Help! Have I made a huge water storage mistake? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

Please forgive me for the water storage question. This topic has been generously addressed. I feel like a school kid that wasn't really paying attention to the lecture. My concern is, after rereading the water storage archives, in my haste, I may have made a huge error.

In January 1996 we experienced a severe ice storm. Our power was out for five days and by the third day they were issuing boil water adviseries. We have used bottled water for years because of our close proximity to the chemical industry and the amount of known water pollution in our area. Upon learning about y2k that became my first priority for preparation.

We purchased three 55 gal. water barrels and were advised to store our water using Aerobic Oxygen, one 60ml bottle per barrel. Beginning in November 1998 we increased our delivery of water (5 gal. bottles) and by March of 1999 we had filled all three barrels. The water is Diamond Spring Water bottled in Hot Springs, Ark., sodium free, carbon filtered, protected by ozonization, micron filtered, and dated.

Have we erred and stored the water too soon? I read where there is no independent testing to verify the effectiveness of aerobic oxygen. Would it be wise to have the water tested or just add chlorine, ordinary household bleach? The barrels are in our home and not subjected to temperature flucuations.

We will greatly appreciate all advice on this water storage dilemma. Thank you in advance for your input. (one very naive GI)

-- Carol (, July 11, 1999


First, I think all you probably need to do is add 8 drops per gallon of unscented 5% bleach to your water barrels and keep 'em out of the sun. Remember that poly barrels are gas permeable. That's why they say not to store insecticides and other poisionous stuff nearby. Don't forget to keep everything (all surfaces) CLEAN! This includes the threads on the barrel caps. Remember that bleach isn't good for killing cyst. Sounds like the water is pretty well filtered. However you don't mention micron size regarding filtration.

Basically, it's a two step process when it comes to water. First filter out as much bad stuff as you can. This is where filters come in. However, few filters get out viruses, toxins such as heavy metals or industrial pollutants, ect. That's where disinfection, the second part comes in. The bleach (or iodine) kills the bacteria and viruses that the 0.3 or 0.2 micron filters don't remove. In lots of rural areas, fecal contamination is a major problem with ground water. Lots of parisites and viruses make their way into ground water. That's way disinfecting -- after filtering -- is so important. AND DONT FORGET NOT TO ALLOW DROPLETS, SPRAY, OR MIST from contaminated water to get into your "good" water -- or onto the threads of your container! Don't forget to clean any hoses or sipon or pump chambers, hoses or mechanisms either. "just a little" hepatitus visus can ruin your hope day!

Also, even the best filtration and disinfection process per the above won't make water safe to drink that contains toxins, industrial pollutants or is radioactive.


We bought a distiller from sears for about $110. Distilled water stores indefinately. We have filled many 2 liter bottles with distilled water. About 6 years ago we bought three 55 gallon water drums and filled them. No chlorine added. Just tasted it a couple of months ago and it has just a little after taste. Nothing bad that we could not handle. If you put in chlorine in your water, be sure when you get ready to use it, to let it sit in a pan for a couple of hours for the chlorine to evaporate.

-- freddie (, July 11, 1999.

Hi Carol,

First, for your "problem." You're right: aerobic oxygen is hyped as being effective in the disinfection of water, but there is little real evidence to support this [sellers of aerobic oxygen will now flame me]

Having said that, there's also no evidence that adding aerobic oxygen to water is harmful. So, you should be able to simply add a little bleach and be in good shape.

Now, for two other things:

My own water plans include storing water, and having the capacity to store water. I refuse, however, to rely on stored water to get me through emergencies. Why? Stored water can run out. Something might happen to my carefully laid plans. So, I've added filters. I have a small filter in my Bug-Out-Bag (BOB)-- along with stored water. I have a filter for my home (Big Berkey), just in case I have to go draw water from the small creek that flows through my property. That filter will also do wonders for rainwater. I also have sand and activated charcoal on my storage list.

Learn as much as you can about water -- types of contaminants, treatments, etc. Then, maybe you'll understand why a couple of 5 gallon buckets, some sand, and some activated charcoal, can be converted into a darned good rainwater filter.

Put another way, it may convinced you that maybe you should add sand and activated charcoal to your storage [You can always empty food buckets if necessary to get the buckets.] What you learn might just save your life.

I would recommend spending some time at

Drinking Water Help Homepage

This is a web site by a professional in water quality. It is non-comnmercial. He's not selling anything, but he's giving away his knowledge.

A quote follows:

"Filters using activated carbon are becoming very popular with consumers. In addition to addressing taste and odor problems, these filters can remove chlorine and chlorination by-products (e.g. THM's). They can also remove volatile organic chemicals and some inorganic chemicals including lead."

So, if we follow the advice of the water quality professional, we find that we can add chlorine (bleach) to water as a disinfectant, and then remove it with a simple activated carbon (activated charcoal ...... pharmacy or aquarium supply shop)filter. Makes the water taste better. We find that filtering is used to remove heavy metals from water, just as I'm able to remove heavy metals (lead, etc.) from my tap water now.

Since filtering will remove all of these things, including the chlorine taste and harmful substances that go along with cholrine, it would seem that the two step process really is:

1. Disinfect first, using chlorine

2. Filter, remove the chlorine, heavy metals, and other solids.

Now, if the water is really bad, you may want to do a prefilter ......strain it through a coffee filter, or place screens over the inlet to a rainwater collection system.

The point. Don't just rely on stored water. Have backup plans -- just in case.

Just my opinion, but I do recommend the site, and I don't think you have much to worry about, Carol.

-- de (, July 11, 1999.

1OUIS freddie de

Thank you all for the info and the web site.

Our best wishes to you all!

-- Carol (, July 11, 1999.

Chlorine does not last indefinitely. Could never understand the need to store y2k amounts of water so soon. (Sure hope I don't eventually regret that attitude.) Although I do have a small, replaceable amount of water stored, I am mostly just collecting containers for now. I have a small filter for emergency use, but for most of the winter I will be boiling water over my wood stove to disinfect it.

-- Brooks (, July 12, 1999.

Since this is a water thread I would like to inform any Arizona readers that the Sam's in north-central Phoenix just got in 60 55 gal blue plastic barrels. A big sign on the main isle, in bold letters informs the shoppers...Y2K WATER BARRELS. Cost is $22.99 and the number in their computer is 996421. I bought one even though I already have 24 I picked up from Pepsi ($10. each).
A #10 can of Nacho Cheese Sauce had dating of 5/00 and was $4.98

-- rb (, July 13, 1999.

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