Saturday, March 5, 2016

Emergency Water

Water is perhaps the most over looked thing to store as a Prepper, because you can only live three (3) days with out it according to The Rule of 3. After water, most people don't have The right amount of Ammo.

There are a large number of water sources like your ice maker, hot water heater, toilet tank, water pipes, municipal tanks, pools, hot tubs, wells, creeks, lakes, fish ponds and ditches. The first two are generally safe to drink but the further down the list you go, the more treatment is needed.

The best system is to have a home water dispenser that uses the five gallon bottles in the picture above. Then have a couple of those racks available at Amazon.com full of five gallon bottles and rotate them. By using them in your normal daily life, you can stock more with out fear of them going bad.

How much water should I have?  The answer depends on how long you want to be prepared for.  You need a minimum of one gallon per day per person.  So for a family of three (3) to be prepared for a week, you need 21 gallons of water (3 people X 7 days) which equates to about four (4) of the above bottles of water.  You can easily have this covered with two of the racks shown stocked with water and each week exchange the empties for full bottles.  Some companies even offer a home delivery service.

Incremental Prepper Water Plan

     Step 1: Start with a water dispenser and a five gallon bottle of water.
     Step 2: Get a backup 5 gallon bottle of water (or 2).
     Step 3: Get a rack for your back up water bottles and keep it full.
     Step 4: Get another rack and keep it full.
     Step 5: Repeat step 4 until you have your target water supply.

It is best to stock what you are likely to use on a regular basis so that it is rotated.  As a result, a popular alternative plan would be to stock cases of bottled water. A typical case of 24 bottles (500 ml each) equates to about 3 gallons of water.  This is a three day supply for one person or a one day supply for three people. For a family of four to survive 7 days, you would need 28 gallons of water, or about 10 cases bottled water (24 - 500 ml bottles per case).

You can also save your household bottles and store tap water in them, but I might only use it as non potable water.  Good storage places for one gallon bottles include the closet, behind the sofa next to the wall, in the attic or under the bed. Some keep them in cabinets over the stove or in the attic over a heater, which could serve as a fire suppressor.

Five gallon bottles are the lowest cost water storage option, but you should have other alternatives. Know where you closest community pool, creek or lake is located and have some means to treat the water.

There are two types of treatment.
  1. The most common treatment is to remove or kill the micro organisms making water biologically safe for drinking. Filtration, water treatment tablets, chlorine bleach, UV Steri-Pen, boiling or distillation can achieve this.
  2. The second type of treatment is to remove the impurities. Distillation will remove salt and minerals and filtration will remove solid contaminates, but chemicals are more difficult to remove. Filtering with activated charcoal works with some chemicals.  Distillation removes chemicals with boiling point significantly above that of water, but does not remove some aromatic solvents and pesticides.  Water with a chemical smell or a visible film on the surface is risky to consume.  After allowing water to settle, siphoning off some, drawing from just below the surface may be the best available water to use with your available treatment methods. However it should be tested carefully and in limited quantities until . 
Inspect the water before treatment. Microorganisms may be attached to or embedded in soil or other organic particles suspended in the water. The water to be treated should be allowed to stand so the suspended material settles to the bottom of the container. Coarse materials like sand will settle more quickly than finer materials suspended in the water.

During and after settling, care should be taken not to agitate the water. Water from the top of the container can be gently poured or drawn off into a second clean container. A second option for removing suspended particles is to strain the water through a clean cloth, layers of paper towels, or a paper coffee filter. Do not use a commercially available portable water filter (see “Filtration”) for this step, as the suspended material may rapidly clog such filters.

For emergency or short-term situations, water can be treated using heat, chemical treatments, or filtration. Each method has certain advantages and disadvantages that must be considered. In some situations, a combination of these methods may be preferred (e.g., filtration and chemical treatment).
Contaminants in water which may cause illness or disease include bacteria such as E. coli, protozoan cysts such as giardia or cryptosporidium, and viruses such as Hepatitis A. Giardia or cryptosporidium are not likely to be present in Nebraska groundwaters but may be found in contaminated surface waters. Viruses should be suspected in any water that may be contaminated with human waste.

