Major disaster such as flood, landslide or earthquake can make your household drinking water supply unsuitable for drink, and dangerous for health. Emergency drinking water treatment after disaster is very important, because your activities that are related to water cannot stop even during disaster. Drinking water you use to daily hydration, making baby’s formula milk and cooking must be hygienic, and there are several solutions for water source problem after major disaster.
When disaster such as flood happens, water sources such as well and aquifer can get contaminated with animal waste, trash, dirt, human sewage, mud, and other contaminants. Therefore, you need to be careful when handling the water supply after disaster. Never use contaminated water to bathe, drink, make milk, cook, make ice, and wash dishes or clothes.
First Drinking Water Treatment Step after Disaster
If you live in a neighborhood with public water system, the facility usually has emergency plan related to water supply and drinking water treatment for public consumption. The plan should follow regional, state and national regulations about proper responses to disaster. However, sometimes you must also do some drinking water treatment steps yourself with water in your house especially in you are in dire need for water.
Here are some drinking water treatment steps after disaster to secure good water:
- Boiling the water. You can boil the water after straining it (if it is cloudy). Use clean paper towel, cloth or coffee filter to strain the water or just let it sit and use the surface clean water. Boil the water and let it boiling some more for about 1 minute (or 3 minutes if you are in 6,500 feet of elevation). Make sure to keep the water in clean container.
- Having household water filter is a great solution for instant drinking water treatment after disaster. Depends on the filter type, many portable products can filter parasites as well as bacteria, which are great to get potable drinking water.
- Using chlorine. This is a popular drinking water treatment chemical also used in public water system, and you can use this to disinfect water when boiling is not possible. You can add 1/8 spoon of unscented household chlorine bleach into a gallon of clean water or ¼ spoon of the same product into a gallon of cloudy water. Stir and wait for 30 minutes before drinking.
- Using iodine or iodine tablets. These products are popular among outdoor activity lovers, and you can use them to disinfect water after disaster. Just like using chlorine, you need to wait for about 30 minutes before drinking the water, but the downside is that the taste might be a bit affected.
Do not forget to store the water in good container with lids to secure your water supply after each drinking water treatment.
Remember, although all these drinking water treatment steps are important to get drinking water supply after disaster, but these methods are not effective against contaminants such as toxic chemicals, fuel, poison and virus.