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Front Page » February 10, 2009 » Carbon County News » Consumer sciences specialist outlines water storage tips
Published 2,432 days ago

Consumer sciences specialist outlines water storage tips

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USU Extension writer

The domestic water supplies in Carbon County and across the state are frequently of little concern to residents.

However, situations may occur when the water supply may be cut off or damaged.

Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences specialist Carolyn Washburn encourages Carbon County residents to consider the following information and tips regarding water storage and use in emergency situations.

The suggestions include:

•Survival experts recommended that people store one gallon of water per person per day for drinking purposes in emergency situations.

One quart of water will sustain life, but individuals will likely not be as comfortable.

People will also need to store additional water for washing.

It is recommended that local residents store a minimum of a three-day supply of water per person.

But it would be best to have a two-week supply in homes for each family member, advised Washburn.

•When drinkable water is properly disinfected and stored, it should have an indefinite shelf life.

But to maintain the optimum drinking quality, water should be rotated every six months, pointed out the USU Extension family and consumer sciences specialist.

•Storage containers should be food grade.

The classification means the containers are meant to hold food or water.

Examples include containers made of glass, plastic, stainless steel or metals coated for food and water storage.

The water storage containers should have secure lids and spouts to allow dispensing without contamination.

People should clean all containers with soap and water, then rinse well, explained the USU Extension family and consumer sciences specialist.

Containers and lids should be sanitized with one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water.

People should put the sanitizing fluid in the containers and shake well. The fluid should then be poured out and the containers should be allowed to air dry.

Juice and milk jugs may not be effective for water storage, noted Washburn. The jugs may leak and contain proteins or sugars from the previous foods.

Two-liter soft drink containers are less likely to leak or retain residues, continued the USU Extension family and consumer sciences specialist.

People should never store filled containers by materials that may leach into the water.

In addition, local residents should store water containers off the ground and cement in a cool, dark place. People should also place a few containers in a freezer to provide ice if the electricity goes off.

•Most city-treated water is safe for storage without additives.

But to ensure the storage of quality water, people should use a chlorine or heat treatment process, explained Washburn.

To treat with chlorine, unscented liquid bleach may be added to disinfect. People should add eight drops or one-eighth of a teaspoon of bleach to one gallon of water.

To treat with heat, people should fill clean quart Mason jars and process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.

The heat treatment process provides a way to have safe drinking water and also use jars that may be sitting empty.

•Purchased bottled water is a quick and convenient way of building an adequate storage supply.

But the bottled products are not considered to be safer or purer than city-treated water, noted the USU family and consumer sciences specialist.

•In an emergency, local residents may need additional water.

If it becomes necessary, people should use water from pipes, ice cubes or hot water heaters, advised Washburn.

People should only use water from swimming pools, toilet tanks or waterbeds as a last resort and then only for purposes other than drinking since chemicals may be present.

•In some emergency situations, people may need to treat or purify contaminated water from lakes, runoff, streams or ground sources.

To treat or purify, people should boil the water for five minutes, cool, then pour back and forth to improve taste.

Chemical treatments may also be effective, said Washburn.

A chlorine treatment of one-fourth of a teaspoon or 16 drops of unscented bleach may be used.

The water should be allowed to sit for 30 minutes and then checked for cloudiness.

If it is cloudy, people should repeat the chemical treatment and let the water stand for 15 minutes.

A slight chlorine odor should be present, explained the USU Extension family and consumer sciences specialist. But if the water does not become clear, people should not use it.

For a treatment, people should use eight drops of bleach per gallon of water, reiterated Washburn.

For purification purposes, people should use 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water.

•Water purification tablets are an option, but the shelf life of products should be checked.

Commercial water treatment units may also be used, following the directions carefully. Additional treatments may be needed.

Consumers should be aware that there is no effective way to decontaminate water that contains radioactive chemicals or fallout, stressed Washburn.

For more information, residents may contact the county's USU Extension office.

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