Storing Water for an Emergency Course: Lesson 5 – The Dangers of Improperly Stored Water.

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Welcome to Lesson 5. If you’re take time to go through all the effort of being prepared, DO IT RIGHT! Don’t put your family at risk by giving them improperly stored water that could make them ill at a critical time.

We have three things we want to cover in this lesson.

  1. The dangers of improperly stored water
  2. The danges of chemicals vs. biological contaminant
  3. The dangers of improper labeling.

To get the most out of this lesson, go to a quite place where you can focus and turn off distractions. The transcript of the video is below


Hello, this is Glenn and in today’s class were going to talk about the dangers of improperly stored water. And I know I went over this in the last class really want to go over this more depth for you because it is a very important topic, so that’s the first goal that we have. Number two is the dangers of chemicals versus biologicals, and I’ll explain what that means. Number three is the dangers of improper labeling.

So here’s the thing. You’ve gone to the work of getting prepared so don’t do it wrong, because if you do it wrong, you can put your family’s health in jeopardy. So think of it this way. If you prepare but your water is contaminated in the bottles that you’re storing it in, that’s probably worse than if you didn’t prepare in the first place, because you’re going in there thinking that you are prepared, and you can be giving this water to your friends, and family, and loved ones thinking it’s safe and it’s not safe and it makes them sick at a time they can’t afford to be sick. So it’s very important to do it right.

So I just want to go through some of the dangers. One of the first things I want to go through real quick again is the different types of contaminants. This is something that I covered in detail in the basics class so I’m not going to do this in much detail, but there’s different types of contaminants that can be in water:

  • Particulates
  • Microbiological
  • Inorganic, which is metals and minerals, which can be very toxic. Arsenic, lead, fluoride, that type of thing
  • Radioactive metals. Uranium, radium, plutonium, that type of thing
  • The fifth type is organic contaminants. In today’s day and age that typically refers to refined petrochemicals, so gasoline, gasoline additives, solvents, and pesticides. But it also includes plastics, and there’s different types of plastics. Some plastics are safe to come in contact with water some should definitely not come in contact with water.

But if you look at all five types of contaminants, the most dangerous type in an emergency is microbiological. These are very dangerous contaminants because they are living organisms. They grow and multiply and they can be very dangerous. So I won’t talk about these, but also the other type of contempt that I think we really need to think about here is organic contaminants. Like I said this is different types of plastics, chemicals, gasoline and that sort of thing. I think we need to cover that also. I want to start with that actually so let’s talk about avoiding chemical dangers.

Let’s look at how would these chemicals get into your stored water in the first place. There’s really four different ways.

  1.  First you’ve got the water itself. If there are chemicals in the water and you don’t purify the water good, then those chemicals are still going to be in the water if you store it long term.
  2. The second way is the container material. If you don’t have the right type of plastic or the right material that is coming in contact with water, the water will absorb chemicals out of that material.
  3. The third type is residual contamination in the bottle. So if it’s a bottle that had contaminants in it before, even if you think you cleaned it out well enough, you may not. Sometimes you just cannot clean it well enough.
  4. The fourth way is if you store the bottled water or the stored water near chemicals. The thing to remember here is that chemical vapors can pass through some plastics. That seems like a pretty airtight container but still can absorb some chemicals if there’s chemical vapors nearby.

So those four type things that you really need to look out for as it pertains to chemicals. So let’s look at how do you protect yourself in each of those four situations.

First of all if the water itself has these contaminants in it, then it just comes down to purifying the water properly before you bottle it. I cover that in the basics course. I really get into the whole purification process.

Now the container material, what does that come down to? It comes down to choosing the right bottles. I go into this more and subsequent video, so let’s just talk about a really quick example—a Clorox bottle. A Clorox bottle was never intended to store water. It has stored chemicals in the past. DO NOT use it to store water.

The third one—residual contamination in the bottle—how do you protect yourself against that? First of all you need clean bottles that have only stored water for drinking. The bottles should be or new or newish. So what do I mean by newish? If I have a bottle of water, let’s say a bottle of Aquafina and I open that bottle of water and pour the water into another glass, then I can use the bottle again to fill that bottle with water. So it’s not really new but it’s newish.

The fourth point there is you need to know the history of that bottle. You can’t just find a bottle, or just find a container, and think, “Okay, I’m going to put water in that.” It really needs to be something that you know what happened to that bottle.

Okay, so the fourth point: Storing bottles near chemicals. What do you have to do here? The answer’s pretty obvious. Don’t store water near chemicals such as gasoline, pesticides, paint, paint thinner, all of that stuff. Don’t store it near that. And let me add two other points here. You don’t want to store it (water) in sun light, so you want to keep it dark. You also want a consistent temperature. You don’t want it too hot. You don’t want it too cold. So keep it in that condition. That will help against any chemicals.

So let’s move along to the biological contaminants, so we’re moving away from chemicals and into the biological contaminants. These are living organisms. Like I said, these can be potentially very dangerous, and it’s quite hard to prevent. These are living organisms and they want to live. They are very robust and they just find ways to live, so it’s very hard to not have bacteria growing. So the danger is that improperly stored water can become a breeding ground for bacteria and it could make you sick.

Now an important point—I want to really drill this in here—is that even if you can turn your tap on and safely drink that water from the tap, that doesn’t mean that you can store the water and that it will remain safe, so that’s a very big distinction there. If you store tap water or other water that is safe in this moment, it could turn bad over time. So how do you prevent this? How do you prevent these biological contaminants? You prevent it by following our seven-step process for making ready-to-drink water. And this process is coming up. We’re going to do this in the next few videos. We’re going to talk about this process and we’ve got some very specific steps. Just follow those. Just really be careful about following those properly.

I also want to encourage you to label the water properly. Be very careful about this. This is a form of communication. You’re communicating to yourself in the future and to other people. Let’s say you get sick and someone else has to take over and give you the water. They need to know what they’re grabbing and whether this is ready-to-drink water or if this is treat-before-you-drink water. So it’s very important that you label that properly so that you don’t confuse the two types of water. Ready-to-drink water is a very specific type of water. It has a very specific definition. The definition is, just as a reminder: “Ready-to-drink water has been carefully bottled to ensure its long-term safety. So you need to know through the labeling of your bottles what type of water is ready to drink. And it it’s not ready to drink, then it should be carefully labeled “DON’T DRINK THIS!” until you process it first.

So in summary, we went over the dangers again. We discussed this in more detail. We talked about the dangers of chemicals versus biologicals, and we discussed the dangers of improper labeling.

So we’ll see you in the next video. Thank you.

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