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Water Storage

(Updated 6/25/13)

In a cool, dark place in your home, store one gallon of water per person per day for as long as you think you could be without water. Disaster supply kits should include a three-day supply of water for each family member. Plan to use your stored water for drinking, cooking, cleaning and hygiene.

Store water in clean containers with tight-fitting, screw-cap lids. Top off your water containers when filling them. To prevent water from tasting like the previous contents of a storage container, place a piece of plastic cellophane over the container opening before attaching the lid. You man need to pour the water back and forth into different containers to get oxygen back into the water to improve the flavor.

Check the recycling symbol and number to determine if the container is safe for long-term storage. Look for a 2 (high density polyethylene), 4 (low density polyethylene), or a 5 (polypropylene). These plastics won’t leach chemicals into the water over time.

The majority of plastic liquid and beverage containers that are available, including for bottled water, are stamped with a 1 (polyethylene terephthalate). Some studies have shown that these containers may leach toxic chemicals over time. These are not the best choice for long term water storage.

Avoid plastic containers with a 3, 6, or 7 in the symbol. Most studies concluded that these plastics will release dangerous chemicals after prolonged use. Do not use chlorine bleach bottles or empty milk jugs. They are not designed for long term storage.

If you question the purity of your water, bring it to a rumbling boil for 10 minutes before using it. Allow it to cool.

If the water you have stored was treated in a public water treatment facility, and if the lid stays tight until you use it, you should not need to treat the water further before using it. Keep your water in a dark, cool place.

USU Extension Service suggests that treated water, such as from a culinary system, may be stored indefinitely. Otherwise, rotate your water storage every six to seven years. Tooele County Emergency Services advises the use of good judgment in times of emergency. If you question the purity of your water because of the length of time it has been stored, boil it for 10 minutes.