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?