Signs of Contaminated Tap Water After an Earthquake
Purifying Contaminated Water
- Unscented liquid household bleach: Treat each gallon of clear water with 8 drops of chlorine bleach. If the water is cloudy, increase the concentration to 16 drops per gallon. Shake or stir the water and let it stand for 30 minutes before using it Avoid scented bleach, because the chemicals that create scents are harmful.
- Granular calcium hypochlorite: If you have a swimming pool, you can use the calcium hypochlorite you use to treat the pool water to purify your drinking water. The procedure involves two steps:
- Dissolve a heaping teaspoon of calcium hypochlorite granules into 2 gallons of water and stir until the granules have dissolved. It's best to wear eye protection when doing this.
- Add the bleach solution to contaminated water in a 1:100 ratio—that is, 1 part bleach for 100 parts water.
- Tincture of iodine: If you have 2 percent tincture of iodine in your medicine cabinet, add 5 drops to each quart of clear water. If the water is cloudy, add 10 drops.
Emergency Sources of Drinking Water
- The water heater: Screw a garden hose onto the drain plug and empty as much water as you need into a clean bucket. A 40-gallon tank holds an ample 3-day supply for the entire family.
- Toilet tanks: Siphon water out of the tanks using a hose or rubber tube. Do not use water that contains a disinfectant, and do not use water from the bowl.
- Ice cubes. Place any ice cubes you have in the freezer in a clean bucket and let them thaw.
- River or lake water: If you live near a large body of water, you may have to rely on it for drinking water. Draw water from areas in which it is flowing, not stagnant areas. Do not use discolored water or water on which any debris is floating.