Heat Treatment
Heat kills microorganisms and is the oldest effective means of disinfecting drinking water. Adequate heat treatment will kill virtually any disease-causing organism, including bacteria, cysts such as giardia and cryptosporidium, and viruses.

Heat the water to a vigorous boil for one minute, which includes an adequate safety factor. Any longer could concentrate other chemical contaminants that may be present. Since water boils at a lower temperature as elevation increases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends boiling for three minutes at altitudes above 6,562 feet (2,000 meters).

Though boiling effectively disinfects water for drinking, it does not provide a residual (or long-term) disinfection; therefore, care must be taken not to recontaminate the water.

Boiled water may taste flat. The taste can be improved by pouring it back and forth between two clean containers to reoxygenate it or by adding a pinch of salt to each quart after it has cooled.

Chemical Treatments
Chlorine and iodine are the most commonly used chemicals for emergency disinfection of water. The killing effectiveness of the chemical depends on the concentration of the chemical in the water, the amount of time the available chemical is in contact with the water prior to use (contact time), the water temperature, and the characteristics of the water supply.

A decreased concentration of the disinfectant or a lower temperature will require a longer contact time for adequate disinfection. If the water temperature is less than 41°F (or 5°C), it should be allowed to warm prior to disinfection or the chemical dose should be doubled. If the water is cloudy, strain it through a clean cloth, layers of paper towels, or a coffee filter before treatment.

A common objection to chemical disinfection is the flavor it gives to the treated water. If flavorings of any kind are added to the water to improve taste, it should be done after the recommended contact time for disinfection. Flavorings added before adequate contact time has been achieved will “tie up” some of the chemical available for disinfection. Adding about 50 mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) per liter or quart of water after the contact time can improve the taste. Vitamin C is often available in 250 and 500 mg tablets where vitamin supplements are sold. Tablets should be pulverized and divided before adding to the water. In addition, freshness preservatives containing vitamin C are often available where canning supplies are sold.

Bacteria are very sensitive to chemical disinfectants such as chlorine and iodine. Viruses, cryptosporidium, and giardia require very high dosages of disinfectant or longer contact times with the disinfectant than the standard recommendations. Heat treatment is recommended if these pathogens are suspected in the water.

Chlorine. Regular household chlorine bleach that contains 4-6 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient can be used for disinfection. Bleaches with labels such as “Fresh Wildflowers,” “Rain Clean,” “Advantage,” or labeled as scented may contain fragrances, soaps, surfactants, or other additives and should be avoided for drinking water disinfection.

For clear water, add six drops per gallon with a medicine dropper. For cloudy water, strain water through a clean cloth, layers of paper towels, or a coffee filter prior to treatment and add a larger disinfectant dose of 16 drops per gallon. Stir the water and let it stand covered for 30 minutes. For adequate disinfection, the water should have a slight chlorine odor to it after the 30 minute waiting period. If this odor is not present after the 30 minutes, repeat the dose and let it stand covered for another 15 minutes. If this odor is not present, the bleach may have lost its effectiveness due to age or exposure to light or heat.

Use the freshest chlorine bleach available. If the chlorine taste is too strong in the treated water, taste can be improved by pouring the water from one clean container to another several times.

Halazoner® tablets are another form of chlorine for drinking water disinfection. The tablets are convenient and inexpensive but may require high doses and longer contact times. Follow manufacturer directions for use. Chemical treatment with chlorine provides some protection against recontamination since some available chemical remains in the water.

Iodine. Two forms of iodine commonly sold for chemical disinfection of drinking water are tincture of iodine (2 percent) and tetraglycine hydroperiodide tablets (Globaline®, Coghlan’s®, and Potable-Aqua® are examples).

Iodine was once widely used, but is no longer recommended because health research has shown that as many as 8 percent of people have hidden or chronic thyroid, liver, or kidney disease which iodine can make worse. Iodine should not be ingested by children younger than age 14. Do not use iodine-containing products unless you have discussed the risks with your physician.

