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Four Simple Water Purification Methods

Water is a precious resource and our bodies need it in order to survive.  What would you do if you suddenly found yourself in an emergency situation without clean water? By being prepared and knowing what do in an emergency you can make your own purified water to sustain you.

There are simple ways to obtain water and purify it so that it is safe to drink.  First, what sources would you be able to find water from?  Alternate water sources in an emergency include ice from your freezer or water from water pipes (if you are trapped in your home without water), ponds, lakes, streams, etc. Do not ever drink flood water though. 

The purification techniques that are acceptable for killing bacteria are as follows:

  • First, boiling is the easiest way to purify water without any chemicals or additives is to boil it. All it takes is 1 minute of a constant rolling boil and your water will be purified.  However, if you are without electricity or an alternate heat source, boiling may not be an option.
  • Next, Iodine right out of your first aid kit can also be used. Approximately 20 to 40 drops can do the trick, depending on the murkiness of the water. Be sure to let it stand for 30 minutes before drinking.  Most people don’t keep iodine on hand so using bleach; a common household cleaner is probably the best alternative method.
  • Another method, called distillation, is the best way to purify water.  However, it takes much longer.  Distillation consists of collecting the steam that comes off a boiling pot of water - the condensation, when cooled, is almost completely sterilized.  As you can imagine, it would take quite a lot of time to collect the steam to consume.
  • Finally, tiny amounts of bleach can also purify water. As mentioned above, this is probably the easiest method aside from boiling.  The appropriate ratio of bleach to water is 16 drops of regular, household bleach per gallon of water.  Seal the container tightly, let it set 30 minutes then check it.  The water should have a slight bleach odor to it.  If it does not, seal the container and let it sit for an additional 15 minutes.  Repeat the process until the bleach odor is present before drinking. Always use plain bleach, not the scented type.

To improve the taste of the water if you’ve purified using iodine or bleach, pour the water between two containers to allow the oxygen to circulate through it. This helps provide a better taste.