Sanitary water may be found in closed containers (C) Daniel FriedmanHow to Purify or Sterilize Drinking Water
Emergency Water Supply After a Flood, Fire, or Earthquake Disaster

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Emergency drinking water supply:

This article series lists & describes the various methods to purify or sanitize drinking water in an emergency following a disaster such as an earthquake, flood, or hurricane.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

How to Treat or Purify Water to Sanitize it For Drinking

Home water distiller for emergency use if power is available (C) Daniel FriedmanBelow we list all known sources & methods for obtaining drinking water in an emergency, comparing the availability, ease of use, methods of use, cost and effectiveness of each method.

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Watch out: Beware that most advice about purifying water, including many of the emergency drinking water source and purification tips we have collected below, address only biological contaminants in water, such as bacteria.

That may be all that you're concerned about in many drinking water emergencies, but keep in mind the danger of chemical contaminants that are not addressed by such measures.

Article Series Contents

Health Warnings about Effective Drinking Water Purification

List of Principal Methods Used to Purify Drinking Water when Camping or in an Emergency

boiling water on stove top (C) Daniel Friedman

Each of the water purification methods listed below includes a link to more in-depth information including details of how the water purification method is used and comments on its effectiveness.

Watch out: Bleach will not kill Giardia in typical drinking water disinfection methods such as those discussed here. While chlorine can kill Giardia cysts if used in high enough concentration and for sufficient contact time, typically the chlorine concentration in water necessary for Giardia would be too high for drinking purposes.

The chlorine concentration that one would find in a swimming pool, levels of chlorine not suitable for drinking water consumption would require about 20 minutes to kill a Giardia cyst.

At WATER DISINFECTION LIMITATIONS we report that relying on household bleach as a disinfectant to kill Cryptosporidium cysts is a mistake too. Aquamira™ and Katadyn™ (Micropur) provide portable or field-use water treatment kits using chlorine dioxide.

Watch out: while colloidal silver can be effective as a disinfectant in some situations AND when prepared and used properly, it is not always effective and its use can have troubling health effects. Furthermore, not all colloidal silver impregnated filters are effective.

In August 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned colloidal silver sellers from claiming any therapeutic or preventive value for the product, noting that colloidal silver was being marketed for numerous diseases without evidence of safety or effectiveness.

In 2002, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) found that there were no legitimate medical uses for colloidal silver and no evidence to support its marketing claims. Given the associated safety risks, the TGA concluded that "efforts should be made to curb the illegal availability of colloidal silver products, which is a significant public health issue."[26].

Water purification procedures that can be used in an emergency are described in the text above and in individual links to detailed articles about each water purification method - we list these methods and links again in a list just below.

Watch out: If community or private wells are back in operating and providing water after a disaster, do not assume that the water is sanitary and ok to drink until responsible authorities have said so. Even then, local water pipes in a building may be unsanitary and additional cleaning or disinfection may be needed.
See WELL CHLORINATION SHOCKING PROCEDURE if you need to shock a well.


Continue reading at BLEACH DISINFECTANT for DRINKING WATER or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


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