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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Water Storage and More


Since I am still dealing with limited typing and I have been receiving so many questions, I have decided that until I can type again I will forgo the posting schedule I had and just answer your questions and deal with immediate concerns. Thank you so much for all the questions and comments. I am sure when you have a question there are a dozen people out there with the same question who just haven’t asked it yet.

Water storage:

Water should never be stored in milk jugs. There are two reasons, first, they are porous and chemicals can easily leach into your water. Milk jugs are designed to begin biodegrading as soon as they are manufactured. This leads to the second reason they are poor containers for storage. They will leak. I knew this and I purchased some water in milk jug type, containers to have on hand when we were anticipating a power outage. We had the outage but I failed to use all the water. You guessed it, one day I went into the garage and the bottle had biodegraded and leaked all over the sewing machine cabinet on which it was sitting. Lesson learned.

Speaking of leaking, if you have read the section in Mother Hubbard on water storage you know that water should never be stored on concrete. Just in case you haven’t heard that before it is worth a mention. Plastic containers, any plastic, should not be stored directly on a concrete floor. Always place a wooden board, a few layers of carpeting, an old metal rack, something on the floor first. Concrete absorbs water from the ground beneath it. Concrete contains many poisonous chemicals and as it absorbs ground water these can leach into plastic containers. You would not taste them when drinking the water or when using it to prepare foods but they could make you sick.

Storing water in hard plastic juice containers and soda bottles is fine. They are constructed in a higher grade plastic and are good storage containers. Be sure to clean them well and if you ever open a container that has mold or particles floating in it use it only to water outdoor plants or to flush a toilet.

Storing water in old detergent containers and using the water to wash your hands is a tricky question. If you have small children I wouldn’t risk it. No matter how well you labeled the bottle for hand washing only, I would be afraid a child might drink it. Gosh, they’ll drink the detergent! If you are all adults in your home I don’t see a problem with doing this, just label it well, for two reasons, you don’t want anyone drinking or cooking with it and you also don’t want to assume you have a supply of detergent when you really have water.

55 gallon drums…It is very, very difficult to get syrup out of a drum. You will need to clean them several times and let the bleach sit in the barrel for a day or two before you rinse it out. Fill the barrels about 1/4 full with a bleach and water mixture. Rotate the barrels and be sure you turn it upside down and let it sit, as it is really hard to clean inside the top. I would not count on this water for drinking or cooking. It should be reserved for cleaning, toilet flushing and watering a garden. If you are purchasing used water barrels be aware that the barrel will absorb the flavor of the item originally stored in it, so, a pickle barrel will leave the water tasting like pickles, etc. NEVER, NEVER store water in a barrel that has been used for anything except a food ingredient.

The best way to store water is in glass, which is why I recommend filling your canning jars with water as you empty them. I know someone is going to send me a note and say glass breaks in an earthquake, yep, it will. If you live in earthquake country you should have your jars stored in boxes and you should have strips on your shelving to hold the boxes on the shelves. Where is earthquake country? Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Nevada, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, the Carolinas, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, the Virginias, New Jersey, New York and New England…Did you know that? Naturally some are more prone to earthquake than others, but some faults move so rarely residents are not aware that it can happen there also. One of the most dangerous faults in the US is the New Madrid which would cause massive damage in all those states surrounding Kentucky.

Speaking of canning jars…I understand there was a shortage of jars last year in some places and if you missed it, Jeanette commented that her stores were well stocked right now with jars. You may want to think about stocking up. It would be a good time to send an email around to all your family and friends and ask if anyone has any jars they are willing to part with before you purchase a bunch. I gave away lots a few years ago when my family started shrinking. Some older women may be willing to give you jars if you just return a % of them filled. As we prepare to garden we also need to think about how we will preserve what we grow.

Keep those questions coming and I will try to keep up with the answers.


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