Purifying Water
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“Purifying Water,” Ensign, Dec. 2006, 67

Purifying Water

If you have used all your potable water in an emergency, what can you do? Following are simple water purification methods recommended at www.providentliving.org. To help you better remember the information should the need arise, cut out this article and laminate or seal it in a plastic bag, to be stored in your emergency kit.

  • Filtration. Find the cleanest water available. Let any particles in the water settle first, or strain them through layers of clean cloth or paper towel. There are many good water filters available. The activated charcoal type can also remove bad tastes. Some models add chemicals to kill bacteria.

  • Boiling. Bring water to a rolling boil for three to five minutes. The higher the elevation, the longer the water should be boiled. To improve the flavor once it’s cooled, put oxygen back into the water by pouring it back and forth between containers.

  • Chemical. Use 8 drops (1/2 teaspoon) of household liquid bleach (5 percent sodium hypochlorite) per gallon of water if the water is clear and not already chlorinated. Add 16 drops (1 teaspoon) of household bleach per gallon if water is cloudy. Before using, let water stand for 30 minutes. If you prefer, you can also purchase effective treatment chemicals from most outdoor supply stores.

  • Distillation. Unlike the other water purification methods above that remove only microbes, this technique will also remove other contaminants. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you begin by filling a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the pot lid’s handle so that the cup will hang right-side-up over the water when the lid is placed upside down on the pot. Check that the cup is not touching the water. Boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips into the cup is distilled. You can also purchase distillation equipment, but it can be expensive.