Ultraviolet (UV)
 
The SODIS treatment method is easy: A transparent PET bottle is cleaned with soap. Then, the bottle is filled with water and placed in full sunlight for at least 6 hours. The water has then been disinfected and can be drunk.

The SODIS organization recommends using 3 liter (or smaller) clear PET bottles in the application of the SODIS method because they are light and do not break. They are also easy to obtain in many regions. However, glass bottles or special bags can also be used. PET bottles are usually labelled as such, but they are not called by the same name in all countries.

If the water is very turbid, the effectiveness of the method is reduced. It is very easy to determine whether the water is sufficiently clear: The filled PET bottle must be placed on top of a newspaper headline. Now one must look at the bottom of the bottle from the neck at the top and through the water. If the letters of the headline are readable, the water can be used. If the letters are not readable, the water must be filtered.

Cloudiness affects the strength of solar radiation and thus also the effectiveness of the method.
Rule of thumb:
  • If less than half of the sky is clouded over, 6 hours will be enough to completely disinfect the water.
  • If more than half of the sky is covered with clouds, the bottle must be placed in the sun for 2 consecutive days.

The method does not work satisfactorily during lengthy periods of rain. On these days, we recommend collecting rainwater.

The treated water should be kept in the bottle and drunk directly from the bottle, or poured into a cup or glass immediately before it is drunk. In this way, it is possible to prevent the treated water from becoming contaminated again.  Note this method does not remove chemicals.

Filtration
  • Filtration is a physical process that occurs when liquids, gases, dissolved or suspended matter adhere to the surface of, or in the pores of, an absorbent medium.
  • Filtration of contaminants depends highly on the amount of contaminant, size of the contaminant particle, and the charge of the contaminant particle. Depending on the household’s water needs, pretreatment before filtration may include the addition of coagulants and powdered activated carbon, adjustments in pH or chlorine concentration levels, and other pretreatment processes in order to protect the filter’s membrane surface.
Microfiltration
  • A microfiltration filter has a pore size of approximately 0.1 micron (pore size ranges vary by filter from 0.05 micron to 5 micron);
  • Microfiltration has a very high effectiveness in removing protozoa (for example, Cryptosporidium, Giardia);
  • Microfiltration has a moderate effectiveness in removing bacteria (for example, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli);
  • Microfiltration is not effective in removing viruses (for example, Enteric, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Rotavirus);
  • Microfiltration is not effective in removing chemicals.

Ultrafiltration

  • An ultrafiltration filter has a pore size of approximately 0.01 micron (pore size ranges vary by filter from 0.001 micron to 0.05 micron; Molecular Weight Cut Off (MWCO) of 13,000 to 200,000 Daltons). Ultrafiltration filters remove particles based on size, weight, and charge;
  • Ultrafiltration has a very high effectiveness in removing protozoa (for example, Cryptosporidium, Giardia);
  • Ultrafiltration has a very high effectiveness in removing bacteria (for example, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli);
  • Ultrafiltration has a moderate effectiveness in removing viruses (for example, Enteric, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Rotavirus);
  • Ultrafiltration has a low effectiveness in removing chemicals.

Nanofiltration

  • A nanofiltration filter has a pore size of approximately 0.001 micron (pore size ranges vary by filter from 0.008 micron to 0.01 micron; Molecular Weight Cut Off (MWCO) of 200 to 2000 Daltons); Nanofiltration filters remove particles based on size, weight, and charge;
  • Nanofiltration has a very high effectiveness in removing protozoa (for example, Cryptosporidium, Giardia);
  • Nanofiltration has a very high effectiveness in removing bacteria (for example, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli);
  • Nanofiltration has a very high effectiveness in removing viruses (for example, Enteric, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Rotavirus);
  • Nanofiltration has a moderate effectiveness in removing chemicals.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

