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newbie water storage question

2078 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  BetrayedAmerican
I'm totally new to prepping. I've known I should be doing it for a long time but I'm the world's worst procrastinator. I recently read One Second After and it made me realize just how bad it is to be unprepared. I'm going to start with water storage. My thoughts are to get some of the blue 55 gallon drums and store them under my house in the crawl space. I should be able to get at least 300 gallons worth, maybe more that way. I will build some racks for them and I'm planning on filling them with the water hose. My main question is do I need to do anything to treat the barrels first? Do I need to do anything to treat the water before, during, and if we need to drink any of the water in an emergency? Of course it's dark under there, and the temps should stay relatively moderate too. Do I need to worry about rodents, or other pests? I know rats will eat through a lot of things but will they be attracted to these barrels? One of my reasons for doing it this way is we are limited on room, I can secure that area pretty easily, and I can set the whole thing up without any neighbors noticing so hopefully that will prevent any conflicts in the case of a disaster. I will also probably store food there too. I just feel the need to get some water storage quickly so I want to start there. Thanks in advance for your answers.
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Flush the barrels out with bleach water before putting in place then filling. Always use unscented Clorox bleach for purifying water. Rule of thumb is 3 drops of bleach to keep the water clean. You can add that same amount every six months.
Make sure to design the setup that barrels can be refilled plus have to be able to get the water out of the barrels fairly easily.

I would not store any food at all there if there is a rodent problem. Look for alternative places in the house for storing food like under beds.
I plan on using hose Bibbs in the barrels to fill and drain the water as needed. I don't think there is a rodent problem, bit I don't want there to be one either. Any food will be canned goods, or sealed to keep it safe.
It may depend on the barrel and source. Some of those barrels are used for pesticides and crap I would never want to use one for water even with a solid treatment (might be fine I am just kind of superstitous I guess). Others are used on food products and should be fine though the bleech treatment is wise or a sanitizer you can buy quite affordably from a restaurant supply store like Cash n Carry if you have them? A gallon is usually under $20 and lasts a long - long - time.

To reach 300 gallons you of course need 6 barrels. I've seen them as low as $8 and as much as $129 obviously depending on qualities, uses, and where you buy them. Since that price varies so strongly you might want to look at a 275 gallon tote - I have gotten two of them for $75 each recently - both used in wine storage and I santized them and have 550 gallons of water stored.

Also in considering water look at your roof, your annual rain rates, and what you can collect. You might be well off to buy a "pond liner" and set up a system to collect rain water. My brother recently did this with a $90 roll of "pond liner" like those use for fish / coy poinds and digging a trench where the rain gutters drop off and creating a masquito trap (I call it) or pond that can hold a lot of roof water.
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Look at the shipping label on the barrel to determine if its food (water) grade.
I just bought several 5 gallon stackable water containers. I will add more as funds permit. While not as economical as the 55 gallon drums but they are portable. I plan to use water preserver drops as recommended by some prep sites.
Ripon speaks the truth. I've reqad that if your using your own well water (non chlorinated) use 16 drops of bleach per gallon the first time. Don't forget your hot water heater (30 to 50 gallons). I bought a "Water BOB" ($30) that fits in the bathtub and you fill it as soon as the SHTF. If you add bleach to the filled barrels periodically, you'll need a way to mix the solution to spread the bleach out. Bleach will remain 100% potent for about a year (per Clorox company), so don't over buy a bunch. And welcome to the group from Arizona.
Yes. I'm planning on buying new barrels. I've got to find a source locally, going to work on that tomorrow. I've also been considering a rain water catch system, not sure how that works with a shingle roof. We also live within a mile of a large river so we can refill from there if the shtf. What about that water? What would be necessary to make it safe? Is boiling only good enough? I'm going to look into building some type of filter.
Well I found a guy locally that sells the barrels for $25 each. Gonna go get some Monday and get started, it feels good to finally stop procrastinating on this and get something done.
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I think with asphalt shingles or any tar based roof priority is sand filtering before going to anyother filter.
Water from a roof line is nasty to start with - think birds, critters, etc.

Still water from a roof can be filtered, treated, and used just like any other. Its all in the treatment, all in the filtration. If you are an apartment / condo dweller it may not be a feasible option but any home owner or even single family residence tenant could spend the money they plan on buying barrels and tubs - into filtration and chemicals and be pretty well off. A "pond liner" and shovel can gather a 1000 square foot roof enough water for a family - even in the most desert regions of our country - maybe not others but even AZ, NV, Texas probably get 4-6 inches a year and that is a LOT of water on a 1000' roof line.

I think with asphalt shingles or any tar based roof priority is sand filtering before going to anyother filter.
I would have never thought you could get that much water that way. I don't have gutters on my house though so I'm not sure how I could capture it all.
A couple of large tarps draining into a few kiddie pools would get you more than you might believe.
I personally would not use roof gathered rain water period... The moisture and sunlight is a breading ground for nasties... Now using a pond blanket on the roof would be good for garden rainwater collection.
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