Solar treatment is very limited. They recommend 1 liter bottles. The water needs to be clear and the day needs to be cloudless. If you want to look it up on line, look up SOLA water treatment. Predictive will keep forcing solar, so you have to make sure you actually get SOLA. It is used extensively in Africa where clean water is rare. Again, there are so many variables with SOLA that I really think it should not be relied on for your primary source.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Dak Kol December 26, 19:23

    OZONE bubbler – water can be stored a very long time if:
    1) carbon or reverse osmosis filtered
    2) OZONATED – bubble infused with ozone

    Ozone kills bacteria, some virus and breaks down chemicals.

    Also try dosing with Hydrogen Peroxide periodically (H2O2).

    Reply to this comment
  9. Papa Smurf December 27, 01:16

    What about keeping water frozen in the bottom of the deep freeze after filtration?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 27, 04:20

      That should certainly keep the water in condition to drink straight from the bottle when it thaws. In fact, I fill my freezer empty spaces with 2-liter bottles from seltzer water which I like to drink in the summer time. That serves a couple of functions. It makes the freezer more efficient if there are no empty spaces and it creates ice which will keep the freezer cold longer if there is a power failure. Thirdly, in the event of some catastrophic event, it will provide potable water to drink without further treatment. As an additional safeguard, I purchase heat distilled water from a water store here in town. It costs 48¢ a gallon for distilled if bought in bulk. Using distilled water is an additional safeguard ensuring longevity of the contents.

      Reply to this comment
  10. JoEllen December 27, 07:42

    How does storing distilled water mediate concerns of contamination in the stored containers of water?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 28, 04:34

      JoEllen: Please see my post below. Distilling removes minerals, pathogens, organophosphates, heavy metals and plant material. Distilled water is sa clean as you can make it. Now you can contaminate it if you don’t exercise care in handling and bottling it. See below for handling suggestions.

      Because the water starts out in a pure state, stored in a cool dark place with a lid that effectively seals the container eliminates many of the concerns with storing water. Can the water somehow become contaminated? Certainly. If there was a lapse in the sterility in the chain from the distiller to the storage vessel, that can degrade the cleanliness of the stored water. Although I take precautions when I bottle the distilled water, ultimately, when I use it, I will once again boil it to destroy any pathogens that may have developed due to my poor handling technique. However, I won’t have to worry about long strands of moss in the water, heavy metals, organophosphates or hydrocarbons found in so much of our water these days. The distillation will have removed them and without absolutely gross contamination of the water from some outside source, those contaminants will not exist in my water.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Big Al December 27, 15:46

    I have a water distiller. It distilles 5 gal of water per 3hr. I’ve never stored water yet but plan to. I would think this would eliminate any kind of contaminates, making storage long term in the proper container.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Big Al December 27, 15:52

    What makes stored water go bad? I understood it to be contamination in the stored water. Eliminate the contaminates and the water shouldn’t go bad. Am I thinking wrong or am I messed up? As I said, I have no knowledge of water storage.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 28, 04:25

      Unseen pathogens in the water make it go bad. If you store your water as described above and it is distilled, your shelf life should be for your lifetime. The big problem is everything has to be sterile. Distilling makes the water sterile. The next step is sterilizing your container. You can boil it if it is heat resistant., Can’t do that if it is plastic. Everything the water touches has to be sterile. If you use a funnel to put the water in the container, the funnel has to be sterile. It needs to be put on a sterile spot when you are not using it. The inside of the lid of the water container has to be sterile. Finally, the lid has to be air tight so outside contaminates cannot enter the container. The outside of the spout of the distiller should be sterile too as any contamination any where along the line can lead to the introduction of pathogens in the water.

      Water straight from the faucet is not sterile. It has all kinds of living goodies in it. It may, like the water in our city system, contain mud and moss. It is potable, but certainly far from sterile. Left in a container over a period of time, it will allow more moss to grow and the pathogens that were harmless in the quantity when the water was introduced into the container will grow on nutrients in the water until they reach dangerous levels. Most preppers don’t go to the trouble and expense of storing distilled water and so their water needs to be treated or rotated in order to ensure cleanliness.

      Reply to this comment
  13. JoEllen December 28, 05:46

    I read an article on canning water from Utah State University Extension Office. Anyone have experience doing this? How practical do you think this is for storage?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 29, 00:06

      Assuming that you are canning tap water or well water, the water may well contain material other than just pathogens. In a closed system such as pressure cooking water, those contaminants will still remain inside the jar. Distilled water eliminates those extra goodies in your water. Although the system of getting commercially distilled water does not meet the requirements of medically distilled water, it is as close to absolutely pure water as you are going to get in this world.

