Emergency Water Treatment

Monday, June 3, 2013 - by Water2Drink

Emergency Drinking Water - What You Can Do in an Emergency

Have you ever been in a situation where the water supply to your home has been interrupted? Many people have experienced such a problem when a major storm disrupted their local water utility. Generally, the news services provide a warning that a potentially disruptive weather event is coming your way, but sometimes there is no warning. What will you do if this happens to you?

Just one real example of such an event occurred in Maryland on December 23, 2008 with no apparent warning. A massive 66-inch water pipe broke in the affluent Bethesda area, creating an overwhelming torrent of water that immediately endangered the lives of anyone who happened to be nearby. The outside temperature was in the 20’s and the local rescue teams had to work quickly to extract people from their cars using boats and helicopters. It appears that everyone involved made it out safely. But what about the water supply to all the affected homes and businesses?

In this instance, residents were fortunate that the local water authority was able to redirect the water supply and restore service the same day. However, in many instances, an emergency like this one results in a disruption to water delivery that lasts for days. If you have ever been in this situation, you know that even a day without water seems like a lifetime, being unable to flush a toilet or find safe water to drink.

Once water service is restored, life can return to normal – almost. Sometimes the disruption creates a breach in the water line that allows contaminants to enter the water supply. Even after the authorities declare the water “safe,” prudent people may want to take extra precautions, like boiling their tap water before consuming it. The Environmental Protection Agency has published guidelines on its public web site that you may find useful regarding how to handle “Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water” (see

Taking the EPA’s recommendations one big step further, you may want to ensure the quality of your disinfected water by pushing it through a compressed carbon block water filter before drinking it. Multipure International manufacturers excellent filters for this purpose that have a lifetime warranty (see, and they also offer an emergency hand pump to make the job easier. You can disconnect the input line on your water filter and attach it to the hand pump. Putting the water pump input line into the disinfected water and then applying a bit of elbow grease will produce gallons of clean drinking water that you will be quite pleased with.

Please be prepared – it’s an “emergency” because you never know when it may happen to you!

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