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5 Ways to Purify Drinking Water

In an emergency, one thing you absolutely want to have on hand is safe drinking water. And, while you can purchase bottled water at the store, what do you do when it runs out?

We're going to take a look at five (5) different ways you can purify (disinfect) or make water safe to drink.

1. Life Straw

This is a unique water filter designed for the individual allowing them to safely drink water. It is designed to filter a maximum of about 260 gallons of water - or enough for about one (1) year. Use of Life Straw removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of parasites. The individual LifeStraw can easily be carried or transported. And, it is also available in a larger 'Life Straw Family' unit that also filters out 99.99% of viruses. (1)

All manufacturer's instructions should be completely read before use. For more details about LifeStraw, visit this link.

2. Boiling

Probably the most common way to 'disinfect' water is to boil it. We've all seen news stories where the public is asked to boil their water before drinking due to a contamination. This method works if you bring the water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute as this makes the water microbiologically safe. If you are in a situation where you need to boil your water to safely drink it, you will also need to boil your water for the following uses:

  • Making ice
  • Making coffee, tea, baby formula or any other beverage that uses added water
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Washing vegetables to be eaten raw
  • Cooking any food in water. Any food cooked in water should boil for minimum of 1 minute.
  • Giving to pets (check with veternarian first)
Water should be boiled in a large enough container so there is no chance of spillage, and also placed on a back burner to avoid chance of small children getting burned. Allow water to cool before using.

3. Bleach

Liquid household bleach can be used to disinfect tap water. The bleach used should be recently purchased, free of any scents or additives and contain a hypochlorite solution of at least 5.25%.

Use the following formulas if the water is:

Clear - 8 drops of bleach (approx. 1/4 teaspoon) to each gallon of water
Cloudy - 16 drops of bleach (approx. 1/2 teaspoon) to each gallon

Once the bleach has been added to the water, it should be stirred and allowed to stand for at least 30 minutes.

4. Water Purification Tablets

The tablets can also be used to disinfect tap water by following the package directions. Get more information on water purification tablets at this link.

5. Brita

This in-home product is more of a filtering device than disinfectant. However, if you have good well water that contains minerals, using a Brita filter may help remove some of the minerals giving the water a more pleasant taste. Note: Any well water that is to be consumed by humans should first be tested for any contamination, bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. before drinking.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LifeStraw

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