      You may read that distilled water, because it doesn’t contain any extra “nutrients” is bad for your health. From material I have read, that is an urban legend. People who are better qualified than I to comment have offered evidence that our bodies, unlike plants, do not get life sustaining elements from our water but from our food. That makes a certain sense to me. Except for a very small number of plants that capture and dissolve insects, plants get the nutrients they need from the ground water they draw up from their roots. Ground water = lots of good stuff for plants; lots of bad stuff for humans.

      Canning water seems to me to be a lot of effort for an inferior product. You could achieve the same result by just storing tap water and boiling it as needed. It would at least meet the minimum Federal standards and boiling would eliminate any lurking bodies. By the way, the minimum Federal standards for drinking water are pretty darned minimum. They could be higher but local water companies and public entities that provide drinking water vigorously fight higher standards. We are talking about full court press lobbying.

      Reply to this comment
  14. Big AL December 29, 03:56

    left coast chuck, thanks for calling me out on the rate of distillation. I’m and old man and was just excited about bloging for the first time and took a guess. I had to go to the basement to take a look at what I actually had. I was way off. The unit is a PURE WATER Model A-12 distiller. 12 gallons a day or .5 gal per hour. Runs on electricity so it does cost to use. It was still cheaper than buying bottled water all the time and lugging it home. I knew about sterilizing the containers but never thought about the small things that you mentioned to transport the water from the distiller to the storage container. So thanks for that.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 29, 17:52

      Al: I wasn’t calling you out at all. I too have the small electric water distiller. I want to upgrade and 5 gallons in 3 hours would be great. I wanted to investigate buying one. I am confident that it is possible given something that will hold that amount of water and having a heat source that will generate enough heat to distill that amount.

      Some parts of the county have much cheaper electricity than SoCal. That’s why I calculated the cost of running my electric distiller viz a viz buying distilled water at the water store. They make their own water there in the store. They use reverse osmosis for the economy water and a huge electric distiller for their more expensive distiller. Their distilled water costs 48¢ a gallon when pre-bought 100 gallons at a time. That works out to about the same cost as my electric distiller, so I buy their distilled water. I was surprised to learn that they used electricity. The woman who worked there told me how hot they heat the water but I don’t remember the precise temperature. it is just a few degrees over 212. They had an older model that heated the water several more degrees above the new one but stopped using it because distilling 7,000 gallons of distilled water a day, just a few degrees difference in heat made a big difference in the amount of electricity and cost of the distilled water. Had a very interesting talk with her about the process. When I buy the distilled water it is warm as it comes from the faucet. We use it as drinking and cooking water at home and, of course, for storage. Thanks for the reply and welcome to this site. I find it one of the most valuable of the many sites I visit. The people who reply on this list have tons of good advice and for the most part it is pretty free of trolls.

      Reply to this comment
  15. Susan December 30, 21:37

    What about using the water heater as a storage device? It seems to me that we have 40 gallons standing in the corner at all times.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 31, 18:42

      @Susan: Yes, your hot water heater is a great source of
      water in an emergency situation. Make sure you know how to turn off the gas to it before using it. Also, if there is a problem with contamination of the water coming into your house, then the water in the hot water tank would need to be treated too. Folks who put in those hot water on demand systems don’t realize that they are eliminating a significant source of water storage in their homes. If you have the room for it, when replacing a hot water heater, I recommend putting in a larger tank. The difference in cost is minimal and it gives you that much more water reserve. Unfortunately, here in the green PDRK, a 40 gallon hot water heater now only holds 38 gallons of water due to green requirements. I wanted a 48 gallon but just couldn’t squeeze it into the space I had without incurring more cost to modify the space. The cost wasn’t justified by the extra ten gallons of storage.

      Good question. I plan on using the 38 gallons in the tank as part of my survival water.

      Reply to this comment
    • Matt October 2, 01:30

      What about the water accumulation generated by an electric dehumidifier? Such units are commonly utilized in many residential basements. Except for the drier winter months, many will easily generate a few gallons of water each day.

      Reply to this comment
      • Bob Vines August 13, 19:29

        Matt, I think you’ll still need to treat the water. Too much “stuff” grows inside my dehumidifier to safely drink the water. I have to periodically disassemble the unit & scrub it out & use Clorox to kill the stuff growing inside. The water runs through whatever grows in there before exiting the unit.

