Water and a way we treat it...post SHTF

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Falcon15, May 27, 2011.

  1. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Not too long ago I posted a blog entry (based on an article I wrote) about the importance of water as a prep.

    Here I want to discuss a specific type of water treatment that is shelf stable, lightweight, and easy to use.

    Calcium Hypochlorite - AKA pool shock (make sure you buy the full strength - 78% Chlorine - without algae preventive added, you can get this at most pool supply stores or big box marts). Cheap, easy to handle, readily available, and easy to use, and NOT HAZARDOUS (except to maybe stupid sheeple).

    A 1 pound bag costs about $3.00, and treats (at full strength) *drumroll* approximately 12,000 gallons of pool water!. The up side is that it is a powder, and lasts forever. It weighs a pound, but you can get a 5 bag box from Wally World for about $12-$15 (that is enough powdered chlorine to disinfect approximately 60,000 gallons of pool water).

    It never goes bad or loses it's potency while it is in an unopened package (liquid chlorine eventually loses its effectiveness, as the dissolved Chlorine Dioxide evaporates into a gaseous state, the fumes are explosive, also, a gallon jug of the stuff weighs, what? 8 pounds?). Additionally, when liquid bleach is stored at 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit the shelf life is only 6 months. Every year after that it degrades in strength by 20% until all you are left with is salt and water. Meaning, it loses its potency over time. Storing at temperatures much higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit could cause the bleach to lose its effectiveness and degrade more rapidly. However, for water sterilization, you require 6% sodium hypochlorite (full strength liquid bleach), you should change your supply every 3 months.

    Calcium hypochlorite is A: shelf stable, B: able to be mixed in small batches, C: is always at full strength since it is mixed directly as needed, and D: One pouch weighs 1 pound.

    Using granular calcium hypochlorite to disinfect water is a two step process.

    * To make a stock of chlorine solution (do not drink this!) dissolve 1 heaping teaspoon (about one-quarter of an ounce) of granular calcium hypochlorite for each two gallons (eight liters) of water.

    * To disinfect water add one part of the chlorine solution to 100 parts water to be treated. (1 gallon "bleach" disinfects 100 gallons water)

    * Let the mixture sit for at least one-half hour before drinking.

    Just an FYI - there are 96 teaspoons (approximate) in one pound. That is 38,400 gallons of treated drinking water in one tiny pound of this stuff, since the dilution is different than pool use. Using it at the strengths for shocking a pool (full strength) would result in a dead survivalist.

    It should be noted that I treat the created bleach solution just like sodium hypochlorite (regular old liquid bleach), as far as shelf life goes. Better to be safe than sorry.

    I also recommend you bring your water to a boil first, to kill the lively critters, and help settle the particulate. Let cool fully, strain or filter, then add the bleach solution you made (1:100 ratio - which is to say 3 tablespoons of bleach solution to one gallon of water).

    One $12.00 box of this stuff (5 of the 1 pound bags) is enough to make 192,000 gallons of "bleach" treated water. That is a pretty sweet deal if you are in a place where you have access to water, don't have room for huge containers, and still want clean drinking water. Plus, you can take this with you if you have to bug-out or leave your <acronym title="Bug out Location">BOL</acronym>. It is extremely portable and easy to use.

    Additionally, I have prepared several "trade" bags. I put 1/2 pound of calcium hypochlorite in a ziplock, with laminated "direction for use" cards and then put in a vacuum bag and vacuum seal it closed. What is it worth to someone to be able to disinfect water, clean their tighty whiteys, bleach cloth diapers, sterilize bandage material, clean your cooking and eating utensils, and overall maintain a semblance of reasonable cleanliness?
  2. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    good info falcon, thanks muchly
    ima get some o dat
  3. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    BTW, take chlorine treated water and stir it on and off while it sets open to the air
    this will make the chlorine evaporate, for those that worry about the chlorine taste and effects
    had to do this to a lot of water at the fishfarm. chlorine kills fish
    warning, it dont happen fast but it does help
  4. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Alternatively, you can allow the treated water to sit in an open container for 24 hours. If you fill a fish tank with straight tap water without adding a de-chlorination chemical, you can allow the water in the tank to sit for 24 hours and the chlorine levels will evaporate to "safe for fish" levels. Chlorine is very volatile.

    Additionally, if you have clear bottles and a good flat surface in full sunlight, you can use the UV radiation put out by the sun to purify your water, chemical free. It seems that a standard 1 liter water bottle (clear and without a label), if left in direct sunlight for 6 hours, allows in enough UV radiation to "sterilize" the water in the bottle.

