Photo of Moldy drywall in a basement following a modest 6 inch flooding eventWhere Find Emergency Drinking Water
in Buildings After a Flood, Fire, Earthquake, or Hurricane

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Where to find drinking water in an emergency:

This emergency drinking water source bulletin outlines possible places to obtain safe drinking water in an emergency following a disaster such as an earthquake, flood, or fire and before rescue workers have arrived.

Our photo at page top shows some brownish water in a toilet tank: actually the water was fine, the stain was from iron and rust in the original water supply - materials accumulated on the interior of the toilet tank. The water we removed was clear and sanitary.

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.

Get Emergency Drinking Water after Area Flooding, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Fires

Sanitary water may be found in closed containers (C) Daniel FriedmanSome of the water sources listed below may be considered as desperate measures appropriate for people trapped in a building or those whom emergency relief workers have been unable to reach.

Watch out: before entering a building that has been affected by a disaster such as fire, earthquake, or flood, see BUILDING ENTRY PROCEDURE AFTER FLOODING for some safety warnings for occupants, building owners, or volunteers who may find themselves indoors in a disaster area and without immediate assistance from rescue workers or other experts.

How to obtain emergency drinking water after flooding:

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Advice If Using a Garden hose to collect emergency drinking water

Watch out: Do not collect water from a water heater, water pressure tank, or rooftop tank by using a garden hose that was contaminated by floodwaters unless the hose has been properly cleaned and disinfected. See WELL CHLORINATION SHOCKING PROCEDURE.

Question: Can we run a hose from our neighbors tank to ours until fixed?

Sep 9, 2016 at 9:28 AM [anonymous by private email] wrote:

We are out if water New well to be drilled soon. Can we run a hose from our neighbors tank to ours until fixed? Problem being they have a different setting than ours. Ours is lower will we blow the bladder in our tank?

Reply: how to use a garden hose connected to a neighbor's house as a temporary water source


As long as the neighbor's system pressure is under 70 psi you should be safe.

Because adding your home to the neighbor's well system will increase the water use of that well, you and your neighbor should also be sure that their own system is working properly lest the well be run dry or the pump damaged by short cycling on and off rapidly. Search for SHORT CYCLING WELL PUMP if that problem occurs.

You could if you like also isolate your own pump and tank from the neighbor's water system as follows:

  1. Turn off power to y our pump and leave it off.
  2. Turn off the shutoff valve between your water pressure tank and the building.
  3. Connect the neighbor's water system to yours by connecting a garden hose from the closest neighbor's outdoor hose bibb or similar hose connection to the closest hose bibb, laundry cold water hookup or similar hose connection on your house. To make this connection you'll need buy male-to-female hose adapter or to use a short section of washing machine hose to connect from the outlet end of the garden hose to the outdoor hose bibb, spigot or similar fitting on your home.
  4. Flush the hose thoroughly before drinking water that passes through it, or boil drinking water if you're in any doubt about the safety of the neighbor's water supply.

It is also possible to disinfect a suspect garden hose by filling it with a bleach solution, leaving the hose to sit for 24 hours.

Watch out: if your home has been submerged by floodwaters then its water supply piping, fixtures, faucets, outdoor hose faucets, etc. may have been contaminated by floodwaters. Those should be sanitized by disinfection before using them for drinking water and before connecting your building to another one for temporary water, since backflow from your building could also cross-contaminate the neighboring building.

Is There Lead in Your Garden Hose Used for Drinking Water?

Garden hose for water hookup (C) Daniel Friedman

How to Disinfect Water to Sanitize it For Drinking

Potable aqua drinking water purification tablets (C) Daniel FriedmanWatch out: Beware that most advice about purifying water, including the tips we have collected below, address only biological contaminants in water, such as bacteria.

Also if your water supply, such as from a private well, has been contaminated with a high concentration of sewage (unlikely but possible) then ordinary levels of disinfection may not be sufficient.

In that case it's safer to find drinking water that is either already safe to drink or is less contaminated such as water salvaged from a water heater tank - as we discuss beginning at DRINKING WATER EMERGENCY SOURCES

Watch out: But be careful. If your water supply has become contaminated by pesticides, heavy metals, or other chemicals that are spread by flood waters such as during the Houston Texas flooding in August & September 2017, simply disinfecting the water will not correct those unsafe conditions.

The principal methods used to purify water when camping or in an emergency include:

Drinking Water Purification Procedures: are described in detail at  DRINKING WATER - EMERGENCY PURIFICATION

and just below we list a complete catalog of approaches to disinfecting or sanitizing water for drinking.


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


Or see these

Emergency Drinking Water Sources & Treatment Methods

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DRINKING WATER EMERGENCY SOURCES at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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