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Author Topic: Water storage experiment  (Read 1498 times)

Offline Dainty

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Water storage experiment
« on: October 13, 2012, 04:29:55 PM »
Figured I'd post this in case anyone was interested in knowing what happens to water if you don't put any effort in. I've been storing water off and on for the past 2 years or so, which has come in handy a few times, but due to a sensitivity I was reluctant to add bleach. For a while I maintained rotating, but finally decided to leave it alone and see what happens - I could always filter it just prior to use if needed.

So I took about a dozen glass bottles (I can't stand the plastic taste), filled them with filtered water, placed then under my trailer and promptly forgot about them.

10 months later I'm now assessing the result. Several of them shattered from freezing temperatures. No surprise there. The remaining ones were put through a warm summer, and most of them had a slight layer of green algae at the bottom. The water was very clear.

Two bottles had no visible algae, so I decided to try tasting them. One may have had the slightest possible algae taste if you were looking for it, but didn't taste bad, in fact, I dare say it even tasted cleaner for it. The other one tasted like the day I bottled it. I noticed, when opening the latter bottle, that it had been filled completely to the brim, and wonder if this had anything to do with its success. The ones lacking headspace would have also been those that burst from freezing.

I think I'll do some more fiddling around. I have a few other ideas...
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Offline John75

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2012, 06:01:16 PM »
Were they exposed to any light where they were stored or was it complete darkness?
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Offline Dainty

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2012, 08:30:19 PM »
Were they exposed to any light where they were stored or was it complete darkness?

Not complete darkness at all. They didn't get any direct sun, but plenty of daylight.
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Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2012, 12:44:42 AM »
Interesting... Thanks for the report, Dainty!


Offline Armchair Quarterback

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2012, 02:01:59 AM »
I have some of the round blue 5 gallon water containers stored in my basement. I used to switch out the water at about the three month mark as the water would take on that horrible plastic taste.
 I have noticed now though that the plastic taste is gone, even after about a year so I'm thinking that switching the water out several times eliminated the taste.

AQ

Offline Dainty

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2014, 02:39:05 PM »
Alrighty, take #2.

I filled various glass bottles and jars with filtered water after thoroughly washing them out, and stored them indoors in a dark place for about 4 months before I ended up needing to drink it. I hadn't added any bleach or purification chemicals, but I did add some Concentrace mineral drops under the idea that mineralized water might be less likely to go bad than unmineralized water (I head it somewhere).

Bad idea.

The water had no visible change, nothing growing in it or anything, but it smelled like rotten seaweed and tasted equally foul. Now, I add the mineral drops to my drinking water frequently and have never noticed any issue, yet when added in the same or less concentration and stored it creates this off smell and taste. Good to know.

A couple of the bottles don't have this in them, but they accidentally got placed with the others with no labeling to tell which is which. I know, terribly unscientific of me. I keep hoping with each bottle I open that it will be a "nice" one without the mineral addition. 

I used my Steripen to make it safe to drink and improvised my shower filter to run it through that and improved the taste. It's still not all the way gone, but I'm able to choke it down without ruining my appetite. I'll call it survival training. ;) (The alternative would be to go to the next location a week ahead of schedule or to purchase glass bottled water, which is ridiculously expensive. I'll take my preps instead, imperfect as they may be, thankyouverymuch!)

Next time around I'll be storing it again without the mineral addition; see if I can replicate the results of the first experiment while storing indoors, and using the Steripen as a final purification step so I can actually utilize the water with confidence.

In the end it may turn out more feasible to store water with bleach and then filter it out just prior to use than storing it without chemicals (even the ones in plain tap water) but I'd need to purchase yet more equipment to try that route so for now I'm continuing to experiment with what I've got.
Death by a thousand cuts is survived one cut at a time. You never know - it may end up being only 999.