    This is called the SODIS method and has been used with extremely good results in places like Africa.

    Personally, I will probably do both the chlorine and SODIS method. Standard water purification plants use a combination of chlorine and UV to purify what comes out of your tap.
    chelloveck and beast like this.
  5. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    now all we need is one of those double bucket filters......lol
  6. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Sapper John, tacmotusn and Brokor like this.
  7. beast

    beast backwoodsman

  8. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    We have pool chlorine and always have an extra gallon of unscented liquid on hand.
    I have a couple of filters also; they are good to have. There is a stream down at the bottom; I've taken samples to the County and it tests clean.
  9. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    There is a great article in May/June 2011 issue of Backwoodsman that covers the back-up water supplies for a homestead. Its a good read.
    Falcon15 likes this.
  10. Dovey

    Dovey Monkey++

    I have read that you can add a little ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to the water you treat and it makes it taste better.
  11. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    a solar water still is quite simple to make, if you need one
    a good watertight box, a catch trough and a clean glass lid
    the box holds your dirty water
    the glass goes over top and seals all but the low edge
    beyond the low wedge is your trough
    the water evaps in the sun
    condenses on the glass
    runs downhill and drips into the trough
    it dont make a lot of clean water fast, but it works
  12. Barbosa

    Barbosa Monkey+

    I would like to add that Calcium Hypochlorite is:
    Decomposes if boiled.
    Reactive with combustible materials, organic materials, acids and
    An oxidizer
    Extreme skin irritant

    It has a very strong Chlorine smell and can actually irritate your nose and sinuses. I work for a city water dept and use this quite a bit. If you accidentally sprinkle some on your clothes, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll have white spots on your clothes the next time you wash them.

    eta: Here's the MSDS
    ATSDR - Medical Management Guidelines (MMGs): Calcium Hypochlorite/Sodium Hypochlorite

    Don't confuse this with Sodium Hypochlorite solution, which is known as bleach.
    It's one thing to shock your pool or water dept's to use massive amounts of this stuff, but in a SHTF situation, better be very care with this stuff, because I don't know where one will find breathing treatments if he inhales too much fume...for example.
    Oh, and on the safe side, don't use this stuff when it's windy. Speaking of such, does anyone have an eye washing station in their retreat?
    ditch witch likes this.
  13. Barbosa

    Barbosa Monkey+

    Thought I'd add that cryptosporidia cysts must be exposed to direct sunlight for at least 10 hours before they are neutralized. Amoebas will not die until the water temperature has been warmer than 122 degrees (F) for over an hour.

    Forgot to add this:
    If your treated water has a chlorine taste in it, aerate it by pouring it into and out of a couple buckets until the taste improves. If you have energy available, you could always use a fish tank aerator for 30 minutes or so.
  14. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Barbosa: Allowing any (chlorine) treated water to sit in an open for 24 hours allows the chlorine to dissipate totally. Aeration and agitation mask the taste - it does not remove the chlorine. As for your statements about the Cryptosporidia - they are indeed rendered inactive after ten hour exposure to direct sunlight (that will will kill any cysts): Link. However - amoebas are rendered inactive by exposure any temperature over 122 F (50 Celcius) for one hour, not six.

    Sodium Hypochlorite - common household bleach- also has MSDS sheets. It is also:

    Additionally, I outlined the exact measures and how to create small amounts of liquid safely. You work with large, industrial quantities of Calcium Hypochlorite. The amounts I have given are less than the average Joe Suburb uses on a monthly basis to shock his backyard pool. Caution is great, precaution is fine, but you are selling fish oil here, bub.
    Sapper John likes this.
  15. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Sodium Chloride - common household bleach- also has MSDS sheets. It is also:

    Sodium Chloride - NaCl - common table salt.......

    Just sayin'......
  16. Barbosa

    Barbosa Monkey+

    Actually, Falcon, chlorine will dissipate in an enclosed and totally darkened pipe, in a few days.
    As for aeration, I am in error and can't believe I said that, having worked in a water department for the last 10 years. Yes, aeration improves the taste.

    Amoeba...Now e have two different sources, one that 6 hours and one that says 1 hour. I would play it safe and go for the 6 hours.

    I think it would be helpful to everyone to keep a list of MSDS for all chemicals and hazardous materials they store away
  17. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Bleach - Sodium hypochlorite. Definitely NOT salt. Fatal consequences if confused.

    Ym will NOT v on this one.
  18. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    thank ya. Had a Senior Moment.
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