When preparing for natural disasters, civil unrest, societial breakdown or any other possible scenario that could affect your families, one of the most important things to consider in your storage is water.
You will need to store a minimum of one gallon of water per person in your family per day. If you have pets, you will also have to store additional water for them.
Here in Hawaii, getting 55-gallon drums that are safe to use for long-term water storage is very difficult. It is not just something that you can run down to the local Wal Mart or Home Depot and pick up. They are available from many suppliers on the mainland, however getting them to ship the empty barrels to Hawaii is the difficult part.
You do not want to store drinking-water in a used barrel, no matter what that barrel was used for. Used "food-grade" barrels are cheap and easy to find but whatever was stored in the barrels originally can never be completely cleaned out of it. There is always a chance that it will leach into your water, contaminating your fresh water supply and allow bacteria to grow in your drinking water.
I was finally able to get ahold of two more of these 55-gallon barrels a couple weeks ago. These barrels were purchased used from another prepper who needed to move back to the mainland. They were purchased brand new by them a few months before and have only been used to store drinking-water so I know positively how the barrels have been treated and what has been stored in them.
Since I am on a city water supply, I do not have to treat the drinking-water before storing it, it has already been treated by the city. The only thing that is necessary is that I use a drinking-water safe hose to fill them with and not a typical garden hose that typically contains lead and PCB's.
These barrels are protected with a green UV-blocking covering that prevents any light from getting to the water which would allow the possibility for bacterial growth. Remember, the things that can harm your drinking water are heat and light, so storing the barrels in a cool dark area is important for long-term storage.
I also have tamper-evident seals that cover the openings on the barrels so I can tell right away if anyone has tampered with my drinking-water supply. Once the barrels are filled with fresh drinking-water, the date that it was filled is written on the barrel, the cap put on tightly with a barrel wrench, and then the seal is snapped over the cap. You cannot open the barrels without breaking the tamper-evident seal.
The only way that I would recommend purchasing a used barrel for drinking-water storage is if you know the person you are buying it from is another prepper, and you know for sure that it has never been used for anything other than storing drinking water.
After searching for over a year I finally found a supplier that is willing to ship them to Hawaii although they will come by boat in a shipping container, so there is an extended waiting time of several weeks for them to arrive that you need to be preparred for.
I will also be using additional recycled "food-grade" barrels for non-potable water storage that will be used for other purposes including sanitation needs like flushing the toilet. These barrels will be filled with a rain catchment system.
With a large-scale power outage, not only would water no longer be running from your faucets, but your toilets would no longer flush. I am lucky that my home is at approximately 300 feet above sealevel on the side of a hill. Sewer pipes are gravity-fed and therefore run downhill. As long as I have water available that I can pour into the toilet storage tank, I will be able to flush the toilet.
Sea water can also be used for flushing the toilet and since we are on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this will be my preferred source for this purpose. I will use the catchment water as a backup for times when I cannot go down to the ocean to bring back sea water.
As a last resort in an emergency, I can also use the seawater as a backup source to make fresh drinking-water with by using various methods of desalinization and filtration that I have ready to use.
Always have more than one option in all aspects of your preps. Anything can happen, and you have to have a backup that you can switch over to right away.
Remember, two is one, and one is none.
Until Next Time
Aloha & 73