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Saturday, May 5, 2012

How often does water need to be rotated? Part 1

After recommending that people fill their own containers with tap water, I was asked this question:

"How often does the water need to be rotated?"

My answer:

The information from is given below.  I marked in red the parts that apply to your question. Notice that they don't give any guidelines for how often to rotate the water. 

I think you need to realize that MOST of the water we will be using during a disaster will be for bathing, washing dishes, flushing toilets, and doing laundry.  A smaller proportion of the water will be for drinking and cooking.  I would consider most of your stored water to be perfectly acceptable for washing, even if it has never been rotated.  

To be safe, you might want to limit yourself to DRINKING only the more recently stored water, or to drinking commercially packaged water.  Personally, I might be using my camping water filter on the stored water I drink.  But I won't worry about using it for bathing and laundry, even if it is several years old.  I have had city tap water stored in 55 gallon barrels for several years, and when I dumped it to rotate it, it still looked and smelled good.  --Amy

Drinking Water

Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply may be polluted or disrupted. 
If water comes directly from a good, pretreated source, then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pretreat water before use. Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soda.
Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

Water Storage

Commercially bottled water in PETE (or PET) plastic containers may be purchased. Follow the container’s “best if used by” dates as a rotation guideline. Avoid plastic containers that are not PETE plastic.
If you choose to package water yourself, consider the following guidelines:
Use only food-grade containers. Smaller containers made of PETE plastic or heavier plastic buckets or drums work well.
Clean, sanitize, and thoroughly rinse all containers prior to use. A sanitizing solution can be prepared by adding 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to 1 liter (one quart) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.
Do not use plastic milk jugs, because they do not seal well and tend to become brittle over time.
Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products.
Water Pretreatment
Water from a chlorinated municipal water supply does not need further treatment when stored in clean, food-grade containers.
Non-chlorinated water should be treated with bleach. Add 8 drops of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) for every 4 liters (one gallon) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.
Containers should be emptied and refilled regularly.
Store water only where potential leakage would not damage your home or apartment.
Protect stored water from light and heat. Some containers may also require protection from freezing.
The taste of stored water can be improved by pouring it back and forth between two containers before use.

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