How To Clean Water
Water is one of life’s basic necessities, and no one can live long without it. Even if you have stored water in your home, that supply may run out if the emergency lasts for a longer time than anticipated. However, there are several items that you can pack into your emergency kit that will make it certain that you will be able to drink clean water when you need to.
Portable Water Filters
There are several portable water filters available that will allow you to purify water. These are small units and are easy to operate. To use these filters, you unscrew the top, fill the bottle with water, and squeeze clean water from the spout on the top.
These small filters are really quite efficient at removing harmful organic pathogens such as E. coli, giardia, and cryptosporidium. As biological agents may not be the only contaminants you will have to deal with, these filters will also remove heavy metals, pesticides, and other chemicals. They generally also remove any bad tastes and smells. You will be able to filter about 100 gallons with these small filters, so having one or two in your emergency kit will see you safely through nearly any emergency.
Water Purifying Tablets
Water purifying tablets take up very little space and will fit into a spare corner of your emergency kit without any trouble. Even water that looks clear and clean can harbor any number of harmful components such as bacteria, viruses, spores, and protozoa. All these tiny, invisible pathogens can make you and your family ill.
Tablets that purify water are based either on chlorine or iodine. Depending on the type of tablet chosen, you will simply add one or two tablets to a quart of water. There will be a wait while the disinfecting properties of the tablet work, and then the water will be safe to drink. If there might be contamination from giardia in your area, you should use iodine based tablets, as chlorine will not be able to kill this organism. There are also neutralizing agents available that will remove the taste of the chlorine or iodine from the water.
Water Purification Straws
For space saving, it would be hard to beat water purification straws. These water purification units will usually be able to filter about 530 gallons of water before they have to be replaced. They are quite efficient at removing almost 100% of pathogens from water, and are easy to use – simply put the end of the straw into the container of water and sip, just as you would if you were drinking soda.
The Old Standby – Boiling
If you have no means of filtering your water, you can always boil it. Although it is suggested that water be brought to a rapid boil for 1 minute, it would probably be better to boil it for at least 5 minutes, and many authorities recommend 10 minutes. This will kill any organic pathogens, but will also tend to concentrate any chemical contaminants.