Offline OutWestTX

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2014, 05:18:38 PM »
Was it well water or city water that smelled bad?  I have a lot of water stored.  We rotate it out four times a year and I've never had any go bad so far. 
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Offline Cordovil

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2014, 09:40:36 AM »
Was it well water or city water that smelled bad?  I have a lot of water stored.  We rotate it out four times a year and I've never had any go bad so far.

Yes, this is the same question I have.  I'd be surprised if algae started growing in bottled water that came from my tap, due to the chlorine.
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Offline Dainty

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2014, 02:32:50 PM »
Was it well water or city water that smelled bad?  I have a lot of water stored.  We rotate it out four times a year and I've never had any go bad so far.

Is the water you store treated in any way? If it's city water straight from the tap, then it already has a fair amount of chlorine in it. If it isn't but you're following standard water storage procedures, you'd be adding bleach or some other disinfectant was you store it.

Yes, this is the same question I have.  I'd be surprised if algae started growing in bottled water that came from my tap, due to the chlorine.

The "experiment" part of what I'm doing is that I'm utilizing filtered city water that has these elements removed and not adding a disinfectant as I store it, which I'm unable to find info on anyone else doing. I avoided mentioning in my first post that even small amounts of chlorine make me quite ill, which has brought me to seek an alternative storage method.

I hear that well water is more ideal because of the minerals, which I was attempting to replicate in the second experiment. Like I said in my post, I suspect the mineral drops I added when bottling may have caused the foul smell/taste rather than the water itself.
Death by a thousand cuts is survived one cut at a time. You never know - it may end up being only 999.

Offline endurance

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2014, 11:33:44 AM »
I'm a big advocate of storing some store-bought water for the short term (up to a couple weeks worth) and the remainder stored in bulk (in my case, in IBC totes) without concern for sterile conditions. I expect that water to have bacteria in it, but can always filter it later for safe consumption. Trying to have bottles that are 100% sterile where nothing can grow for large quantities seems like a nearly impossible task.
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 11:42:36 AM »
Dainty - you could "water bath can" your water.

Take your filtered water, get your canning supplies ready (sterilized jars, seals, rings, canner, etc) and fill your jars.  Water bath them for 10 min, so basically boil them for 10 min, and then store them.  The jars will be sealed like any other properly processed canned jar of food.  They would be sealed against any contaminants, in glass jars so you won't have a problem, and the water itself will be uber clean, if stale.

Endurance, I agree - I have commercial bottled water here as well as other water storage.  But I understand that because of her health issues, Dainty has to have hers in GLASS jars.
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Offline Dainty

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 02:06:19 PM »
I'm a big advocate of storing some store-bought water for the short term (up to a couple weeks worth) and the remainder stored in bulk (in my case, in IBC totes) without concern for sterile conditions. I expect that water to have bacteria in it, but can always filter it later for safe consumption. Trying to have bottles that are 100% sterile where nothing can grow for large quantities seems like a nearly impossible task.

That isn't my goal...hence the Steripen. ;) But it would be nice if the water didn't taste awful. The first batch in my experiment tasted fine, but I didn't have my Steripen at the time so I was reluctant to do more than barely taste it.

Dainty - you could "water bath can" your water.

Take your filtered water, get your canning supplies ready (sterilized jars, seals, rings, canner, etc) and fill your jars.  Water bath them for 10 min, so basically boil them for 10 min, and then store them.  The jars will be sealed like any other properly processed canned jar of food.  They would be sealed against any contaminants, in glass jars so you won't have a problem, and the water itself will be uber clean, if stale.

Endurance, I agree - I have commercial bottled water here as well as other water storage.  But I understand that because of her health issues, Dainty has to have hers in GLASS jars.

Hey, there's an idea. Unfortunately it runs up against another severe sensitivity of mine - synthetic rubber. The sealant used in the lid of regular canning jars makes me ill. I've worked out a system with my family where they can consume the first 1/3 of a jar of canned food and then usually the lower 2/3rds is okay for me to eat. But I don't think it would work that way with water...  :-\

The potential solution is in the Weck canning jars, which use a 100% natural latex rubber ring to seal and glass lids. The USDA frowns on it but this style is still the most commonly used in Europe with no problems and there's a wayto check the seal before use so I'm comfortable with that. I contacted Weck a few years ago to clarify the details of their materials, and then purchased some rubber rings to test. So far so good!