        Reply to this comment
  16. Enigma January 7, 12:12

    Issue with distilled water arises only when it’s ingested without any other fluids, as those from veggies and fruit. ‘Lack of trace minerals’ problem could arise in a desert or Antarctica, but unlikely elsewhere.

    Water storage and contamination is a recurring issue for experienced ocean sailors. Other countries not so careful about cleanliness and source protection. So they may advise for your particular case.

    First step (for any but factory-distilled water in original sealed containers) is to filter water to exclude larger particles, amoeba, etc. A home-made multistage gravity filter may be made using layers of sand and stones, with then a separate finishing filter filled with hardwood charcoal. (Periodically passing boiling-hot water, or H2O2, through such natural filters kills fora and fauna.)

    After water exits charcoal filter, it should be boiled and immediately poured still hot into final containers. Adding an iodine tablet to each container has multiple benefits, except water will taste odd.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 7, 21:40

      Long term iodine use is generally not recommended. I can’t enumerate why at this moment. It is especially not recommended for pregnant women and women who are planning (or not but accidentally) on becoming pregnant. I don’t know what it is about the iodine tabs as we need a small amount of iodine in our diet otherwise we get goiter. Perhaps as purifying tablets in drinking water it is too much of a good thing.

      Speaking of becoming pregnant, for preppers who are in the age group where that is a possibility, it should be considered and prepared for. Or in the alternative, avoiding that condition should be prepared for. Inasmuch as that has not been a concern for my wife and me for about 25 years, my information on the topic is considerably dated and so I will leave the topic at that.

      Reply to this comment
      • dillet November 6, 06:08

        I got pregnant (intentionally) in the middle of a 23-day backpacking trip and we were using iodine tabs to purify our water. Several weeks later I miscarried. My doctor said the iodine had nothing to do with it, but I don’t think anyone really knew, back then. Does anyone know now?

        Reply to this comment
        • Graywolf12 November 6, 19:27

          I googled “can the use of iodine tablets used to purify drinking water”. It seems the medical field agrees that not exceeding 1100mcg per day is not harmful. In pregnancy it is possibly unsafe in high doses. High doses are expressed in mg, so you would have had to take bottles full of the tabs to get anywhere close to those levels. The people in Northern Japan are reported to be taking massive doses due to nuclear plant disaster with no harmful effects.

          Reply to this comment
      • dillet November 6, 07:01

        I became pregnant, intentionally, in the middle of a 23-day backpacking trip and we were using iodine tablets to purify our water. Several weeks later I miscarried, and the doctor said the iodine was not to blame, but way back then I wonder if anyone really knew.

        Reply to this comment
    • bilious56 May 16, 17:20

      Coffee made with iodine treated water tastes horrible. I found out the hard way on a “survival” hike with my boy scout troop years ago. Just filter, boil, & throw in the grounds, stir & let settle. I think this used to be called “HOBO” coffee. Properly used iodine will work;
      but do your research concerning health conditions, strength, & amount consumed over time.

      Reply to this comment
  17. Enigma January 10, 16:25

    I’m serving the thesis that persons storing their own water will do so in large containers, 5-gal or larger. For an enduring crisis, iodized salt eventually may become unavailable. Iodine thus better than chlorine bleach. Bright white shirts excess to requirements.

    Substantial metallic salts of _any_ kind in water or food disrecommended; best water has passed through much limestone. (Also best for making beer.)

    Reproduction, whether planned or surprise, necessary for rebuilding a society. Raises of course a host of issues. What nobody needs are new pregnancies during a crisis and its immediate aftermath.

    Best to stock up on birth-control pills and prophylactics when any females between ages 5 to 56 are in family/clan/tribe/group. (Amazing how quickly the years fly for young females. Turn, turn, turn around, and suddenly they’re wiggling their assets as the males…) Hormonal pills also have therapeutic uses. Supply should be used from eldest-container with new ones added to feedstock. (Rather like preserved foods.)

    Pills of any kind, if kept cool/frozen, may be effective for some years, but eventually lose utility. Sealed prophylactics endure longer, but will begin failing too after some years.

    Re procreative-style sex in general, why survive at all if none ever on offer? Curiosity, so as to see what governmental bandits may do next?

    Reply to this comment
  18. Graywolf12 May 18, 14:06

    No one mentioned the “Berkey” filtration system. Look them up as the filters are quite efficient.