  • Reverse Osmosis Systems use a process that reverses the flow of water in a natural process of osmosis so that water passes from a more concentrated solution to a more dilute solution through a semi-permeable membrane. Pre- and post-filters are often incorporated along with the reverse osmosis membrane itself.
  • A reverse osmosis filter has a pore size of approximately 0.0001 micron.
  • Reverse Osmosis Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing protozoa (for example, Cryptosporidium, Giardia);
  • Reverse Osmosis Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing bacteria (for example, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli);
  • Reverse Osmosis Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing viruses (for example, Enteric, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Rotavirus);
  • Reverse Osmosis Systems will remove common chemical contaminants (metal ions, aqueous salts), including sodium, chloride, copper, chromium, and lead; may reduce arsenic, fluoride, radium, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrate, and phosphorous.

Distillation Systems

  • Distillation Systems use a process of heating water to the boiling point and then collecting the water vapor as it condenses, leaving many of the contaminants behind.
  • Distillation Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing protozoa (for example, Cryptosporidium, Giardia);
  • Distillation Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing bacteria (for example, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli);
  • Distillation Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing viruses (for example, Enteric, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Rotavirus);
  • Distillation Systems will remove common chemical contaminants, including arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, nitrate, sodium, sulfate, and many organic chemicals.

Ultraviolet Treatment Systems (with pre-filtration)

  • Ultraviolet Treatment with pre-filtration is a treatment process that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect water or reduce the amount of bacteria present.
  • Ultraviolet Treatment Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing protozoa (for example, Cryptosporidium, Giardia);
  • Ultraviolet Treatment Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing bacteria (for example, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli);
  • Ultraviolet Treatment Systems have a high effectiveness in removing viruses (for example, Enteric, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Rotavirus);
  • Ultraviolet Treatment Systems are not effective in removing chemicals.

Water Softeners

  • Water Softeners use ion exchange technology for chemical or ion removal to reduce the amount of hardness (calcium, magnesium) in the water; they can also be designed to remove iron and manganese, heavy metals, some radioactivity, nitrates, arsenic, chromium, selenium, and sulfate. They do not protect against protozoa, bacteria, and viruses.

Please remember that:

  • Point of Use (POU) water treatment systems typically treat water in batches and deliver water to a single tap, such as a kitchen sink faucet or an auxiliary faucet.
  • Point of Entry (POE) water treatment systems typically treat most of the water entering a residence. Point of entry systems, or whole-house systems, are usually installed after the water meter.
  • The treatment technologies described can be used in conjunction with each other for greater pathogen reduction. The addition of coagulants, carbon, alum, and iron salts to filtration systems may aid in chemical removal from water.

Hygiene

In addition to providing safe drinking water to your household, you can also protect yourself and others from waterborne illness by paying practicing good personal hygiene:
  • Wash hands before preparing and eating food, after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers, and before and after tending to someone who is sick.

Summary

Emergency or short-term treatment of drinking water may be necessary due to natural disasters, accidents or other situations caused by humans. Alternative drinking water sources for emergency situations and short-term use may include a stored emergency water supply that has been prepared ahead of time, bottled water, hidden sources of water within the home, and outside water sources. When a stored water supply or bottled water supply are unavailable, alternative water sources may be made acceptable for drinking by use of heat, chemical disinfection, filtration, or an appropriate combination of these methods. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, which should be considered for individual situations.

If local public health department (or water utility) information differs from the recommendations in this publication, the local information should be followed. Local officials will be familiar with site- and event-specific conditions.

After you have a good supply of water, then you can start Building your food stores the right way and then working on other important needs from the Beginner Prepper List.

Long Term Water problem:
According to National Geographic, 97% of the worlds water is salty and 2% is in polar ice caps leaving 1% as fresh water. By 2030, the needs for fresh water is expected to exceed the current supply by 50%. So we should soon expect to see seizures by the government of known private water sources.  Already it is illegal to catch and keep rain water in some places.  Even the water on your land or in your well will be community property.  Cost effective methods for the desalination of water will be essential unless there is a significant reduction in the human population on earth. This will be a serious problem, most likely during our life time, so it is something to think about and prepare for.