It’s hurricane season. What does that have to do with us in the Midwest? Severe weather. When a hurricane hits the Southern Coast, oftentimes days later the Midwest is hit with storms. These storms can damage infrastructure, down power lines, and flood areas. Community Response Team training advises people to keep supplies of food and water on hand for at least three days. Most people have canned goods they can rely on for food, but keeping water on hand is something most people don’t do.
The recommendation for water is a gallon per person per day. This is for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene. Many people rely on the hot water tank to supply their needs if public water is not available due to flooding, broken lines, or a power outage at the water plant. What to do if water isn’t available? You may have to purify the water you collect.
There are three methods of water purification. The first is boiling water for 3-5 minutes. The second is disinfection of the water with ordinary household bleach. Don’t use the scented, colored, or added detergent bleaches. To disinfect the water, add 16 drops to a gallon of water, stir, and then let stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy to begin with, add an additional 15 drops and let stand for another 15 minutes. Boiling and adding bleach will kill most microbes that may be in the water.
The third method, distillation, will remove heavy metals and chemicals. The method is time consuming. Fill a pot partway with water. Turn the pot’s lid upside down. Tie a cup to the upside-down lid so it is suspended just above the water. Boil the water letting the steam condense on the lid and drip into the cup.