Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Emergency Preparedness - Water Storage Containers

I'm one of those people that prefers to be prepared for interruptions in our daily life whether it is caused by something man-made or by Mother Nature. Water for drinking is the most important item we can have on hand no matter what.

Many people, myself included, re-use clear plastic juice containers for water storage after sanitizing them with an unscented chlorine bleach solution. Currently I have over 300 gallons of water stored in re-purposed containers and commercially produced bottled water. My preferred bottled water is Deer Park because it is not produced by reverse osmosis simply from another city's municipal water supply. It is advertised, at least, to actually come from natural springs in Pennsylvania.

I have been considering purchasing a 55 gallon blue barrel for additional water storage, however, if we had to leave, I could not take that water supply with us. It is simply too heavy. I decided that I currently have a sufficient quantity of water stored to carry me and my immediate family through the typical unexpected service interruptions. I still wanted something that gave me more quantity than what I have, and it needed to be relatively easily to transport in case we had to leave our home.

I could find five-gallon jugs with blue-tabbed pull-off tops that you removed to access the water, but I had watched a Sheriff's Disaster Preparation video that said it was better to have containers with screw tops on them to use for long term storage. After doing some searching for these screw top containers for a couple of months, I found five-gallon jugs available in a K-Mart retail store for $11.98 each. It did not appear that those tops were sealed on securely at the factory, so I didn't buy them. So I kept searching on and off and came upon some at, you guessed it, Walmart. They had four of the five-gallon jugs on the shelf in the water filter section, which is by the paint and light bulb aisles. I bought them all after reading the label and found that they were "Made in the USA" and were BPA-free! In addition to those great facts, they only cost $6.94 each, had built-in handles, and the tops were shrink-wrapped onto the containers at the factory.That was much better than the $11.98 unsealed K-Mart ones that would have ended up having to be ordered online by me and picked up in the store because the manager wouldn't order them for me.

Now the reason that I wanted those in addition to my stored water is that I am going to sanitize them and keep them stored empty. When a natural event is on the way, such as a winter storm, hurricane, nor'easter or snowstorm, I can fill them and have them ready just in case. When filled, they would sit out on the floor and not on a shelf, because by already having over 300 gallons of water stored, there is really no additional shelf space available. My water is stored on the second floor of our home in areas over top of the bearing walls of the first floor. I bought eleven of these, so now I can easily take the equivalent of a 55 gallon drum of water with us if we have to leave.

Here is a picture of some of the containers and the label information:

I compared the cost and ease of the use of these jugs against "water-boxes" that are available at many online preparedness stores. When comparing cost, they are within a few cents of each other. But when it comes to ease of use and confidence that it won't leak, these Walmart jugs beat the water-boxes hands down! Some of the sellers even say that when filling the containers, to be careful and not get water on the boxes. What does that tell you! When cardboard gets exposed to moisture, it soaks it up like a sponge. But the problem is that if one water box leaks, most of the surrounding water boxes will be exposed to the moisture, and the potential for losing the integrity of the cardboard of all of those boxes is very high. Who would want to have to be constantly wondering about the integrity of their stored water supply? If you have ever tried to pick up a water-soaked cardboard box, you will recall that it turns mushy, almost slimy, and then completely comes apart.  Then it would be like trying to pick up a five-gallon water-filled balloon, except the Mylar won't stretch. It will either tear at the points of contact with your fingers or just split at the seams when you end up dropping it. Either way, it isn't a good situation.

In summary, when contemplating storing water for emergencies, it is important to consider all the possibilities of what problems could arise from the choices you make. Think of the possibilities beforehand, and then you will make better decisions. Perhaps these water jugs would be the right thing for your water storage. It's up to you to weigh the facts and then make your decision.

Thanks for visiting, and have a great prepping day!
Bob Hotaling


Brian said...

Good info ! I have an above ground pool as a cistern, but decided you have a good point about storing empty water containers for mobility use

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your comment! These days, it seems like we become more and more unsure of what the next few hours bring. Congratulations on keeping an alert mind when it comes to looking out for you and yours.
Stay safe and be prepared.
Bob Hotaling

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