Storing Water for an Emergency Course: Lesson 8 – Ready-To-Drink Water: Step 1 & 2

Next: Lesson 9 (or click here for the Table of Contents)

In this video we discuss the first two steps of preparing your own ready-to-drink water. Step 1 is choosing the right container, and then properly cleaning that container. Step 2 is the set-up process, which includes making sure that you and the surfaces in your work area are properly cleaned before starting the process.

The transcript of the video is below for your reference.


Hello this is Glenn Meder and this class we’re going to be talking about making your own ready-to-drink water, steps one and two. And just a reminder these are the steps that I’m talking about.

There’s a seven-step process for properly storing your own ready-to drink-water. The first thing to talk about here is the containers you’re going to store water in. This is an extremely important point. So what I want to talk about now is containers not to use. I want to start off with the most important thing which is containers that are not meant for food and are not food grade. Do not use these, especially containers that have held chemicals, and this includes Clorox and bleach. Now Clorox is one of those things that you actually can add to water. The bleach part of it you can add water and that’s an important part of the process. But that does not mean that you can use a bleach bottle to store water in. I want to be very clear with that.

Other containers not to use, if they have held anything other than water, and especially anything other than food stuff. But even like milk, and fruit juice, and that type of thing, the problem is that you cannot get these clean enough. If it had milk, if it had fruit juice, it doesn’t matter how hard you try to clean that, you’re just not going to be able to get it clean enough. And that’s going to have proteins and sugars that are left behind residually and those can be food for bacteria. So you don’t want use milk jugs or fruit containers, or anything like that. You don’t want to have a glass of ceramic. Now glass containers are very good for holding water for day-to-day use. It’s the most inert material for holding water in, so for day-to-day use I like to use glass, or stainless steel, something like that. But glass and ceramic are not the right choice for storing water for an emergency. Your whole store of water can be broken and your just without water. Plus it’s not flexible, you can’t really carry it around, but breakage is a very important thing that you’ll want to consider there.

Do not store water in copper or aluminum. You can store and stainless, stainless would be good. Do not use cardboard containers like those cardboard juice jugs or something like that.

Okay, so let’s talk about the containers that you can use to store water in. First of all, you should be looking for food-grade plastic containers that are specifically designed for water storage. I do have some specific examples that I’ll recommend for you. On the bottom of plastic bottles and anything created out of plastic, you will see this little recycle triangle with some different numbers in it. And those numbers tell you what type of plastic that bottle is made out of. So what you want to look for is number 1, 2, 4 or 5. Those are good numbers, and you can feel safe with those numbers. The bottle should see properly. The Red Cross says that it is okay to re-use two-liter pop bottles. I am not convinced about that. I don’t recommend that. I say stick to bottles that were made for water. You can also re-use commercially produced water bottles.

So at this point I wasn’t to step back for a minute and address people’s concerns about plastic. I know there are some people that are very concerned about this, and there can be some good reason for this. There are people that have sensitivity to plastic. Some people are very allergic to plastic. That’s pretty rare though. Other people are just concerned about the plastics. You’ve heard of BPA that was found in polycarbonate plastic. That is a plasticizer. There are other types of plasticizers in bottles. But here’s the thing; what we are talking about is being prepared for an emergency. We’re not talking about everyday use, and so being prepared for an emergency has his own specific priorities and goals that we need to focus on. And so for this purpose, plastic is definitely the best option. Now for day-to-day life, that’s a different story. You can take whatever precautions you want to take. Use glass bottles if you want to you, use stainless steel, avoid plastic, whatever you want to do in day-to-day life. For an emergency, stick to plastic bottles. This is the best way to go. Really what it comes down to is keeping priorities straight.

Now the next thing that I want to go into for containers is cleaning the bottles properly. So what you want to do is, you want to thoroughly clean the bottles with dishwashing soap and water, and then rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Additionally, for plastic soft bottles, sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water. Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottles so that it touches also surfaces. After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution of clean water. And those are the instructions that the Red Cross provides.

Now I want to make an important point here, and that is that preparing water for storage after an emergency strikes is different than preparing water for storage before an emergency strikes. It really comes down to being aware of the quality water you’re using to fill the bottles, but also to clean the bottles. Before an emergency strikes, you can just turn on the tap water and rinse the bottles out and can use dishwashing soap and that’s fine. After an emergency strikes, you cannot count on the quality of the water or the safety of that water so you have to take extra precautions. You have to have an added level of awareness of the water that you’re using. And I would stick to this chlorine solution that is on the second bullet point. Don’t just rinse the bottles out with water that you don’t know what the quality of that water is.

Now step two is very simple, straightforward, and there’s not much to this but it’s a very important step. That is be clean yourself and sanitize your work area. And so you’re your hands, wash your clothes, anything that’s going to be coming in contact with the bottles or the water. Use disposable gloves if possible. And clean your workspace with the chlorinated water solution.

So the next video, we’re going to continue our discussion of making your own ready-to-drink water and specifically we’ll be looking at steps three, four, and five which pertain to water purity.

Thank you.

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