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TIPS: How to maintain water sanitation during times of a crisis

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During the water emergency, it is important to maintain water sanitation when using water collected in reusable containers from emergency water stations or collected from other sources. 

(CLICK HERE FOR WATER DISTRIBUTION SITES)

The West Virginia University Kanawha County Extension Service is offering tips for water storage. Any recycled food-grade container, such as milk jugs, juice containers and soda bottles can be used for water storage following cleaning and disinfecting. 

 

  • Containers used to collect water should be cleaned and disinfected prior to use if they have not been appropriately cleaned before the emergency. 
  • The CDC recommends a disinfection solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach per quart of water for disinfecting containers. 
  • Shake the solution in the container to make sure all surfaces are coated and allow to sit for thirty seconds. 
  • Pour the solution out (you can reuse it in another container) and allow the container to air dry if clean water is not available for rinsing. 

 

Studies show that white vinegar can also be used as a disinfectant.  Let the vinegar sit in the container for 10 minutes at room temperature for sanitation and air dry.

In times of extended crisis, or if water is not immediately available to you, water collected from clean running streams and creeks can be disinfected for use in drinking.

 

  • The recommended method is to boil the water vigorously for one minute, followed by straining through cheesecloth or coffee filters. 
  • Common, unscented household bleach may also be used if boiling is not possible. Consult the label for the percentage of chlorine in the solution and add the following to one quart of water (double if the water is cloudy): 
  • 1% chlorine = 10 drops
  • 4-6% chlorine = 2 drops
  • 7-10% chlorine = 1 drop
  • Mix the bleach into the water and let stand for 30 minutes.  If the smell of chlorine is still present, the water is disinfected.  The aroma and taste of chlorine will dissipate within hours. 

 

Tincture of iodine may also be used to disinfect water. Add five drops to each quart of water (10 if cloudy) and let sit for 30 minutes. 

For the latest updates on the water crisis click here for our dedicated page.