    Reply to this comment
  19. mvikes2006 October 1, 17:53

    Just for comparison and or alternative purposes. When I finish a bottle of Coke or 7 UP I rinse it out real good in hot water and let it dry in my dish strainer for a day or 2. Then I rinse it out again in cold water. I fill it from the tap (that is equipped with a PUR Brand Filter) and put it in the fridge. I have about 8 of them stored on the door shelves (not for SHTF purpose, just for drinking) I have
    let them sit for a long as a year before drinking them. Have been doing it for 5 or 6 years now. Just do not want to pay the price for bottled water which is high and essentially TAP water. Have never had a problem with taste or contamination. Never been sick nor had stomach/intestinal problems from doing it that way. Make sure the cap is tight. If tightened properly and has a good seal the bottle will suck in slightly on 1 or 2 sides. Very refreshing, even after a year or more. I live in Northern Nevada where the water supply has a number of contaminates left over from mining.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Silverbullet October 1, 20:43

    250 gallon food grade fiberglass tank. Well water was filtered to 5 microns. Manwell in the top allowed for cleaning and sanitizing with clorox. BUT most important you can purchase online UV tubes made to be immersed. Have them on a timer to come on at intervals. They are not effective unless the water is clear. This is the absolute best way to assure your water is safe to drink no matter how long it is stored.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Frank A October 2, 00:03

    Has anyone consider making their own pure water in the event of an earthquake or other emergencies that may disrupt municipal delivery or contamination of water supplies? With years of drought conditions and the recent laws passed by California Gov. Jerry Brown restricting water use to a high of 55 gallons to start down to 50 gallons per day in the future, my wife and I decided to purchase a Frigidaire Dehumidifier, typically used in damp basements etc, The model we purchased is rated to produce as high as 70 pints of water from the “AIR”, per day bases on ideal conditions and you must have electricity, but even if we get halve the number of pints that over 4 gallons a day. (We have back up power). While that’s not a lot of pure clean water per day, I like to have some control over our lives and not depend on others to survive. There are a few videos on YouTube where people living in Arizona make a modified humidifier to sit on a 55 gallon blue barrel and makes plenty of water in the desert. Just something to consider.
    Frank A.

    Reply to this comment
  22. Enigma October 8, 03:50

    How much potable water needed by mammals depends on environment and exertions. Surprising amount of such water also needed in freezing-snowing conditions.

    From experience: Can’t rely on snow to be pure (free of chemicals and heavy metals) in urban/suburban places. Folk downwind of Hanford might consider relocating _now_.

    Reply to this comment
  23. LeeKL October 31, 03:15

    Doesn’t boiling make any stored water safe?

    Reply to this comment
  24. dillet November 6, 06:31

    Look up solar stills, two kinds: 1) using a hole dug into the ground, topped with clear plastic, with a rock to weight it down in the center and a container beneath that cone you have created, also a plastic tube inserted in the container to be a drinking straw. Put green leaves or even urine into the hole to increase evaporation which will condense into water on the underside of the plastic, which will then flow down into the container. Seal the edges of the plastic with mounded dirt and wait for enough to accumulate to suck it up. 2) Same principle, but tie large plastic bags around leafy branches (NOT anything aromatic or poisonous) and let the vegetation do its thing, i.e. give off its water vapor, which will just condense into the bag. You may not get a lot, but every little bit helps.

    Reply to this comment
  25. MikeyW January 29, 19:46

    Article recommends not putting containers of stored water directly on concrete floors. Anyone know why? I’d think that the concrete floor would act as a heat sink and help keep the water cooler.

    Reply to this comment
  26. JoEllen January 29, 20:12

    According to preparedness lecturer Kenneth Moravec: “Concrete attracts fluids and ‘bleeds.’ Anything that has been on or in that concrete will find its way into your plastic water barrel. This includes the lime in the concrete, any hazardous materials (i.e. gasoline, oils, kerosene or anything a contractor used in construction), algae, etc. Usually it is not enough to make the water toxic but it will taint the water enough to make the taste unbearable. And no amount of pouring it from container to container will take that taste away.”

