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07/15/2019 / By Edsel Cook
Water is essential to human survival, but preppers cannot hope to bring enough water with them when they bug out. Fortunately, there are easy and affordable ways to purify any water found on the road to safety.
One of the most common water purification techniques employs bleach as the disinfectant. Get a household bleach product with no additives or scents. Add eight drops of bleach to every gallon (four liters) of water.
Leave the water alone for 20 minutes before taking a whiff. If the water does not give off the smell of disinfectant, treat it again. Furthermore, limit the use of the disinfectant to 16 drops in total.
However, the bleach-based water treatment method has drawbacks. Bleach only lasts for a couple of years. It also makes a mess when it gets spilled and is hard to clean up. (Related: Water is life: 10 Ways to purify water when SHTF.)
Some preppers replace bleach with pool shock, a powdered type of chlorine that serves as a disinfectant for swimming pools. Pool shock may be purchased at any supply store that sells swimming pool supplies.
Only use pool shock products that rely on calcium hypochlorite as the sole active ingredient. Do not use brands that have clarifiers and anti-fungal chemicals. Further, the calcium hypochlorite needs to be at least 65 percent.
To make a stock chlorine solution, add one heaping teaspoon of pool shock to two gallons of water. Calcium hypochlorite is made up of 65 percent chlorine, so the ratio of pool shock to water produces approximately 500 milligrams of chlorine per liter of water.
A stock chlorine solution is essentially bleach and works in the same way. Take 2.5 tablespoons of the solution and add it to a gallon of water. Let it stand for a while before checking the scent of the treated water.
The stock solution shares the relatively short shelf life of bleach. Only make it when the need to disinfect water comes up.
Pool shock and calcium hypochlorite last much longer than the stock solution. Ask the pool supply store personnel about the shelf life of their product. Meanwhile, keep the pool shock inside an airtight container. Store it in a dark place with a stable temperature to extend its useful life.
Two gallons of the stock solution can treat 200 gallons of water. But most preppers are not going to find themselves in a position where they need to purify enough water to fill a small water truck.
Not every bug-out vehicle is big enough to carry 200 gallons. All that drinking water will occupy space that could be used for other important supplies. That also assumes a prepper owns a vehicle or gets access to the bug-out vehicle when SHTF.
A prepper may need to strike out on foot. There is no way a single person can carry 200 gallons of drinking water. Even two gallons of the stock solution is a hefty load.
The answer is to mix up a much smaller amount of far more concentrated stock solution. Instead of pouring the teaspoon of pool shock into two gallons of water, add the calcium hypochlorite to a mere 16 ounces.
A 16-ounce bottle of highly-concentrated stock solution can treat the same total amount of water as the two gallons of much less concentrated disinfectant. But it is much easier to carry.
To dispense the disinfectant, use an eye dropper. One drop is enough to purify three ounces of water. Six drops produce enough potable water to fill a 16-ounce bottle. Remember to boil and filter the treated water afterward.
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