Many people take clean running water for granted, but in the event of a hurricane, earthquake, or other survival situation, this is often the first thing to go — and the one thing you’ll need to stay alive. Knowing how to disinfect water and make it safe for drinking can be a matter of life and death in an emergency, and thankfully, it can be easily done using common household items. Here are two water disinfection methods as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
This may seem counter-intuitive, even downright suicidal, but it is actually a legitimate way to get clean water for drinking, and ideal when you don’t have access to heat. It is important to use only regular, unscented chlorine bleach labelled for disinfection and sanitation. Avoid scented or color-safe bleach, or those with additional cleaning properties. Also, the bleach must be stored at room temperature for less than a year, and contain 8.25 percent of sodium hypochlorite. To disinfect your water with bleach follow this procedure:
This is a more common method of disinfection, and, according to EPA can kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. You will need a heat source and a container that can withstand it, though, so this method may not always be ideal in every situation. To disinfect water by boiling, follow these steps:
Other disinfection methods endorsed by the EPA include: tincture of iodine, water disinfection tablets, and the rather more complicated and riskier method of that uses granular calcium hypochlorite.
Where you get your water is as important as what you do to disinfect it. In an emergency situation, here are some water sources to consider, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Remember to stay away from water that has strange color or smell, or water that might have been contaminated by chemicals or fuel.
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