When water is of questionable purity, it is easiest to use bottled water for drinking and
cooking if it is available. When it's not available, it is important to know how to treat
contaminated water. In addition to having a bad odor and taste, water from questionable
sources may be contaminated by a variety of microorganisms, including, bacteria and
parasites that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis. All
water of uncertain purity should be treated before use. Use one or a combination of
• Filter: Filter the water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid
• Boil: Bring it to a rolling boil for about one full minute. Cool it and pour it back
and forth between two clean containers to improve its taste before drinking it.
oAdd 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
Stir to mix. Sodium hypochlorite of the concentration of 5.25% to 6%
should be the only active ingredient in the bleach. There should not be any
added soap or fragrances. A major bleach manufacturer has also added
Sodium Hydroxide as an active ingredient, which they state does not pose
a health risk for water treatment.
oLet stand 30 minutes.
oIf it smells of chlorine. You can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add
16 more drops (1/8 teaspoon) of chlorine bleach per gallon of water, let
stand 30 minutes, and smell it again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it.
If it does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.
Flood water can also be contaminated by toxic chemicals. Do NOT try to treat flood