Food storage is a common topic these days, especially since the world seems to be throwing its finest-disaster curve balls at us lately. Being prepared for an emergency situation is a machine with many working parts. We have come a long way since the days of living in caves and wrasslin up lunch with our bare hands, and we have grown accustomed to certain luxuries. We are lucky though; food storage today includes certain items that allow us to maintain those comforts even in a crisis situation. Ingredients are better, tastier, and come in a wider variety.
However, this isn’t about the tremendous improvements in flavor and quality that food storage has made in the past few years; this is about the importance of water. More specifically; this is about the why, when, and how you should be rotating your water storage on a regular basis.
Two words: bacteria and algae. If these two little buggers decide to start setting up shop inside your water containers, you now are the proud owner of an undrinkable water source. If you have purchased your water at a store, make sure you are paying attention to the expatriation date on the container. Although water does not “expire,” the plastic that is used contains BPA.
BPA (bisphenol A) is an industrial chemical that has been used to make plastics and resins since the 1960’s. The possible health effects from being overexposed to this chemical can be on brain function, behavior of prostate glands in fetuses, infants, and small children and in some cases it has been linked to forms cancer.
Studies have shown that ingesting small amounts of BPA is basically harmless (think water bottles), but if the water source you completely rely on is constantly exposed to it, there is the possibility of ingesting harmful amounts. The risk is not worth the outcome.
If you store your water properly, in a dark and cool area, you could actually get away with rotating your water rarely or possibly never. However, as a good rule of thumb, you should be checking your water once or twice a year.
What are you checking for?
- Musty or sour smell
- Build up or crust around the edges
- Container bulging
- Murky or cloudy consistency
This part is simple. First, find an area that is open and can get wet, such as the driveway, garage, or lawn. Second, get a bucket of warn water and add mild soap. Third, using a cloth that has some scratchiness to it, scrub the inside of your container thoroughly. Fourth, rinse and repeat until you feel like you have banished all harmful elements. Make sure you rinse your container well, it is important to make sure no soap residue or chemicals remain inside.
Treating and Preserving Your Water Storage
- Store in a dark and cool place, basements are the obvious choice
- Keep your water in an opaque container. This will help you easily see any issues that may start to form
- Treat your water with chlorine, bleach, or water preserve
Keep in mind, chlorine and bleach can be a tricky way to treat water. Adding too much of these chemicals can be harmful and adding too little won’t be very effective. This is the “Goldilocks” way of treating water; you have to get it just right. If you don’t want the hassle that comes with chlorine and bleach, you can use a water purifier. With one small bottle, you can treat up to 55 gallons of water and this will extend your shelf-life from 1 year to 5.
Even though there are techniques out there that allow you to treat and preserve your water, it is still a smart idea to check your water from time to time. Better safe than thirsty.