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5 Water Storage Myths

April 14, 2019 4 min read


Since storing water can be very different from storing food, there are many things you need to consider if you’re new to storing water. Water storage needs to be protected against many factors like: viruses, contamination, and bacteria. Taking a number of different measures to protect your water from these threats than just like you would with your food storage supply. Here are 5 common myths and facts about water storage that you’ll need to consider as you start your water storage supply.

   Myth #1: Water has a shelf life and can expire.

Water Storage Fact: Water does not expire. It can, however, become contaminated either chemically or biologically. It does not actually “go bad.” Water can have a stale taste, but this taste can be eliminated by rotating your water and purifying it. If a water storage source is in ideal conditions and it started out clean and was stored in a dark, cool area, not directly on concrete or near harsh fumes and chemicals, it technically can store indefinitely. We do recommend rotating water for peace of mind or if there is any risk of contamination.

   Myth #2: It’s fine to store water in any type of plastic container.

Water Storage Fact: Water needs to be stored in a UV-resistant, food-grade plastic container or in metalized bags. Water storage barrels are usually blue for good reason. This color limits light exposure and biological growth such as bacteria and algae. This color also signifies that what is stored in the container is safe for human consumption. The safest containers to hold water in are polyethylene-based plastics, or plastics #1, #2, and #4. Our water barrels are made out of plastic #2 and, unlike some other companies, have never been used to store other items before they are sold to you. This type of plastic is good for long-term storage and is BPA-free and are the perfect way to store your water. To find out the number of plastic the container is made out of is by looking for this symbol on the bottom of containers: More helpful tips for storing water in plastic containers:

  • Never use milk jugs for water storage. Milk jugs are biodegradable, this means they will break down over time. Another issue is that milk contains live cultures, any that remain in your jug could make you extremely sick and you are putting yourself at risk if you store drinking/cooking water in milk jugs.
  • Disposable water bottles are not great for long-term storage because of the grade of plastic they are made of. If you need to store water in smaller bottles, use reusable Nalgene bottles.
  • Soda Bottles and Powerade/Gatorade bottles can be used for long-term water storage. It is important to note that plastics absorb flavors. There is a good chance that your drinking water may have a soda, sugar or other lingering tastes. If you store water in soda or sport drink type bottles, don’t use the water for cooking or else your soup might taste like sugar!

   Myth #3: By having a water barrel, I’m set for all emergencies.

Water Storage Fact: You can never solely rely on the barrel, even a 55 gallon one, for all the situations you may encounter. For example, if you are forced to evacuate, you won’t be able to carry a water barrel that heavy with you. Also, if you only have one barrel or one water source you may run out of water given the number of people in your family and the number of days that you will be without water. Remember that the average amount of water to store is one gallon per day per person for a full 2-week period. Store water in various sized containers and plan for different situations (grab-and-go, shelter-in-place, extra water for cooking, etc.). You can siphon the water from your barrel into other containers and refill it before emergencies arise.

   Myth #4: Stacking Water Barrels On Cement Is The Best Way To Store Them.

Water Storage Fact: Most water barrels are not built to stack on each other. If you want to stack your water because you don’t have room, use water containers with grooves on the bottom for stacking. Water barrels are safest if they are stored standing. However, do not store your barrel directly on cement or on the floor in your garage. Plastics absorb flavors and odors from gasoline, liquids spilled on the floor, and chemicals used to create the concrete. These chemicals and odors will make the taste of the water unbearable to drink. Instead, place your water barrel on top of a wood board or cardboard so that odors and chemicals do not leach in.

   Myth #5: If I have a water purifier, I don’t need a filter.

Water Storage Fact: Water purifiers like our Aquamira Water Treatments will kill 99.9% of all microorganisms (like protozoa, bacteria, and viruses) in your water. Aquamira is excellent for sheltering-in-place, and also great for treating water from your barrels or water you collect from streams or rivers while hiking. However, purifiers alone won’t remove particulates (dirt, silt, “floaties,” and chemicals) from your water, so we recommend using a purifier and filter together to make sure your water is clean (especially if you are collecting water for drinking and washing, but particulates are ok if you use soap while washing.) If you’re a first-time barrel buyer remember that you’ll want to buy a water storage combo. Each combo includes a bung wrench, (a bung is the white cap on top of your water barrel), and water purifiers for maintenance.