Thus far the cost of the Weck jars has prevented me from moving forward on that front. It's a pity they're so much more expensive than the Ball or Kerr jars you can pick up at garage sales and simply purchase lids and rings for.

Edit: There are several brands of bottled glass water that I can drink okay. They tend to run about $3.50 per bottle.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 02:16:40 PM by Dainty »
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2014, 04:57:19 PM »
what about tattler lids?  does that rubber effect you?
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Offline Dainty

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2014, 05:41:52 PM »
what about tattler lids?  does that rubber effect you?

Tattler's website says their sealing ring is made of nitrile rubber. This kind of rubber is commonly used in o-rings and gaskets which are basically the bane of my existence. :P Sometimes if they're old enough and exposure is reduced enough it can be okay. Then a plumbing gasket needs replacement and suddenly SHTF for me. I've developed various techniques for "aging" gaskets and o-rings which can sometimes make a big difference. Or it can result in something tolerable but semi-useless. I tend to remove them entirely whenever possible, improvise other materials, and put up with dripping instead.

So while I'd be interested in having a go at the Tattler rings to see if they could be workable, the chances are so slim that I have a hard time justifying the order.

P.S. Just a preemptive note to anyone who's scratching their heads...I know this all sounds ridiculous. My sensitivities make the basics of "civilized" life practically impossible at times. But I don't avoid items/materials because of paranoid concerns; I avoid them because they tangibly cause serious reactions that make me ill. I'm constantly unintentionally blind tested and also experimenting to see if sensitivities have receded. And the good news is after all these years I'm at least experiencing improvement! In fact, I can even drink out of certain plastics nowadays without issue if the water has been in the bottle for less than an hour. So trust me, I'm eager to join the rest of you in normalcy. In the meantime, though, I need to be realistic and figure out my preps in accordance to where my health is at.
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Offline Black November

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2014, 10:13:06 AM »
Our 100+ gallon water setup has continually held water for over two years. We are on city water and are constantly using water from the tank to fill a Berkey. The tank is just topped off regularly from the water heater.

No algae, since the garge is usually dark. We don't add bleach since it is city water. Haven't had to clean it yet.


Offline bcksknr

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2014, 01:05:37 PM »
     I think a steam distillation unit may be your best bet. Distillation will remove any biologic contaminants as well as minerals and chemicals. I believe distilled water, right from the condenser is about as sterile as you can get. I've seen countertop electric units as well as ones that can sit on a stove burner. You distill what you need for the day from your bulk water storage, into glass jugs in the fridge. You can reoxygenate and add minerals if you want at the time of usage. If you really want to, you could put that distilled water through a carbon filter, like a Berkey.
     I'm pretty sure that a reverse osmosis unit would give you a similar pure product. That way, Your bulk storage could be in cheaper, plastic containers or barrels, but the purified water should have not any residue to aggravate your sensitivities. I'm pretty sure that reverse osmosis is what is used to recycle waste water on the International Space Station.
     

Offline OutWestTX

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Re: Water storage experiment
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2014, 09:22:34 AM »
Our 100+ gallon water setup has continually held water for over two years. We are on city water and are constantly using water from the tank to fill a Berkey. The tank is just topped off regularly from the water heater.

No algae, since the garge is usually dark. We don't add bleach since it is city water. Haven't had to clean it yet.

Like BN, I haven't had any problems with water.  I have city water, but also a well.  As an experiment, I keep some of each.  It has been almost 2 years and both kinds of water are fine.  I think if I were having your problems, I would try distilling it like bcksknr says.  Being in Texas, water is always a focus of my prepping.
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