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Purifying Water

Updates from the Public Service Districts and Boiling Water Advisories

Boiling and chemical sterilization are two ways to purify water. Any water that is obtained from sources outside the home or water that does not appear clear should be sterilized. Non-sterilized water may be contaminated with the parasite Giardia.

Straining water

Strain water containing sediment or floating material through a cloth or paper filter before beginning the purification process.

Heat sterilization (Boiling)

Boiling water is the preferred method of purification because disease-causing- microorganisms cannot survive the intense heat. Bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Pour the water back and forth from one clean container to another to improve the taste. Adding a pinch of salt could also help.

Chemical sterilization

In some situations, boiling may not be an option. The alternative is to treat the water chemically. Plain household chlorine bleach may be used. Be sure the label states that hypochlorite is the only active ingredient. Bleach containing soap or fragrances is not acceptable. With an eye dropper, add 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water (16 if the water is cloudy), stir and let stand. After 30 minutes the water should taste and smell of chlorine. At this time it can be used. If the taste and smell (and appearance in the case of cloudy water) has not changed, add another dose and let stand. If after one half hour the water does not have a chlorine smell, do not use it.

Containers

Store the water in a clean and sanitary glass or plastic container. Plastic containers are good because they are lightweight and unbreakable. Metal containers should be considered as a last resort because they may corrode and give water an unpleasant taste.