Making potable water from floodwater…NO

As I sit down to write this article, the United States is still reeling from a double hit from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
On top of that, Hurricane José still may be a threat to the northeast of the United States at this time.

I see a lot of talk about purifying water to drink from floodwater. It upsets me to see some of the questions and answers that I have read, and some of the advice that has been given.

People have ideas that they come up with, to treat floodwater, for making it potable. Suggestions I have read include, boiling the water, distilling the water and filtering the water.
In this article I hope to point out to you, why I disagree with these methods, for the average person.

Those that know me understand that I am a big supporter of filters such as Sawyer water filters. I personally have drunk out of many bodies of water, and my idea of taking care of water is to boil and filter for most of my situations. ALWAYS get you water from the cleanest source you can find!

However, floodwater is a different ballgame. Floodwater contains many different things depending on where the flood occurred:
If the flood was in a city where you would have gasoline, oil, human waste, dirt or rotten food,
If the flooding were in a place such as Japan, with Fukushima, you may have flooded radioactive waste,
Floodwater from farms and fields may have pesticides and herbicides fertilizer and waste from animals.

All of these floodwaters can have roadway contaminants, bacteria, heavy metals, herbicides, rusty pipes, products from households and industrial buildings or automobiles that have been flooded.

To remove all of these products from your water a simple boiling a simple distillation or simple filtering will not work.

Testing is done on most floodwaters, in most floodwaters they have found the following list:
bacteria
oil
paint
gas
diesel
kerosene
tar
salt
fertilizer
human and animal waste
drywall
To name a few contaminants…and the list goes on.

Most filters that are bought on the market that are available to the average person, at a reasonable amount, will not remove all of these products.

Boiling water will kill the bacteria, but will not remove pesticides and other chemicals.

Distilling the water will remove a lot of the heavy metals but still some things such as gas and certain oils will evaporate and re-condensed with the water.

There are larger machines out there that can be purchased for very high dollars that will remove 99% of these contaminants from floodwater. These machines are normally bought by cities and rescue organizations because of their cost, not the average person.

What I’m trying to say in this article is that your best defense for having drinkable water in a flood is to have bottled water in advance. That also means being able to move that bottle water to keep it out of the flood, so that the bottles themselves, do not become contaminated on the outside.

This is why I suggest that people have cases (multiple) of bottled water from 8 ounces up to 32 ounce sizes in their homes. I suggest these sizes, because the cases can be broken down, and the bottles can be moved individually. Smaller bottles can be handed easier than a 1 gallon container.

You have to be able to physically move the cases of water with you. If you have water stored in 55 gallon drums you’re not going to pick it up and move it to your roof. You’re also probably not going to pick up a 55 gallon drum of water, and move it to your truck or vehicle to take it with you.

Preparing yourself and your loved ones in advance, is a major key for survival.

The old saying is “You can survive for three days without water.”
Here’s a test.. Go 10 hours without a drink and let me know how you feel, sitting comfortably in your home, in your air-conditioning.
After you’ve done this test, think about what you would have to do in an emergency situation. The activity would have to perform, and the stress you would be under.
After you test yourself, could you imagine making your children go without something to drink for that time?

Think about this:
If sick or overheated, an infant can die within a few hours. A child or small adult can be overcome in 12 hours. The average adult can die within 24 to 36.
Three days without water, only applies if you are not moving around, in comfortable surroundings and not under stress or sickness.
An adult in comfortable surroundings in contrast can survive for a week or more with no or very limited water intake, as long as they are in good health, and not exerting themselves. But in no way will it be enjoyable.

So my advice to you, is to have multiple cases of water on hand. This way in the event of a hurricane, tornado or other disaster, you will have clean drinking water readily available.
Storing water in larger containers from 1 gallon and up is a good idea, but being able to transport them is questionable.

In a survival situation you may have to move. Drinkable water is a survival item you must have.

Rich@AroundTheCabin.com
9/16/17

1 Comment on "Making potable water from floodwater…NO"

  1. what a brilliant post, at long last the breath of common sense reaches the masses. there is no one way to treat water but a collection of seperate processes that when combined performs the task required. each needs specific equipment and skills to be done correctly, thank you for your post

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