    Reply to this comment
  27. SilverBullet March 21, 22:53

    Slight bit of information here in the article. First ‘a dark place’ is not the best if you have transparent containers, Ultra violet rays from the sun kills germs. Plastics are certainly not the best containers to use because of the outgasing of VOC or volatile organic compounds which are carcinogenic.This process goes on continuously for years. And colored plastic wont allow sunlight in. The best thing I have found as a UV lighting fixture which you can place in your water storage tank. I have a timer which comes on and off for ten minutes twice a week. In the event new water was coming into the storage container from to replace water used on a regular basis, I would set the timer to come on and off about every 20 minutes for about a minute. They are inexpensive and plug into a household 120VAC socket. In the event you are on DC power due to power outage, the current draw is so slight a small invertor will get the job done for you. “Clear O2” is the highest recommended filtration pitcher on the market. Inexpensive but it requires water pressure so again, with no power you can use a 12VDC battery source, charged by the sun, and buy a 12VDC potable water pump online for less than $100.00. Sanitizing water using UV is not so practical if the water is dirty or cloudy because the rays will only travel so far under those circumstances. If you are really, really concerned about water supply storage, buy a 14; swimming pool from WalMart. Not the best because it is plastic lined but you can eliminate a bit of VOC with a filter for drinking water using something like the Berkey, very expensive but requires no water pressure. Also with the pool being exposed to the atmosphere, unlike bottled water a lot of the VOCs will evaporate. Bath tub is an excellent place to store water. If you have your own propane tank you can always heat water for 15 minutes if in doubt. If you may be on the move during a disaster, nothing is better than a stainless steel drum, 55 or 35 gallon. Remember when hauling water it weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon. Thus 55 gallons would weigh 440 pounds. Not gonna work in the trunk of your Toyota if the drum is full! The very best insurance against running out of water in a disaster is a deep water well with a generator! Diesel is my choice although I have a generator which runs off LP gas too. Diesel fuel and gas both require an additive for long term storage.If you have the well you can pick up a generator for less than $500.00 just be sure it is compatible with your well pump. Most all well pumps are 220VAC.And there is always Clorox. A drop in your gallon containers, then sealed will go a long way towards securing the safety of your water from germs but not other contaminants, So it needs to be filtered b4 using the Clorox. Since chlorine in the Clorox is a gas, leaving the container open over night before use will eliminate the odor. USE ONLY PURE BLEACH nothing with additives such as perfumes or any other substance! Hope this holps a bit!

    Reply to this comment
  28. Yosemite September 7, 02:04

    I do know water an other items in Life/Survival rafts are replaced every Five years or use to be. This included First Aid items and other items….The water as in pouches like the juice pouches one gives to children.

    I did not see where anyone mentioned Reverse Osmosis or the manual or electronic pumps that convert sea/salt water to drinkable/ fresh water. The Electric pump is more efficient an faster for the out put! The manual pump involves quite a bit of pumping an effort to get any serious amount of usable water.

    Reply to this comment
  29. Uncle December 16, 01:28

    7 gallon water jugs. I have several. I am able to use a reverse osmosis system to fill them That has UV lighting as well. How can I store them long term 5 years lets say? Changing every 6 Months is time consuming and lets face the truth…does not always happen.
    So many water treatments out there I ask you the educated preparers

    Reply to this comment
    • AQMAN August 10, 21:56

      It is not realistic to expect that water stored for 5 years is still good to drink. One solution might be to store the water in sealed glass containers and add ozone (3-4 ppm) or hydrogen peroxide ( 100 ppm) once every six months. But it really depends on storage condition, how clean is the water and the bottles…

      Reply to this comment
  30. LeeKL December 16, 02:43

    What about simply boiling the stored water? Isn’t that good enough to sterilise the water?

    Reply to this comment
    • AQMAN August 10, 21:46

      Yes, zif you van do it, boiling water is the safest way to ensure that there is no live pathogenic bacteria in water. It is just inconvenient to boil large quantities of water periodically- the effect of boiling water only lasts 24-48 hours

      Reply to this comment
  31. Ched April 15, 23:25

    I have a question if you use all storage water do you think it’s a good idea to pass it through a water filter before using it would that give it back the fresh face?

    Reply to this comment
    • AQMAN August 10, 21:49

      Yes, that is always a good idea. It is called “endpoint filtration”. Just make sure your filter is cleaned/changed regularly, as bacteria finds its way eventually through most filters, and starts building up biofilm on the “clean” side, which will block your filter, and will shed bacteria in your water.

      Reply to this comment
  32. sandy June 30, 00:40

    Does anyone have any experience with the “Patriot” solar water heaters? They are said to sterilize water and make it safe to drink.

    Reply to this comment
View comments

Write a comment