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This is a very interesting article that I thought I would share with you. Iím not advocating that you start storing water but I know a lot of people are wisely starting to do this. I have heard a few of the news and talk shows telling how to do it and they have been very miss-informative.

The "Secrets" of Water Storage     
by Dale Fergson

You need to know these "secrets", because ... Water storage is the most significant  item in any emergency storage plan. Other than the air we breathe, it is the single most important thing needed to sustain life. The method that you store water should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, when it comes to storing water properly, it is likely the least understood of all food storage items.

If you store untreated water, it should be replaced every six months and will not be safe to drink without filtering or boiling. If you store chlorinated tap water, it will keep for up to one year before you should renew it, and it too should be filtered and boiled before using. If you store water to which you have added chlorine bleach or iodine for purification purposes, as is common practice, you have likely eliminated the need to boil. But, it is a health hazard (because of the added chlorine or iodine) and  should not be consumed without filtering. And the water should still be "dumped" and replaced every year. If you use the method outlined here, you can have clean pure water, ready to drink, that can be stored without replacing for five years or longer!

First off, what water is best to store? Using commercially treated water, be it distilled, filtered, reverse osmosis, ultra violet treated, or a combination, is quite expensive and out of the range of practicality for most people. Either tap water or well water (that has been tested safe) is fine for home storage if it is properly prepared.

As to containers, there are several options. Some metal containers tend to give water an unpleasant taste. The most popular option is the use of heavy plastic containers, ranging from 5-gallons through 55-gallon size. Make sure that they are made of a "food-grade" plastic, so that a "plastic taste" is not leached out into the water. It goes without saying that a tight-fitting lid that seals off all outside air is a necessity. Small containers (when cleaned thoroughly) such as originally used soda pop, should be used only for temporary water storage, until a more permanent solution is found. They are not of sufficient thickness to prevent odors and tastes from penetrating. Nor will they stand the rigors of time. Bottles that once contained milk should not be used at all. Even with thorough washing, bacteria contamination is still likely. The plastic used in such containers also decomposes too quickly. Containers should be fill completely to the top to help prevent any algae growth. Water is best stored out of direct sunlight and in a cool part of your house. Never let the temperature reach 130 degrees, as is possible in many garages during the summer. Needless to say, freezing should be avoided for several reasons, including the likely rupture of the container. As to the amount of water that should be stored, there are a number of published "formulas". This is left to your own goals and, likely, the space that you have available for storage.

I personally store water in heavy plastic food-grade 5-gallon containers. While this may be a little more expensive initially than using a smaller number of large containers, the advantages far out weigh the additional cost. Water stored in 5-gallon containers is easy to prepare, handle, store, and use. They are also easy to transport to another location, should the emergency need arise or if you move. If you had water stored in 55-gallon containers, for example, and had to change locations in an emergency , they would be almost impossible for most people to transport. Also, with many households, the only practical place to store containers that large is in the garage. And a garage (in most cases) is not the ideal location for water storage. Most garages get much too hot  in the summer, and there is often the danger of freezing in the winter. It is important that neither happen to stored water. My recommendation is to stick with the 5-gallon size, if possible, and certainly (for most households) not to use over the 15-gallon size. My wife and  I store our 5-gallon containers of water in the crawl space under our house. In most modern homes, there is room to store many such containers, and the temperature usually remains within the desired range year-round.

Stored water must be protected from bacteria contamination. This is imperative. If not done, even the slightest trace of contamination will grow and spread in your water. The old method, advocated for years, was to add a small amount of chlorine bleach or iodine to retard bacteria growth. Don't! We'll discuss chlorine in more detail later. For now, I'll just say that chlorine is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) and a toxin that should not be taken into the human body in anything over very minute quantities. Chlorine used municipally treated water is normally found in very small quantities, as far as "parts-per-million" is concerned. When you add even the small amounts of chlorine bleach recommended and used by some for water storage, you are ending up with a very "strong" dose of toxic chlorine, related to "parts-per-million". In the case of iodine tablets, or similar products, the same thing applies. Iodine is very closely related in chemical make-up to chlorine and can be just as toxic to the human body!

The very best thing to use for protecting water from bacteria contamination is Liquid Stabilized Oxygen. One of the properties of oxygen is it's ability to destroy harmful bacteria. It is effective against Salmonella, E-Coli, Cholerae, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, and Glardia-Iambila. In fact, researchers have found oxygen effective against all known anaerobic infectious disease causing bacteria! There are a number of products on the market now that claim to be Stabilized Oxygen. They are sold for a variety of health uses, as well as for treating water. Most use the "old out-dated technology" of oxygen being bonded to salts of chloride. These should be avoided for water storage. A number are quite caustic, as well, because of a high pH level. The label on these will usually warn you against making contact with your skin! Some are activated by contact with hydrochloric acid found in the stomach. Hardly suitable for water storage, although some of the companies selling these products advocate that usage, in addition to health purposes.

The "cutting-edge" technology is Stabilized Oxygen contains, by contrast, actual dissolved molecules of diatomic oxygen. These have a near-balanced pH, and are quite safe. Look for a product made with the new technology, has a near-balanced pH, uses actual dissolved molecules of oxygen, and contains at least 50,000 parts-per-million of diatomic oxygen.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is nutritional in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

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Last modified: June 28, 2015